On 8 December 2015, Julia Barclay (Chair) and Tom Cordell (Vice Chair) from the Bevin Court Tenants’ & Residents’ Association met representatives of the team at London Borough of Islington who are in the early stages of planning an upgrade of the heating system at Bevin Court. The work is not yet fully commissioned and has yet to be procured. There will be formal notice served in the form of Section 20 Notice of Intent and then, following the evaluation of the returned tenders, there will then be a formal Section 20 Notice of Estimate. There will be a consultation period where we will meet with and answer enquiries from the lease-holders, as a portion of the costs of this project will be recharged to them. While the boiler and heating risers in the boiler house have been replaced in the last ten years, the parts of the system inside the flats are approaching 30 years old and will need replacing soon.
The plan is to remove all internal pipework, tanks and radiators within each dwelling and replace it on a like for like basis. However there will be some significant improvements;
- We will have new thermostatic radiator valves, and room thermostats with a time clock, giving a single control for the heating in each flat.
- The hot water cylinders will be upgraded to give a faster recovery time, meaning that it will be possible to run another hot bath after a wait of only 20 minutes.
- Unlike the existing Elson tanks, the cold water cylinder will be separated from the hot, meaning that the cold water will no longer be tepid from heat leakage from the hot tank.
- The new tanks will where possible be placed higher up in the flat, which will improve water pressure, though not to the extent that the pressure would be adequate for showering. This would still require the installation of a pump, something that LBI are not prepared to provide as it would present them with an additional long term maintenance cost.
- We will get a choice of a heated towel rail or a radiator in our bathrooms.
There will be no radio controlled thermostats as previous installations in Islington have proved problematic.
We will continue to have a 2 pipe system – this means that each flat has both hot water and central heating available all year round. Other flats have a 4 pipe system which allows for the central heating to be turned off in the summer. However it would be prohibitively expensive to convert Bevin Court to this system as the layout of the plant room would have to be substantially altered and there is not sufficient space to do so.
In terms of the works inside the flats, the plan is that each dwelling will be surveyed individually, with a design for the work agreed in advance with the specific tenant or leaseholder. The works will be loud, as they will require drilling into the concrete of the building, and will be carried out between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday. There will not be any scaffolding.
The work in each dwelling will take place over a week, with the ambition that it can be completed in three days per flat. No home will be left without hot water in the evenings. The works are to be planned for Spring & Summer months, so that heating should not be necessary for most residents. Should heating be required while the works are underway in our flats, the council will lend us electric heaters. There will be considerable disruption during the work, as the contractors will have to get access to all pipework and radiators throughout the flat.
Any pipes that are currently boxed in will be boxed in again at the end of the job, but in general the new pipework will be left exposed. All new pipework will be painted white. The new radiators are likely to be smaller than existing; therefore residents may have to make good the paintwork around the new installation. Any existing pumps that residents have in their flats will be tested and connected to the new system.
COSTS AND SCHEDULE
The costs recharged to leaseholders are still to be determined, following the evaluation of the tendering process. The target start date for the work is Spring 2017. The key factor in keeping the project on schedule is to get access when required to each flat. The Islington Project Managers see the experience of the first few residents to have the works carried out as critical; if they are happy then the word will spread and other residents will be more willing to cooperate with the contractors. If this is a success then multiple teams can work across the building and works should be completed between April and October.
The work will be put out to tender. The TRA have asked for potential contractors to be selected on the basis of having experience of working on other listed buildings. There will initially be site meetings every two weeks, moving to monthly once the project is running smoothly. There will be permanent site office here on a location to be decided, though this is likely to be in the car park. There is a possibility of a respite area being provided for residents who wish to escape the noise & disruption during works in their flat.
Currently these proposals are at a very early stage, and now is the time to express opinions on the plan. You can talk to the TRA about your views about we collate theme and pass them along to the Islington Project Managers. There will we further consultation opportunities directly with Project Managers as the project gets nearer to being commissioned.
