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Current Major Work

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Current Maintenance Work

Previous Maintenance Work

Current Major Work

Previous Major Work

Painter

Work Packages

The schedule of smaller work packages that local contractors can carry out at lower cost, based on surveyor advice and manufacturer recommended paint life, is:

  • Flat oriels (projecting wooden feature) decoration in 2022 then every 5 years based on paint life.
  • Estate cupola (feature from old hospital on roof of 1-71 St Benedicts Close) decoration in 2022 then every 7 years based on paint life.
  • Flat wooden windows decoration (split into low and high level so contractors not qualified to work at height could decorate low windows) in 2022 then every 5 years based on paint life (high level communal stairway windows will be replaced with maintenance free uPVC ones as this is more cost effective than decoration).
  • Flat porches decoration inside and outside in 2026 then every 5 years based on paint life.
  • Structural engineer inspection of flat walls in 2025/26 then every 5 years as recommended by engineer (advised to surveyor).
  • Flat gutters maintenance and visual inspection of roofs for damage (advised to surveyor) in 2026 then every 5 years, with redecoration of soffits and fascias in 2026 then every 10 years based on paint life, sheltered location and surveyor recommendation (costs will be obtained to fit uPVC covering to check if this would be more cost-effective than decoration, although costs quoted by large contractors previously were not).
  • Surveyor inspection for repairs required to flat blocks, Estate clock tower and portico, following flat walls inspection and roofs visual inspection in 2026 then every 5 years.
  • Flat block walls repairs identified by structural engineer and other flats external repairs identified by roofs visual inspection and surveyor in 2026.
  • Estate clock tower redecoration and portico inspection in 2026/27 then every 5-7 years cased on repairs needed and paint life of 7 years.
  • Flat blocks communal area redecoration by 2028 or possibly earlier as only decorated where damaged in 2021, then no more frequently than every 7 years based on surveyor recommendation (which may be extended to 10 years if still in good condition).
Hoist

Periodic Work 2020-22

Periodic has now been split into smaller work packages that local contractor can carry out much more cheaply than large building firms after tenders for the major work were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and proved unaffordable. This approach was endorsed by the January 2022 AGM (PDF, 40kb). The original tenders and smaller work packages are described below:

  • Flat communal areas work 2021-22 covers flat block communal areas decoration work in late 2021 reduced to save costs, fire safety work underway in 2022 and landlord electrical upgrade work in 2022.
  • Flats external work 2022 describes the external work completed in spring and summer 2022 to repair and re-decorate flat block oriels (projecting features), remaining low and high level flat wooden windows and the Estate cupola feature.
  • Flat gutters and roof work 2021 describes the work completed in autumn 2021 for flat block gutters and roofs.
  • Flat porches redecoration 2021 describes the work completed in summer 2021 to re-decorate flat block porches.
  • External work 2020-21 explains why the originally planned periodic work could not proceed because of the pandemic, describes the replacement priority external work in 2020 and explains that the remaining work proved unaffordable in 2021.
  • Flat walls inspection 2019 describes the 2019 inspection of flat block walls carried out every 5 years, before the work needed was carried out in 2020.

Flat communal areas work 2021-22

Internal flats communal area redecoration could not go ahead in 2020 for several reasons. The unexpectedly high tendered costs of the external work in 2020 which ultimately proved unaffordable in 2021 would have needed all the reserve funds available, then internal work was not possible during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions as social distancing could not be maintained in the buildings. After work had to be split into smaller work packages that local contractors could carry out much more cheaply, the Directors considered how each package should be carried out taking account of surveyor advice. For internal flats communal areas, it was concluded that the most economical approach was to repair and redecorate only those areas showing damage or staining from water leaks as the large majority of decor remained in good condition and the surveyor advised that expected paint life is at least seven years, so more frequent repainting is unnecessary.

As the repair and redecoration required was minimal, the Management Company instructed the local handyman it uses, Rafal Wiatek, as his prices are very economical and his company is below the threshold for VAT. Work was completed in late 2021, except for two areas which needed to wait for other work in early 2022 first. The cost was between £2,000 and £2,500, much less than complete redecoration by a larger contractor, which would have cost at least ten times that. Costs were well below the level requiring Section 20 consultation or competitive tender and were paid from flat reserves, to which only leasehold flat owners contribute.

Following the Grenfell fire tragedy and in light of the more recent fire tragedy in New York, health & safety inspections now make recommendations not required over the previous 30 years since the Estate was built. Work is necessary to ensure fire and smoke barriers are as effective as possible and where recommendations have changed over the years, such as fireproof foam no longer being acceptable although that was previously recommended by the same inspections and so was used. Policies on fire doors and communal areas have also consequently being tightened. Based on the health & safety and fire door inspection reports and examination of the areas concerned, two local contractors the Estate uses were asked to quote for specified types of repair (PDF, 287kb) because the actual number require is not known until inspected as part of the work, but will be below the level requiring Section 20 consultation. This work was ordered from handyman Rafal Wiatek, started in April 2022, is underway and will be completed after the landlord electrical upgrade, which may require access to wiring. Costs will be paid from flat reserves, to which only leasehold flat owners contribute.

