In Draguignan, houses cracked by the construction site of a shopping center

Bernard Pinois is speechless. In front of his house, he contemplates the cracks that have taken place on the facades for a few weeks. “It all started at the end of February”he recalls.

His house is close to the Boulevard Saint-Exupéry construction site on which a commercial complex is erected, the delivery of which is scheduled for the end of 2022.

Damage is also present inside his house. “The plasterboard plates are all cracked”he laments, wearily, contemplating the state of the investment of a life. “I’m going home with a lump in my stomach. My house is in an unsaleable state.”

It is not the only resident of boulevard Saint-Exupéry and chemin des Aubépines who has been impacted by the construction site. In total, no less than eight houses were affected to varying degrees.

“The house was shaking”

“I’m going home with a lump in my stomach. My house is unsaleable”, laments Bernard Pinois while taking inventory of the damage to his house. (Photos J. P).

This damage would be linked to the significant use of a hydraulic rock breaker (BRH). A very powerful machine which caused many tremors in the neighboring houses.

“Each time this machine was used, the house shook. To avoid being affected by these long hours of work, I had to get on the bed and wear noise-canceling headphones”says Frédérique Boudergui who was able to see a lot of damage.

“I bought my house less than two years ago and it was perfect”she says. “My house slammed suddenly, my entire terrace and the high wall are cracked, all the plasterboard cracked inside.”

A similar observation made by other local residents who live in the immediate vicinity of the construction site who described to us the extent of the damage to their homes and their concerns for the future.

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“We had just finished the work on our house, which we bought about five years ago”deplores Mickaël Deprez, father of a blended family. “So when it broke, we were upset, because it was the investment of our life and we felt really good about it.”

Bailiffs and lawyers

Illustration. Photo J. P..

“I spent my pregnancy with the noise of the rock breaker”says Maeva Nacer. “I have cracks in the facade, a dry stone wall that gave way behind my swimming pool.”

At their request, the Dracénois were able to meet the site manager, the project manager and the contracting authority to inform them of the cracks. “They immediately sent us a bailiff to see the damage and take the first readings”says Bernard Pinois.

“My house being consolidated by micropiles directly fixed in the rock that they broke, I am worried about the future”, laments Frédérique Boudergui. After a first visit by an expert, the repair work would cost around 150,000 euros.

Bailiffs must multiply the findings in the coming months. For the time being, none of the houses are in danger, according to the experts.

Repairs will not be able to begin before the end of the work of the commercial complex, and once the files have been processed by the insurance companies. Namely at the beginning of 2023.

Some owners have already made contact with a lawyer. Several neighbors denounce, videos in support, the non-respect of the schedules of the construction site with maneuvers carried out at night.

Despite numerous letters to the town hall of Draguignan and requests to the municipal police, the situation remains tense.

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