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  • FIRST POST
    • smartest_smarty
    • By smartest_smarty 6th Jul 17, 2:04 PM
    • 35Posts
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    smartest_smarty
    Serious fire safety defects in new build
    • #1
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:04 PM
    Serious fire safety defects in new build 6th Jul 17 at 2:04 PM
    Hi all,

    First let me start by saying this isn't related to the recent events at Genfell Tower. This has been on going since the beginning of the year.

    I moved in to a new build flat March 2016, it was signed off as fire safe and sold as safe to live in. Around January this year, it has now been discovered it does not have adequate fire safety. The hallway ceilings have been removed on all levels, and proposed work to remove all walls in the hallways, and then in each and every flat.

    This is an outrageous case on NEGLIGENCE.

    How can the building be signed off as safe and then a few months later be turned in to a building site.

    Intrusive work is going to be performed in all flats soon.

    What is the best way to go about this - to claim some form of compensation?

    There is already a petition to halt all rent and service charge (these are shared ownership homes).

    I don't think it's right I bought a new home and now it will have the walls and ceilings wrecked.

    I want to pursue this either individually or collectively with the rest of the residents.
Page 1
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 6th Jul 17, 2:10 PM
    • 66 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    • #2
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:10 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:10 PM
    Have they given any explanation as to why they are doing this?

    It is quite peculiar and in the first instance I would be tempted to call your Local Authority building control and ask if they have been notified about the works. This element of work would involvement with building control.

    You're are right in being worried about the fire safety as the halls will likely be fire protected lobbies and the plasterboard is part of the layering to give this fire performance.
    • smartest_smarty
    • By smartest_smarty 6th Jul 17, 2:19 PM
    • 35 Posts
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    smartest_smarty
    • #3
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:19 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:19 PM
    They've admitted that it was signed off, but there are several fire safety defects, including how the walls were built, which allow smoke to travel freely through the block. So now they are proposing work to all floors, and all flats in the entire building.

    It's extremely incompetent. Also, they said this was discovered at the beginning of the year, so they destroyed the hallway ceilings for emergency repair work, but since then nothing has actually been done. It's just been left like that. It doesn't seem to be an emergency at all. The housing association don't respond to emails either.

    I bought 55% of the home, I think this will cause it to depreciate, especially with the hallways in the current state, and fire safety defects discovered, and proposed intrusive future work in the flat, no one would go near this place.
    Last edited by smartest_smarty; 07-07-2017 at 2:19 PM.
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 6th Jul 17, 2:20 PM
    • 66 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    • #4
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:20 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:20 PM
    Have they given any explanation as to why they are doing this?

    It is quite peculiar and in the first instance I would be tempted to call your Local Authority building control and ask if they have been notified about the works. This element of work would involvement with building control.

    You're are right in being worried about the fire safety as the halls will likely be fire protected lobbies and the plasterboard is part of the layering to give this fire performance.
    Originally posted by lwhiteman88
    I should have re-read your post. I see that they are doing this to make it fire safe. I would certainly try and get an explanation from the contractor/developer as to what has failed and what they are doing to rectify and a programme of the work. You will likely have other provisions for fire safety and it may be deemed sufficient whilst the works are ongoing but there should have been some sort information given to you as to what the precautions are and if any temporary fire strategy is in place whilst the works are ongoing.
    • smartest_smarty
    • By smartest_smarty 6th Jul 17, 2:27 PM
    • 35 Posts
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    smartest_smarty
    • #5
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:27 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Jul 17, 2:27 PM
    Of course doing it for safety is fine, and we were told fire strategy has changed from stay put to evacuation. With lots of wireless alarm sounders placed around the building.

    Rectifying it for safety is fine, but it's the fact it was signed off as safe already and then sold to me, and now I have to go through ongoing work, turning it in to a building site again.

