Thank you to Engie who have levelled and sown grass seed on a patch of damaged ground. Engie are performing major works on the estate and the damage was caused by vehicles accessing their site compound. Damage first occurred 8 months ago back in November 2019 and continued to occur during the winter and spring.
Luckily the two new apple trees which were planted nearby by residents in February have remained unscathed. Hopefully the grass will soon re-grow in the re-seeded patch and this lawn area will regain a uniform and attractive appearance.
A meeting was held on Thursday to give residents an update about the progress of the major works. There were representatives from the council, Pellings, Engie, MPS and PRERA present. Here is a summary:
Baly House and Ducavel House
Covid-19: The contractors confirmed that the delay and subsequent extension in period that scaffolding was required will not increase costs. A reassuring update was given covering distancing, use of sanitiser, staggered breaks, regular cleaning of shared spaces, and strict management of contractors (two strikes and they’re out) as well as all workers signing a compliance sheet and having daily temperature checks.
Asbestos: Found on window sofits in Baly and Ducavel will increase costs, residents will be informed shortly.
Doors: Replacement doors were being considered, but there is a substantial shortage of the right doors accross Lambeth, so it looks like this will be removed from the scope of the works.
Balconies: It was confirmed that both the private and communal balconies will be renovated, with new glazing and replacement timbers.
Scaffolding: Expected to come down in September or October.
Access to properties: To replace windows, internal access is required. Residents will be asked if they accept this, given concerns about Covid-19. The contractors are putting in place Covid-19 safety plans for access. Any refusal will be respected, but will delay the programme.
Communication: A newsletter is being created and the Resident Liaison Officer will ring all residents where access is needed. The newsletter will include information about the process for ensuring Covid-19 safety concerns are addressed.
Boiler room: New boiler has been installed but not piped up at the moment, so we are still running on the temporary boiler. Within the boiler room they are around 10% complete on the pipework.
Hot Water Issues: It’s believed the issues with hot water were due to the changeover to the temporary boiler. This changeover was done without notifying residents. This should not have happened and will not happen again.
In-flat system upgrade: The in-flat heating systems upgrades could require up to a week of work in flats. At present the plan is to replace the main communal boiler and distribution pipework to each of the flats. The contractors will then consider doing in-flat works once all of the external work is complete. If Covid-19 guidance has not changed by this time, they will hold off on in-flat work until safe to do so. However, they would not complete this work in the winter. If they could not complete, they would likely close the current scope of work and then enter into a new agreement for the internal works.
MPS scaffolding: The additional (green) scaffolding at the front of flats 6-8 is through responsive repairs and not related to the major works. Lambeth have now told responsive repairs that anything additional on-site must be notified
Water main replacement
This has mostly been completed, but completion is being prevented by the scaffolding on Baly and Ducavel Houses. Contractors will return when the scaffolding has gone.
A representative from the PRERA committee attended a meeting with the contractor, Engie, and Lambeth Council last week to get an update on the major works. The works at Coburg Crescent should be completed this week. Here is a summary of the other information provided, which mainly related to Ducavel and Baly Houses:
There was a delay with securing the nets around the scaffolding due to the recent strong winds, but this work should be finished this week.
Letters are to be sent out this week, regarding surveys of the windows and asbestos.
Windows surveys will start from the middle of this week.
The process of fitting windows should take six to eight weeks.
Wooden frames will be fixed onto the roof to protect the skylights when the roof is being repaired.
The skylights will be replaced, though no date was given on that.
We don’t have a timeframe for renovation of the balconies.
Heating will be turned off at some point during window replacement to the front of the properties. Letters will be sent out to the residents before this happens.
Asbestos could be within external wooden parts of properties and will need to be removed by a specialist. Residents may have to leave their homes for a short time during the removal process.
A monthly newsletter will be sent to keep residents informed.
A new Liaison officer will be stating soon. Letters will be distributed with their contact details.
Works are expected to be completed by June this Year.
We have just been informed that there will be a consulation meeting held at the Lambeth Town Hall in connection with the forthcoming major works. The meeting will be held on 11th October 2019 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm at the basement committee room, Lambeth Town Hall, 1 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RW. Representatives will be present from the contractors, the consultant (Pellings) and Lambeth’s project delivery and home ownership teams.
