Our experts have completed preliminary investigations into the building materials used at Ducketts Apartments and we have received the architect and engineer’s draft preliminary findings.
2. Reviewed the preliminary findings
We have reviewed the initial findings. These have unfortunately revealed that we need to carry out some remedial work to the buildings to ensure that they comply with the government’s guidelines. The exact extent of these has yet to be determined.
What are you doing to ensure residents are safe?
While we carry out the more detailed investigations into the remedial work and get on with the work itself, we have taken advice from the fire brigade and our fire safety engineers to make sure that your homes have the right additional precautions in place to ensure your safety in the event of a need to evacuate the buildings.
We have been advised that no changes to the fire strategy are required at this time. We regularly review this, and will advise residents if this situation changes.
Your current fire strategy can be found here.
Timing of the work
We are aiming to begin the intrusive surveys (A Type 4 FRA) inside of the building in Spring 2021. We are scoping and planning the work right now, so it is not possible to give an exact time for when the remedial work will start. We will share the exact details of the works with you as soon as we can. This is a complex process involving further detailed inspections, scoping the exact work and tendering for contractors whilst we ensure that we work in a Covid-safe way for everyone.
Can I stay in my home during the work?
Yes, we think so. Due to the nature of the work needed, we think it is likely that we will be able to carry out the work without the need to move anyone out of their homes. But it does sometimes happen that we discover, in scoping and planning the work, that we may need access to the interiors of some homes. If that is necessary, we will discuss this with you beforehand.
Will leaseholders be charged for the costs of the remedial work?
Your safety is our first priority. As a matter of principle we want to assure you that questions about how building safety remedial work is funded never stand in the way of us getting that work done.
However the costs of the work do need to be funded from somewhere. We will do all we can to protect leaseholders from these costs by seeking to recover these from those responsible for any building defects or from the government if this is possible.
We are investigating the potential to claim these costs from a third party, where this is available.
We are a charitable housing association and the way we are run and how we spend our money is regulated by the government. What this means in practice is that if we cannot find an alternative source of reimbursement for the costs of the remedial work then we have no choice but to seek to recover costs under the terms of your leases. This is because the way we spend our money is subject to strict rules and we are not permitted to write off these costs if there is a alternative option. This is never our preferred way forward and we understand that this may be concerning for leaseholders. We hope that this will not be necessary but it would be wrong not to be clear about the possibility at this stage.
We do not know how much the work is likely to cost at this stage but we are working on getting that information as quickly as possible.
What is the latest RICS EWS1 guidance for this building?
“For buildings of five or six storeys, an EWS1 form should be required where:
There is a significant amount of cladding on the building (for the purpose of this guidance, approximately one quarter of the whole elevation estimated from what is visible standing at ground level is a significant amount).”
Whilst in Appendix B: EWS1 form decision tree, it states in Step 5 “Does the cladding cover more than a quarter of the full elevations of the building (including windows and doors as estimated from what is visible standing at ground level) OR is there any other reason it should be regarded as a significant amount?"
What about in circumstances where a building may only have cladding that is less than 25% of the whole building, but that cladding is significant in terms of being greater than 25% of one elevation or concentrated around an exit point?
Is the intention of the guidance note that this reference to a ‘significant amount’ is in relation to just a single façade or the whole building?
The RICS has advised that cladding that is on one quarter of all of the visible elevations, standing at ground level, equivalent to approximately one quarter of the whole building, is normally a significant amount.
For example, in considering whether there is a significant amount of cladding on a building, cladding that links multiple floors of a building or is around the main route of escape is likely to require remediation
As stated in the latest guidance, these criteria are guidance and professional judgement will need to be applied. RICS has received information that valuers will generally regard cladding that covers more than a quarter of any single elevation of the building (even if there is not cladding on a quarter of the whole building) as significant because this will link multiple floors and be more likely to require more expensive remediation. They have therefore amended the online decision tree to reflect this.
I’m trying to sell or remortgage my home – how will this impact on that?
Further information regarding selling or remortgaging whilst this process is underway can be found here.
How can I find out more?
We'll be updating these pages whenever there is new information.