    It's negligent and reckless, I want to know the best way to seek compensation for this individually or collectively for all residents affected.
    Last edited by smartest_smarty; 06-07-2017 at 2:30 PM.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 6th Jul 17, 3:28 PM
    • 1,405 Posts
    • 1,456 Thanks
    EachPenny
    • #6
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:28 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:28 PM
    It's negligent and reckless, I want to know the best way to seek compensation for this individually or collectively for all residents affected.
    Originally posted by smartest_smarty
    Go and speak to a solicitor for advice, people on the internet can help, but you need proper legal advice.

    And as a friendly suggestion, you might also want to get legal advice on the wisdom of publishing a statement which names a person or organisation and accuses them of 'negligence'.

    You also need to separate faults during design and construction from the work to rectify those faults and make the building safer. People objecting to fire safety works on the grounds it inconveniences them are unlikely to get a great deal of sympathy. Objecting to the original failings you claim is a different matter.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 6th Jul 17, 3:29 PM
    • 4,830 Posts
    • 4,468 Thanks
    eddddy
    • #7
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:29 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:29 PM
    Are you completely clear about who is paying for this work?

    For example, has the original building contractor agreed that they are covering the cost?

    If the Freeholder (Housing Association) is paying, are they planning to re-charge it to leaseholders as part of the service charge?


    - If it was not built to spec, hopefully the building contractor should pay.
    - If it was badly specified/designed, hopefully the architect should pay
    - But if the Housing Association is simply improving/upgrading fire safety, leaseholders may have to contribute to that
    • societys child
    • By societys child 6th Jul 17, 3:37 PM
    • 4,323 Posts
    • 4,548 Thanks
    societys child
    • #8
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:37 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:37 PM
    Difficult to see how compensation will somehow help to make the place safer . .?

    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 6th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    • 1,711 Posts
    • 2,467 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    • #9
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    Difficult to see how compensation will somehow help to make the place safer . .?
    Originally posted by societys child
    The "compensation" is the remedial work which is being done to make the place safer.

    OP - this is neither negligent, reckless, nor worthy of compensation. Suggest you put your time and energy into learning what these terms mean, rather than believing every "where there's blame there's a claim" ambulance chasing ads you see on daytime TV.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 6th Jul 17, 4:10 PM
    • 14,478 Posts
    • 14,182 Thanks
    Guest101
    There could be a small element of compensation. Given they will need access to the flat for a guess - 3 days? you could ask for alternate accommodation for 3 days.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 6th Jul 17, 7:24 PM
    • 1,715 Posts
    • 2,502 Thanks
    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    The OP does say " proposed work to remove all walls in the hallways, and then in each and every flat. "

    Should the walls not be replaced and redecorated to the current standard (which may be in excess of the standard provided when the flats were bought) then yes, they should be compensated for that.

    You'd have to wait first and see what they do though.
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 6th Jul 17, 7:50 PM
    • 1,773 Posts
    • 3,106 Thanks
    Rosemary7391
    There could be a small element of compensation. Given they will need access to the flat for a guess - 3 days? you could ask for alternate accommodation for 3 days.
    Originally posted by Guest101
    The OP makes it sound like they're going to take down and rebuild every wall in the flat. If I've read that right they're not just going to need to stay somewhere else for a few days, they're going to need to get all their stuff out and flooring up too. Can you clarify what arrangements you've been asked to make to accommodate the work OP? That'll be a good baseline for determining just how disruptive it's going to be...
    Me escondo detras de mi lengua... tengo miedo de que me entiendas... pero me gustara que me entendases ¡Ayudame!
    • smartest_smarty
    • By smartest_smarty 7th Jul 17, 2:27 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    smartest_smarty
    Go and speak to a solicitor for advice, people on the internet can help, but you need proper legal advice.

    And as a friendly suggestion, you might also want to get legal advice on the wisdom of publishing a statement which names a person or organisation and accuses them of 'negligence'.