Minutes 22nd December Bevin Court Tenants’ & Residents’ Association
Julia Barclay – Chair
Tom Cordell – Vice Chair
Justin Oh – Secretary
Josie Afolabi – Secretary
Sally Grey – Treasurer
Items for Discussion:
1. Update on completed activities
2. Update on on-going activities and progress to date
3. Bids for Estate Security and Estate Improvement budgets
4. 50% cuts to Islington Council budget from Central Government
5. Confirmation of officer roles and expected activities.
6. Bevin Court TRA email account
Item 1: Update on completed activities
JB confirmed that 2 issues that have been raised have now been resolved,
1. It has been agreed that Amwell House residents can use our bike shed. Emailed members and had 6 responses. 5/6 responses said don’t care, 1/6 said they should keep their bikes on their own premises.
2. Column lights in front of Bevin Court – not working since Feb when contractor fixing maisonette water supply cut wire. Then a second fault was discovered and so this was fixed ultimately in September. 6 month old problem was fixed within 6 weeks of TRA raising issue at Housing Panel meeting.
Item 2: Update on ongoing activities and progress to date
1. Staircase Lighting – The lights in the central staircase which were installed 2012-13 are not working. When JB escalated to Housing Panel in July 2015, 24% were out of order (19 out of 74 lights), with the worst affected being on the 4th floor.
As of Nov 2015, 92% are now working (68 out of 74). However, this is a temporary fix until the new components for the fixtures can be manufactured (gear trays) and means the lights are on full brightness at all times. After the gear trays are manufactured and installed, they lights should work as designed; that is on at low level and brightening as motion is detected.
2. The lobby foyer area – Repairing damage done by Breyer when they scaffolded the stairs for decoration. Council have hired a contractor to abrade and polish the floor. JB inspected with Barry Cunningham and Sinead Burke of Islington Council on 14 Dec 2015. All agreed that it looked better but the job is still not as it should be. Council plan another round of abrading & polishing to try to rectify problem.
3. Drains in West Wing – There have been endless floods and leaks for ground floor residents. JB raised this as Sep 2015 Housing Panel. In response, a CCTV survey carried out 14 Dec 2015 by Islington contractor UKDN, which said gullies (leading from waste down pipes to drain) are blocked with baby wipes, sanitary products, fat, food waste etc. Drains are clear but cracked. Recommendation is to jet wash the gullies, but the drain needs relining or replacing or it will collapse when jetted. They recommend replacement as its below modern size requirements.
4. Loggia/Portico behind flat 6 (ground floor South Wing) – Have had discussions with Jo Roberts (Estate Services Manager) re: remedying the ASB in this area (people drinking. Using drugs, sleeping rough, etc.). Current proposal is to install uneven, “deterrent paving” in the area to make it uncomfortable to sit/stand/lie on. JB has gotten agreement from Islington Conservation (Kristian Kaminski) and Heritage England (listed building consent) for the installation of “deterrent paving” in this area and Jo thinks she has funding for it. We are hoping to go ahead in Jan 2016, but need planning permission first.
5. TC recapped the meeting which he and JB held with Alan Price and Tony Parkin of Islington Council on 8 Dec 2015. See document “HEATING SYSTEMS RENEWAL AT BEVIN COURT” for information of that meeting.
JB: suggested that with the work that the heating renewal that the Council are planning to do, Bevin Court TRA should push for a legacy project. As the Council have agreed (tentatively) to provide a respite area for residents during the heating works, as we should push for this to be something we could keep and use as a community room. We should ask for a pre-fabricated building or similar either in the car park or at the end of the service access road by the West Wing which could be used for site offices/respite during contract and the handed over to community at the end of the project.
Item 3 – Future Activities
Estate Improvements (£100k) and Estate Security Budgets (£40k) – These will be up for grabs in the New Year. Responses from TRA questionnaire suggests residents would like CCTV. JA, TC, SG express opposition to CCTV. JB suggests it would be easy to fit in lifts as there is a space already there for the camera. Ongoing costs estimated a £1 per flat per week may be prohibitive.
It was agreed that getting additional lighting should be our main focus for Estate Improvements and/or Security Budgets. We would like lighting at the rear of the block by the car park and also along the path leading from Holford Street to the entrance of Holford Gardens/Holford Way
Discussion on best way to consult – does non-response indicate approval or apathy? Should we do a leafletting campaign? Host more meetings? Door knocking? General agreement that door knocking would likely have best response.
