Our experts have completed preliminary investigations into the building materials used at Wellend Villas and we have received the architect and engineer’s draft preliminary report.
2. Review the preliminary findings
We have reviewed the initial findings. Unfortunately, they have 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.
3. The need for more detailed investigations
The next step is to do more detailed investigations to establish how widespread the issues are, the scope of the work required, the likely timings and the estimated costs. Our experience with other properties in the building safety programme where this is happening is that this usually takes around three months. This timeframe can be prolonged if we find there are complications in carrying out the more detailed investigations. We will keep you updated.
4. The preliminary investigation showed that:
We need to install some horizontal and vertical firebreaks behind areas of the cedarwood timber wall covering
We need to carry out remedial work to the cavity barriers around windows surrounded by the cedarwood because at least some of these have not been installed as recommended
The cedarwood timber and insulation beneath will likely need to be replaced but we need to do some more surveys to understand the extent of that work
In the meantime, 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.
This advice is that we should:
1. Install additional smoke detection and alarms to supplement the existing system.
2. Change the fire evacuation policy to simultaneously evacuate.
Whilst we complete the remedial works, we have changed the evacuation policy today from “stay put” to “evacuate” in the event of a fire. We have changed the fire safety advice notices in your buildings to reflect this. Please read this information.
Timing of the work
We are beginning to scope and plan the work right now, so it is not possible to give an exact time for when the work will start. We will share the exact details of the works with you as soon as we can. This is likely to take around up to three months because it 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, it is likely that we will be able to carry out the work without the need to move anyone out of their homes. However, sometimes during the scoping and planning process, that we may need access to the interiors of some homes. If that is necessary, we will discuss this with you beforehand.
What should I do if there’s a fire?
If a there is a fire in the building, please evacuate the building immediately. The fire safety strategy has recently changed - please see the Fire Safety Procedure for more information.
Will leaseholders be charged for the costs of the remedial work?
Your safety is our first priority. Questions about how building safety remedial work is funded never stand in the way of us getting the necessary work done, however the costs of work do need to be funded from somewhere.
We will do all we can to protect leaseholders from these costs by seeking to recover them from those responsible for any building defects or from the government if at all possible.
We are investigating the potential to claim these costs from a third party, where this is available.
As a charitable housing association, the way we are run and how we spend our money is regulated by the Government. What this means 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 an 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. We are working on getting that information as soon as possible. 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.
I’m trying to sell or remortgage my home – how will this impact on that?
We know that some residents are very concerned about the inevitable impact the need for building safety work will have on the sale or remortgage of homes.
You may find that your chosen mortgage lender is requesting an EWS1 form. This is not a government form but was created by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors at the time the government guidance came in, as a way for owners of buildings over 18m to provide proof that their buildings complied with the new safety guidance.
If you are finding that a lender is requesting an EWS1 form we would encourage you to speak to your mortgage broker or financial advisor as not all lenders are taking the same approach and you may find another lender takes a different view.
Does the new Government guidance mean that we need an EWS1 form for our building?
For buildings under 18m the EWS1 form is only appropriate if specific concerns exist. It is important to note that there is a requirement to assess the external wall systems of all our relevant buildings but this is different from the EWS1 form itself which is simply a form used to evidence the outcome of that assessment.
Our Building Safety Programme is how we are systematically carrying out the required external wall system assessments. Once a building has been through our building safety programme we will ask our experts to provide assurance in an appropriate form that the building complies with Government safety guidelines. This assurance can be produced to lenders and valuers.
Once the survey and remedial works are complete, we will be able to provide an EWS1.
Further information can be found here.
Why is this taking so long?
We appreciate that this process is taking a long time and that this is having a serious impact on some people's lives and wellbeing. We are very sorry that our communications have not been consistent up to now and we are aiming to put that right going forward. We are grateful to all residents for their continued patience while we fully investigate and ensure the building complies with current building safety guidelines.
Your feedback to us is that some residents are feeling frustrated with the pace of work, anxious because of the uncertainty and confused about a lack of full or conflicting answers to your questions. We understand that this is a stressful time for many residents and going forward we will be communicating more consistently and regularly.
How can I find out more?
We'll be updating these pages when there is new information.