    You also need to separate faults during design and construction from the work to rectify those faults and make the building safer. People objecting to fire safety works on the grounds it inconveniences them are unlikely to get a great deal of sympathy. Objecting to the original failings you claim is a different matter.
    Originally posted by EachPenny

    Hi,

    Thanks for your reply, I'm not objecting to the proposed works, I'm objecting that a building is signed off as safe - people live in it for one year, only to be told it wasn't safe at all.
    • smartest_smarty
    • By smartest_smarty 7th Jul 17, 2:30 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    smartest_smarty
    The "compensation" is the remedial work which is being done to make the place safer.
    Originally posted by ReadingTim
    ----No one said it would. It's the principle.

    OP - this is neither negligent, reckless, nor worthy of compensation. Suggest you put your time and energy into learning what these terms mean, rather than believing every "where there's blame there's a claim" ambulance chasing ads you see on daytime TV.
    Negligent = failure to take care. (Yes it is, to declare something as safe when it is not, and allow people to live there. Yes that is negligence).

    Reckless = Heedless of the consequences of ones actions. (Yes it's reckless again to sign off a building as safe when it wasn't, if a fire had taken place and the safety is inadequate would you still say this isn't reckless). Rushing the sign off of the building is reckless.
    Last edited by smartest_smarty; 07-07-2017 at 2:34 PM.
    • smartest_smarty
    • By smartest_smarty 7th Jul 17, 2:32 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    smartest_smarty
    Originally Posted by Guest101 View Post
    There could be a small element of compensation. Given they will need access to the flat for a guess - 3 days? you could ask for alternate accommodation for 3 days.
    Currently no timescale at all.

    The hallway work has been ongoing for about 6 months. On only one floor (should give some perspective on this situation).

    The OP does say " proposed work to remove all walls in the hallways, and then in each and every flat. Should the walls not be replaced and redecorated to the current standard (which may be in excess of the standard provided when the flats were bought) then yes, they should be compensated for that.

    You'd have to wait first and see what they do though.
    Originally posted by ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    Hallway walls on top floor been replaced with pink boards.
    Last edited by smartest_smarty; 07-07-2017 at 2:38 PM.
    • smartest_smarty
    • By smartest_smarty 7th Jul 17, 2:35 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    smartest_smarty
    Are you completely clear about who is paying for this work?

    For example, has the original building contractor agreed that they are covering the cost?

    If the Freeholder (Housing Association) is paying, are they planning to re-charge it to leaseholders as part of the service charge?


    - If it was not built to spec, hopefully the building contractor should pay.
    - If it was badly specified/designed, hopefully the architect should pay
    - But if the Housing Association is simply improving/upgrading fire safety, leaseholders may have to contribute to that
    Originally posted by eddddy
    At first was told landlord would cover all expenses. Yesterday got a letter saying service charge will be increased to cover fire safety maintenance. This is disgraceful.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 7th Jul 17, 3:19 PM
    • 4,830 Posts
    • 4,468 Thanks
    eddddy
    At first was told landlord would cover all expenses. Yesterday got a letter saying service charge will be increased to cover fire safety maintenance. This is disgraceful.
    Originally posted by smartest_smarty
    It's interesting that they say fire safety maintenance and not fire safety improvements.

    Many leases give the freeholder the automatic right to charge leaseholders for maintenance, but not for improvements.

    Also, if the service charge per leaseholder is going to be more than £250, the freeholders should have done a section 20 consultation.


    There's lots of complexities here, but I guess the bottom line is that
    - if somebody did something wrong (e.g. specified the wrong materials, fitted the wrong materials), you might have a case for not paying.

    - if a section 20 consultation should have been done but wasn't, you might have a case for not paying.

    - if it's improvement work, rather than maintenance work, you might have a case for not paying
    But on the basis that the work should be making you safer, perhaps you want to pay anyway.



    (You also asked about compensation for inconvenience. As it's shared ownership, you might have a case for 'rent abatement'. e.g. if 25% of your flat is unusable for 2 weeks due to repairs, you might get 25% reduction in rent for those 2 weeks.)
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 7th Jul 17, 3:59 PM
    • 1,711 Posts
    • 2,467 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    ----No one said it would. It's the principle.
    Originally posted by smartest_smarty
    You don't get any compensation for your principles being "outraged" sweetie. Get over it.
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