Month: January 2008

Work starts on water mains

Work on the installation of a mains water storage tank and pumps into the plant room in the basement of block one begins on Monday 22nd January and is expected to last until March.  We hope there will be limited disruption as the work will be mainly contained within the current boiler room and office space, but inevitably there may be some disturbance from the associated building work.

Following completion of the works there will then be a commissioning and test period to ensure that the system operates satisfactorily and that the Thames Water mains supply connections are in place. Following satisfactory completion it will then be possible for residents to connect their flats to the new water main system.

The contractor  carrying out the work is BTU Heating Limited and if you do have any  problems during the course of the work please contact the contracts manager who is Nigel Romans on 07768 722577. Please note that BTU have not been retained to advise on plumbing the individual flats. Once the current phase of works is completed, we will circulate flat owners with full details of the new system including FAQ’s on what you can expect from the system and on how to get your flat connected.

The relief caretaker is also aware of the work taking place.  His contact telephone number is 07946 589322 and he will be able report any problems on your behalf.

Record prices paid for flats in Ashworth Mansions

The property website reports that three Ashworth Mansions flats were sold in late 2007 at record prices.

A garden flat on the Elgin Avenue side has been sold for £790K breaking the previous record of £640K paid in 2001 for one of the very large four bedroom flats in block 5. Two flats in the Grantully Road block have been sold for similarly high prices: £765K for a garden flat and £710K for one on the second floor with a view of the park. The previous highest for a flat on the Grantully side was £565K in 2006.

Summary of December 2007 Board Meeting

 Caretakers report

Bicycles – It was agreed KFH would write to residents asking them to claim and remove bicycles that appeared to be abandoned in the various store rooms and boiler room beneath the block. Residents will be given one month to claim them and then they will be disposed of.

Illegal parking – a motor scooter that had recently been parked at the front of the building had now been removed. It was agreed to erect 2 signs for the areas that could possibly be used for motorbikes/scooters etc.

Routine maintenance

Pigeons – the work to add chicken wire to all 50 high-level rain water hoppers is complete and will deter both pigeon nests and other blockages (see individual flat items below).  Estimates of £3K – £5K have been received to install drop netting and other pest control paraphernalia on the Elgin Avenue side of block one. It was agreed not to go ahead with more netting for the time being, as this will not solve the problem for the whole building. It was agreed to look at the situation again next spring when the pigeons are nesting, with the possibility of using a hawk to deter them.

Drains repairs – we are still awaiting response to the tender

Fire safety – following a general risk and fire assessment, the inspectors strongly recommended that the electrical intake doors be secured. This work will be carried out at a cost of £1,435 plus VAT. We have also begun testing the general electrical system.

Garden Gates – it was agreed to modify the 4 garden gates so that they can take mortice locks, the existing ones being old and unreliable.  In addition, it was agreed that the gate by the boiler house should have a lock that can be accessed by the Fire Brigade if necessary. The cost for this including 100 keys is £1,285 plus VAT.

Interior redecorations – it was noted that the final account was now paid less £1,000 still held as a retention. The manufacturers of the internal emergency lighting will meet with the electrician who installed them to try to resolve the problems.

Block one exterior – KFH will ask the structural engineers to draw up a specification of minor repairs necessary.

Block five roof – the high level coping stones have become quite worn.  A quote of £485 had been obtained to repair them. It was felt that this problem might be affecting other areas of the estate and should be dealt with as part of more comprehensive set of repairs following the forthcoming full survey of the estate.  

Company business

Following the end of the financial year, the accounts have been consolidated and a meeting with the auditor scheduled for early December.

It was agreed to write to Freshwater to see whether the caretaker’s flat would be for sale. Note that we are investigating the possibility of purchase and that no decision has been taken. In any event, we cannot proceed to purchase without consulting the flat owners.

It was agreed to hold a special board meeting to decide the way forward regarding lease extensions and the sale of shares to flat owners who do not have one

Mains water

In preparation for the installation of the break tanks and pumps, three storage vessels have been relocated within the boiler room and the necessary permissions from Freshwater (who own the lease on the boiler room) obtained.

A meeting was held 3rd October with the selected contractor (BTU Heating), the consulting engineer, project manger, managing agent and two board members. It was agreed to proceed to contract with BTU and to write to flat owners to this effect.

Central heating

Problems have been encountered after the heating system was re-commissioned after the summer drain down etc; initially with air pressure where the system had been drained down then an intermittent fault to the pressurisation/pump unit and, now recently, a possible fault with the compensator.

The equipment installed in the boiler is straightforward, uncomplicated and should be easy to maintain. The fact that the system was drained down will not help and, naturally, in very cold spells the fabric of the properties has to warm and this can take some time to be achieved.  On the basis that one or two flats may report a drop in temperature with the system, the managing agents suggested that all those on the communal heating system are written to obtain their views if the heating is reduced and or problematic. It would also be sensible to check whether any illegal alterations have been carried out to the system which may have affected the flow etc.

Individual flats

  • Works to temporarily fill cracks in one flat were authorised
  • Reports of plaster cracking in another flat are to be investigated
  • One flat has been subject to unauthorised alternations predating the acquisition of Ashworth Mansions freehold in 1991.  The owner is to be asked for a guarantee that it will deal with any problems ensuing, if necessary.
  • A license to alter various non structural items within one flat was finalised against a £1000 deposit for damages
  • One flat owner has made an application to change a bathroom layout and remove a small wall. This will be considered alongside a report from our structural engineers
  • An application to alter the layout of another flat has been made. This was agreed subject to license. Since the flat is on the ground floor, no additional nuisance would be caused
  • One flat owner has made a preliminary proposal to join two flats together. This was agreed, in principle, subject to before and after plans and a structural engineers report
  • An ex gratia payment was made to one flat owner following significant water damage from an overflowing rainwater hopper
  • One flat has reported a water leak from the flat above. The flat owners are dealing with the issue themselves
  • A top floor flat has suffered from a leak (again from a hopper). A quote for repair and re-decoration has been received.

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