Category Archives: Maintenance

Wall and railings: when will they be repaired?

The wall and railings at the pedestrian entrance to the estate on Christchurch Road were badly damaged 6 months ago (early December 2019). This was due to a lorry crashing into them.

The Neighbourhood Housing Officer for the estate provided the following update this week:

“The repairs team have informed us that the works are authorised and are on issued status. The target date is 19th August 2020.

“All the information relating to the driver was passed over to our claims department, which are dealing with the driver’s insurance company.”

Planning update: works to Chalner House, Despard House and Coburg Crescent flats

Planning applications have been made for the works to Chalner House, Despard House and the flats on Coburg Crescent. The links in the previous sentence take you to these applications on the council’s planning website. Note that there are two applications for Despard House; one for flats 1 to 18 and one for flats 19 to 30.

The work includes replacement of the roofing felt, repair to degraded concrete and brickwork, replacement of entrance doors (to meet fire safety and security regulations), replacement of the plywood boxing over the external heating pipes and replacement of the timber cladding that is under some of the windows.

Detail from the drawing showing the repairs to the disastrously-bodged work to move the hot water pipes to the outside of the flats.

Water main works resume

Residents today received notification that the water main replacement works will resume on Tuesday 26 May. The contractors, MPS – part of Mears Group, request that residents maintain a 2 metre distance from their staff, but give no details of measures that they will be taking to allow their staff to work safely during the pandemia.

The letter delivered to residents today. Click to download the full letter.

Works resume on the estate

After an extended break, contractors are today returning to continue work on the roofs and concrete of Ducavel and Baly houses. Residents of these blocks were informed of this by letter last Thursday. The letter, from a contracts manager at Engie, outlines some of the measures that will be taken to comply with requirements for safe working and social distancing. These include:

  • Regular monitoring of working practices by the site manager.
  • A full-time welfare attendant keeping the site clean.
  • Staggered lunch breaks.
  • Hand sanitiser stations.

A copy of the letter, courtesy of a resident on Baly House, is provided below.

Saving our paving

Across Coburg Crescent, there is distinctive paving from when the estate was built in the 1970s. Unfortunately, over the years, repairs have been done with concrete or tarmac or just left bare.

When the Resource Centre is built on Coburg Crescent, hundreds of paving bricks will be dug up. We have asked the council to save these to use for repairs around Coburg Crescent. They have acknowledged that this is a good idea. However, finding somewhere to store the bricks seems to be a challenge.

We have offered a couple of solutions:

  • The paving bricks could be stored in the disused garages on the estate.
  • The paving bricks shouldn’t need to be stored. There are numerous areas of defective paving around the estate where these bricks are needed. If relevant departments within the council (e.g. Resident Services, Repairs) and the contractor (Farrans) can act collaboratively, then the bricks could be used straight away where they are needed.

We will continue to pursue this and we’ll keep residents updated via this blog.

Examples of defective paving on Coburg Crescent:

Update on flooded garages

There is finally some activity at the badly flooded garages at Baly House. A tanker was at the garages this morning draining them. This follows involvement earlier this week from ward councillors and Lambeth Council’s Head of Repairs Operations.

It’s a relief to see the garages being drained at last, as the standing water may have been causing damage to the building, not to mention the unsightly appearance and foul smell.

The cause of the flooding will also need to be dealt with, so that it doesn’t happen again. In addition, the flooding (albeit less severe) in the other garage blocks needs to be sorted out. A resident of the estate (a Lambeth Street Champion) who escalated the matter to the ward councillors will continue to monitor progress.

Flooded garages

What’s going on at the Baly House garages? Drainage contractors were supposed to be coming on Monday 20th April to deal with the flooding. This work was to be overseen by the council’s capital works team. However, nothing seems to have been done. The garages still contain stagnant water.

Flooded garages (20th April)

A resident has been told that the flooding is due to a block in the drainage system causing a backsurge. The council has been asked to provide an update on what’s being done to deal with the problem. An update will be provided on this blog in due course.

Garage entrance (20th April)

Cladding survey

PRERA carried out a quick photographic survey this morning on the cladding over the communal heating pipes. The cladding was found to be coming apart in a number of locations across the estate. It appears that the plywood boxing beneath the white PVC fascia is decaying and losing its structural integrity. Residents and visitors are advised not to loiter beneath.

Falling cladding

Last week another piece of cladding fell from the boxing around our communal heating pipes. This has happened several times previously and the poor state of this cladding has been raised with the council many times. Following this latest fall, we have been promised an “urgent inspection” and “any identified issues will be urgently addressed “.

The poor quality of the work to box in these heating pipes has been clear for several years, now. The work was originally carried out without planning permission. When permission was applied for in 2015, permission was refused, partly because the plywood used was not deemed sufficiently robust. Some sections where bare plywood was used were subsequently replaced with metal, but no work was done where the plywood had white PVC cladding.

A rear view of Ponton House, showing the missing cladding
The cladding, with a wheelie bin, for scale

Hazard at Ponton House

Don’t loiter outside the rear entrance to Ponton House – there is a large piece of metal hanging by a wire four storeys up above the entrance. This was reported to Lambeth Housing on 6 April and again on 10 April. No timescale has been given for its removal.

Update 29/4/2019: Work appears to be starting today, to remove this hazard. A platform is being constructed at the foot of the wall, presumably to allow access.

The metal, which appears to be a cable rack, hanging at fourth storey level.