JB distributed a reminder to all members regarding their roles and requesting more support.
We need to schedule at least 4 general TRA meetings, including one 1 AGM per year to be held on our anniversary in June. It is the Secretary’s duty is to arrange these. JB will forward contact details for Charles Rowan House TRA and Margery Street Community Hall to JA. JA to liaise with contacts and TRA officers to schedule 4 general meetings
JB distributed the credentials for the TRA Gmail account in her update document and encouraged Officers to look at the mailbox. .
JB raised issue of Islington facing 50% reduction in council funding. TC pointed out that this is approximately 60% of total funding with 10% from Council Tax & 30% from parking charges
With little scope for spending, there is a possibility that residents could get paid for doing small jobs are normally done by contractors e.g. locking & unlocking the park. . 3
There was a discussion of possible Amwell Street for creation of QuietWay2 cycle system, which was drawn to TRA’s attention by Amwell Society. Discussed possibility of time based closure to traffic during rush hour. JA proposed that we opt for restricted access during ‘peak times’.
Discussion of officers making contacts on their landings (and elsewhere) and encouraging residents to attend TRA meetings and join in.
JB explained lift maintenance contract with Amalgamated Lifts and suggested we might be able to get a steam clean and new flooring for the lifts.
All agreed we should do something to commend our caretaker John Lynch for his excellent work as the Council are taking back his “Caretaker of the Year” award in order to pass it on to this year’s recipient.
Val Barnes LBI
(Names in brackets are in attendance but without voting rights as they from the same household as a voting attendee)
Antonio Dos Santos
Leaseholders marked with LH, Private tenants marked as PT, others are LBI tenants.
Meeting opens 1845.
VB: We are quorate and have more tenants than leaseholders.
JB: We’re hoping to keep this a brief meeting – the main point of today’s meeting is to get everything in order so that we can be recognised by LBI. 1. canvas members for names and addresses 2. review votes for positions. 3. agree name for TRA, 4. adopt LBI model constitution, 5. Any other business.
VB: First take votes for nominees.
Take votes for:
JB as chair. Unanimous
TC as vice chair. Unanimous
JO as secretary. Unanimous
Sally Grey. Unanimous
Other committee members:
Any objections to these 4? None
(See below Aynom Fesum elected later in the meeting to the committee)
VB: The requirement is for minimum 8 committee meetings a year, and one general meeting with elections either annually or biannually.
We now have a TRA at Bevin Court! BC is now entitled to apply for funding and representation with LBI.
Next we need to agree a name. Bevin Court Tenants and Residents Association. Agreed unanimously.
Raj: when filming takes place in the building will the TRA be consulted?
JM: Can we use the council’s email list to contact residents?
VB: No – TRAs are meant to be independent of the council and there also would be data protection issues.
JB: We will need to do door knocking to get wider support and interest for the TRA
VB: Perhaps you could organise a small event to build interest in the TRA? The council can offer support with this.
AF: From experience of last TRA we need to get people out and knocking on doors. Not happy with the location of this meeting as it’s too far away for lots of residents.
VB: We weren’t able to use the Peel Centre (closer location) and so this venue was chosen as the closest available location.
Late election: Aynom unanimously elected to the committee.
VB: Finally we need to adopt the draft constitution
JB: Copies of draft constitution were circulated to attendees today who were not at previous meeting. Also advised that it was available online. Summarised constitution and asked if there were any objections to it? Agreed provisionally
VB: if you having read the constitution have any objections, please let us know within 14 days.
JB: Any other business. As you may know I’ve been doing a lot of TRA type stuff behind the scenes. I’m going to write this up so that we all know what’s been going on. Give me a month or so to document all this. We can have a committee meeting in about a month’s time. I’ll give everyone 14 days notice. I really want this to be really representative and get more and more people involved. We’re going to do a door knocking campaign. Please talk to your neighbours, and get a feeling that we can achieve change. We now have an official voice with LBI.
VB: LBI has a tenants and residents panel meeting every two months so if people pass issues onto JB for representation here.
JB: One of the objectives of the door knocking is to explain what the TRA does, and what it doesn’t do.