A pilot landlord electrical upgrade was carried out in 1-11 St Benedicts Close in May 2022, where a Director monitored its operation. The work was ordered from CSCS because they are familiar with the Estate electrical installations, the cost of £1,167 + VAT for labour was below the threshold requiring competitive tender under Estate policies and further price increases likely in the autumn make large reduction in electricity use vital. The pilot is successful, with hallway detector emergency bulkhead lights coming on only when people pass instead of being on all night and also meeting fire standards introduced after the Estate was built to provide escape route lighting. Porch lights and those outside flats remain on all night for safety but LED lights now use much less electricity and residents can turn off their flat door lights if not needed. The cost of the pilot was just under the threshold per flat needing Section 20 consultation but costs of the work across all blocks at around £10,000 for fittings and £30,000 for labour including VAT in total may exceed this in smaller flat blocks, so a Section 20 consultation was carried out. Competitive tenders were obtained, no consultation responses affecting the work were received, so work will be carried out as soon as reserve funds permit, to bring down ongoing electricty costs. Because of the ongoing benefit, this work will be done before replacing the communal staircase windows and both need to be completed before worn flat block door lock cylinders are replaced. Electrical upgrade costs will be paid from flat and Estate reserves in proportion to the numbers of circuits. Only leasehold flat owners contribute to flats reserves while both freehold house and leasehold flat owners contribute to Estate reserves.

Flats external work 2022

The Management Company and Rendall and Rittner tendered work and completed the second part of the section 20 consultation with flat owners required by law in early 2022 for flats work following the first part in 2021 for the tender to large firms that proved unaffordable, where the one respose received did not affect the outcome. The work was:

  • Flat low-level wooden window repair and re-decoration, accessible from the ground, was completed by Rafal Wiatek in May.
  • Flat oriel (projecting wooden feature) repair and re-decoration, including any wooden windows in them, needing safe access at height, was completed by Offeld Services in June.
  • Flat high-level wooden window repair and re-decoration, needing safe access at height, was completed by Offeld Services in June. Communal staircase windows were not re-decorated, as it is more cost effective to replace them.
  • Re-decoration of the Estate cupola feature from the old hospital on the roof of 1-71 St Benedicts Close, needing safe access at height, was completed by Offeld Services in June. No repairs were required.

Nine contractors were invited to tender for one, some or all of the work packages. Three tendered for all work packages, one only for the low level work, four declined the work and one did not respond. The Section 20 consultation, started in 2021 before finding the costs unaffordable, was completed in 2022 for flats work packages over the threshold requiring this and the only response did not affect the outcome. Work was awarded to the lowest tenderer for each work package for the lowest overall cost. Re-decoration of 80 low level wooden flat windows was awarded to handyman Rafal Wiatek, who offered the lowest cost of £8,990 with no VAT for this but is not qualified to work at height. Re-decoration of flat oriels (projecting features) at £23,350 + VAT, 24 high level wooden flat windows at £8,818 + VAT and the Estate cupola feature at £5,400 + VAT were awarded to Offeld Services. Costs of flats work are paid from flat reserves, to which only leasehold flat owners contribute, and costs of Estate work are paid from Estate reserves, to which both house and flat owners contribute.

When window work was tendered previously, contractors allowed for a much greater proportion of wooden windows than actually remain, inflating costs, so a survey was carried out over several months where flat owners were required to register wooden windows for decoration. Only those wooden windows registered were included in the tenders, so keeping costs to the minimum necessary. At least six communications were issued so any flat owner who ignored these, failed to register wooden windows and wishes them to be decorated before this is next due in 2027 would need to bear the cost, as the lease provides that this is a joint responsibility. It is not reasonable for other owners to pay these additional costs, which may be considerable if safe access is required at height.

When wooden windows were re-decorated, flat owners and residents were given one week's notice to open windows on the date advised by the contractors. Owners gave a legal commitment to do this when registering the windows, which is a requirement of the lease, and landlords remained responsible for ensuring any tenants or letting agents provided access. To keep costs down, it was not possible to offer a choice of dates, nor re-visits by the contractors. Any wooden windows that were not open to paint from the outside were painted closed, leaving the edges and rebates unpainted and potentially making it more difficult to open the windows. If access were needed from inside and not granted, the windows would be left unpainted. Owners of flats where access was not granted and windows were not opened who wished this to be rectified before 2027 would need to bear the additional costs. It is not reasonable for other owners to pay these additional costs, which may be considerable if safe access is required at height.