The planned works are:
External building repairs to: Baly House, Ducavel House and Coburg Crescent (104, 96, 18, 109, 103, & 123)
The works proposed subject to surveys will be:
windows and roofs renewal
rain water goods
decoration of communal areas
Mains water pipes renewal works to the following blocks:
Coburg Crescent 130-139
Bushell Close heating replacement: The replacement of distribution pipework from the boiler room, boiler replacement in dwelling heating systems and modification to the existing boiler room.
We have been hearing from leaseholders that bills for major works have started being delivered. The sums involved vary, but are large – tens of thousands of pounds. We expect this to be a great concern to many residents, so we encourage you seek advice and to talk to your fellow leaseholders.
If you contact us, we can put you in touch with other leaseholders. You can get advice from the following organisations:
A resident of Ducavel House has contacted the committee to let us know that they have received a planning notice for works to Ducavel House. Details of the planning application can be found here. The works include:
Replacements of windows and entrance doors with white uPVC versions.
Replacement of the disintegrating boxing around the external pipework with white metal boxing.
The expiry date for the consultation is 23 September 2019.
Last Thursday, our treasurer, Phil, met with representatives from Engie (the contractors), Pellings (the consultants) and Lambeth council to discuss the major works programme. The meeting initially discussed points carried over from the last meeting:
The major works won’t be able to pick up all ‘responsive repairs’ as the Major works will be phased over a number of year, so residents are still advised to raise repair requests in the normal way (as opposed to assuming that major works will cover them).
Lambeth acknowledged their database of freeholders on Coburg Crescent is wrong, and are rectifying this. This came to light as homeowners were wrongly sent letters implying that their homes were council owned. Correction letters are being sent, and the contractors (Engie) have been knocking on doors to speak to owners.
Leaseholders in Baly and Ducavel should expect to receive Section 20 notices (S20s) by late September ‘at the very latest’. This is to allow works to commence in November/December (after 6 weeks consultation).
The S20s will include a package of works. For Baly and Ducavel Houses this is water works and improvement works; for Bushel Close this is water and boiler works.
The council agreed to contact the department working on Palace Road Community Center to ensure some kind of link up here.
The phasing means that a number of tenanted properties on Coburg Crescent have seen works begin. This will be followed by Baly and Ducavel Houses, with boiler works on Bushell Close and the rest of the estate after this.
There followed an update from Engie on the current works:
Scaffolding is up on the first 6 houses, surveys are underway. Once these are complete the pace of works can pick up, with the remaining 31 houses to do.
They are looking for a site to place an additional storage containers, the unused below surface garages were suggested.
They will erect notice boards to provide information on site workers, contacts, etc.
Lastly, Phil raised some points:
With wrong letters sent out how will they improve communications? Whilst an all resident newsletter was rejected, those receiving works will receive monthly newsletters. An additional idea was accepted, to put notices up on all notice boards.
Can they have a resident meeting? They are looking to set up a leaseholders drop-in meeting, but are undecided whether this should be extended to all residents as many are not receiving works in the current phase. I strongly advocated to open it to all.
Phil emphasised that letting him/the TRA know about stuff was not the same as communicating with residents, and that the TRA is not responsible for sharing information about these works. This was agreed with.
These meetings will be held monthly at Engie’s compound in the car park on Coburg Crescent. The committee will endeavour to send a representative to each meeting. Please let us know if there is anything that you would like raised at these meetings.
Scaffolding has been erected at a number of houses along Coburg Crescent. Following enquires by the committee, PRERA has learned that six houses will have external work carried out. We are told that this includes:
Front entrance door replacement
Fabric repairs to building (bricks, concrete or both)
The work is to be carried out by the contractor Engie and is expected to be completed by the end of September. Engie will then move on to working on Baly House and Ducavel House.
Letters have been sent to many Coburg Crescent residents informing them of this work. Unfortunately, we are aware of at least two freeholders who were sent letters informing them that Engie will carry out work on their properties. Have you also received a worrying or confusing letter about these works? Has scaffolding appeared on your house and you don’t know why? Let us know.
A resident who is a leaseholder has recently received a letter from the council notifying them of a proposal to appoint a contractor for ‘consultancy and asset management services for our capital and technical programmes’. The letter is dated 5 July 2019.
The letter refers to a ‘notice of intention’, dated April 2018. Did you receive this letter? If so, could you let us know?