The cost of decorating high level windows would now be around £10,000 plus VAT for the 24 communal staircase wooden windows because of the increased cost of safe access at height. The Directors are obtaining quotes to replace these with maintenance-free uPVC windows, which can be done for around £16,000 plus VAT. It is therefore more cost effective to replace these windows over the next couple of years using money saved by not decorating them to cover nearly two thirds of the replacement cost as soon as enough reserve funds are available to cover the remainder. This will save money by the time the next re-decoration would be due in 2027. The cost of communal window replacement is below the threshold per flat requiring Section 20 consultation. This will be done after flat landlord electrical upgrades, because those will limit increases in electricity use and cost, so will have ongoing benefit. Window replacement needs to be completed before worn flat block door lock cylinders are replaced.

Flat gutters and roof work 2021

A major roof leak occurred at 73-103 St Benedicts Close allowing significant water entry, which could not wait for the main work to be tendered. A tender was carried out for this investigation specifically which was won by Snowik at a cost of £4,429 + VAT. This required a Section 20 consultaton with owners in that block by law, which was carried out. The work required scaffolding and the cost of £4,050 + VAT that Snowik quoted to repair the roof while this was in place was reasonable and less than another contractor having to scaffold the building again, so Snowik was also awarded the work to repair multiple faults. Costs of investigation in the consultation and an amount just below the Section 20 threshold were charged to the block reserve, with the small balance covered by the contingency reserve to avoid further delay as repair was urgent. Work was completed in June 2021.

The Management Company and Rendall and Rittner carried tenders for flats gutter work, as many were leaking and overflowing, and further roof work identified by the surveyor or where damp was reported for work in autumn 2021. Contractor response was very poor with many very busy after pandemic restrictions ended. Local contractor CSCS won the tender, offering the lowest price for roof work and a reduced price if work were combined so the same access could be used, at a combined cost of £18,490 + VAT. This is below the level at which section 20 consultation is required. Additional work was carried out at roof level identified from inspection using the hoist, as this was far more economical than ordering separate work. Costs were paid from flat reserves, to which only leasehold flat owners contribute.

Flat porches redecoration 2021

The Management Company and Rendall and Rittner carried out a tender for the flat block porches redecoration, for which three tenders were submitted. Rafal Wiatek, the Estate handyman contractor, submitted the lowest tender at under £8,000 (incurring no VAT) plus materials, which were around £500. The cost is at a very much lower level than work by major contractors and well below the level requiring Section 20 consultation, so this was ordered. Work was carried out in July and August 2021 to high quality. Both the outside and inside of porches were redecorated. Costs were paid from flat reserves, to which only leasehold flat owners contribute.

External work 2020-21

Periodic repair and redecoration was due in 2020 as decided at the 2014 AGM (PDF, 33kb). External work and internal flat block communal were separated because combining them previously had impacted quality and to give flexibility on costs. This work was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and proved unaffordable after large building firms increased costs to over five times those paid previously. Several attempts were made to get this work done but these eventually had to be abandoned and the work split into smaller work packages that local contractors can carry out much more cheaply (see last point below):

  • Surveyor Hallas & Co was appointed, since it is familiar with the Estate and particularly with the situation of the flat walls. Its survey identified work needed in addition to the wall work identified by the structural engineer.
  • Four tenders were received from five large building contractors invited to tender for periodic external work to the clock tower and flat blocks. Even the lowest tender was about three times the cost of similar work in 2010 and 2015 allowing for inflation. The Section 20 consultation with flat owners required by law for major expenditure was carried out. The cost was reduced slightly by negotiation and by allowing an early start but the work had to be abandoned because Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns prevented it and the winning contractor Alfred Bagnall & Sons shut down temporarily.
  • Once restrictions eased, another tender was carried out with three contractors that submitted the lowest tenders for the original work and two local contractors for a limited amount of priority work in autumn 2020 that should not wait. Alfred Bagnall & Sons won this tender too. It was covered by the Section 20 consultation for the full work. Working to Covid-19 guidelines, it carried out major repairs to the clock tower where extensive rot was found, made wall repairs identified by the structural engineer, repaired defects identified by the surveyor, repaired the roof at 1-71 St Benedicts Close and repaired soffits and fitted vents at 21-26 and 31-36 Abbey Drive to deter pest entry. Work to flat block was funded from their reserves while Estate work was funded from the Estate reserve to which both flat and house owners contribute.
  • The situation was discussed with owners at the 2020 AGM (PDF, 74kb).
  • A further tender was carried out in 2021 to four large building contractors for the remaining work, principally external flats block redecoration. Three tenders were received but were exorbitant, the lowest being nearly double the year before despite the reduced work, so over five times the cost of similar work in 2010 and 2015 allowing for inflation. This was completely unaffordable, so the tender was abandoned. The first part of the Section 20 consultation with flat owners required by law for major work was carried out while the second part was not needed as the work was abandoned.
  • In consultation, with the surveyor, the Directors decided that the only viable approach was to split the periodic work into smaller work packages that local contractors could carry out at much lower cost. This was successful for flats porch redecoration, gutter work and roof repairs in 2021. Owners endorsed this approach at the January 2022 AGM (PDF, 40kb), noted the consequence that the budget would need to be revised with more work funded from individual block reserves and authorised the necessary transfers of funds.

Flat walls inspection 2019

Following previous thermal cracking and flat wall repairs, it was recommended that the flat block walls are inspected every five years for cracking or other issues. This is done in the latter half of the year before flats external repair and re-decoration is due, so was carried out in September 2019 when external work was planned in 2020, later postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Directors commissioned the flat walls inspection in September 2019 from Ellis & Moore, which carried out previous structural surveys and specified previous wall repairs. The results were presented to the 2019 AGM (PDF, 55kb) and the structural report (large PDF, 14.2Mb) is available with a username and password that owners can obtain on request from the Managing Agent. There were no issues with previous repairs and minor wall cracks thought to result from thermal expansion were repaired in periodic work deferred to 2021 as before. More serious issues requiring monitoring and repair were discovered with two flat blocks, see below.

Flats

Flat Block Repairs 2020

Owners of flats in the two blocks concerned, to whom the Managing Agent has written twice, can download documents referred to with a username and password given in the letters and available on request from the Managing Agent.

Following previous flat wall repairs, flat walls are inspected periodically as recommended then. The flats walls inspection was commissioned from Ellis & Moore in September 2019, which carried out previous structural surveys and specified previous wall repairs. The results from the structural report (large PDF, 14.2Mb) were presented to the 2019 AGM (PDF, 55kb). There were no issues with previous repairs and minor wall cracks thought to result from thermal expansion will be repaired in the periodic repair as before. More serious issues requiring monitoring and repair were discovered with two flat blocks, 21-26 Abbey Drive and 31-45 Church Lane.

On advice from the structural engineer, the cost of remedial work for these more serious issues has been claimed on the Estate insurance. Together with the very poor record of water leaks, this caused a huge increase in all insurance premiums on the Estate, which more than doubled. The insurer appointed a loss adjuster which has, in turn, appointed other firms to investigate the causes and recommend what repairs and other action are required. The insurer is not using the Estate contractors, so they are not able to get involved in this work. The loss adjuster accepted the claims for movement and related sewer damage likley to have been caused by the movement. The relevant loss adjuster letters are available for download by the owners of 21-26 Abbey Drive (PDF, 56kb) and 31-45 Church Lane (PDF, 50kb). The estimated timescale for work originally provided by the loss adjuster and progress is set out below. Work was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and further movement at 31-45 Church Lane.

  • Investigation report for 21-26 Abbey Drive: received Feb 2020
  • Sewer repairs at 21-26 Abbey Drive: completed Feb - Apr 2020
  • Monitoring for 21-26 Abbey Drive: planned by May 2020, completed Jun 2020
  • Decision on work for 21-26 Abbey Drive: planned Jun 2020, made Oct 2020
  • Tree felling for 21-26 Abbey Drive: Jul 2020, completed
  • Repairs at 21-26 Abbey Drive: originally Aug - Oct 2020, completed Nov 2020 - Apr 2021
  • Investigation report for 31-45 Church Lane: Mar 2020 received
  • Monitoring for 31-45 Church Lane: planned by Jun 2020, still underway Apr 2021
  • Decision on work for 31-45 Church Lane: originally Jul 2020, deferred for extra monitoring, made late 2021
  • Bush removal for 31-45 Church Lane: completed Jul 2020
  • Felling of protected sycamore tree for 31-45 Church Lane: Council consent granted Apr 2021, felled Jul 2021
  • Repairs at 31-45 Church Lane: originally Oct - Dec 2020, flat repairs completed spring 2022, wall repairs Jul 2022, path outstanding

Some owners in these blocks reported internal cracking. It was imperative that owners notify the Managing Agent of any internal damage before the decision dates above. It is your responsibility to arrange access for inspection and repairs directly with the loss adjuster and its appointed contractors. If the flat is sub-let, you are also responsible for arranging this with your tenants and ensuring they provide access. If you failed to advise internal damage by the deadline or you or your tenants fail to provide access, you will need arrange and pay for any internal repairs yourself. The insurer is not using the Estate contractors, so they are not authorised nor able to get involved in this work.

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© St Benedicts (Tooting) Management Company Limited - 28 July 2022