The annual health and safety inspection has been carried out and this checked that the Management Company is taking action to reduce the risks identified last year.
Following the fire tragedy earlier this year, requirements for fire safety were especially stringent and some action is now required on matters that were not previously an issue.
Last year, around 20 changed flat front doors were identified and all were followed up to check they were certified or inspected for fire safety. Three owners ignored this vital correspondence or left work until too late to meet the deadline for this year's inspection. In view of the potential risk, the Management Company's solicitor is dealing with these at those owners' expense. One has since been rectified and we have been advised of booked work for the other two.
Two more flat doors were identified this year, one with damage that has been repaired and another changed without consent despite all the publicity over the last year. This was followed up to ensure it had the necessary certification. The lease requires flat owners to obtain consent in advance of any alterations.
It is vital that flat front doors have self-closers so that they close and retain fire and smoke if someone evacuating from a fire does not close the door by hand. Otherwise, this makes other people's escape route unsafe. Please make sure you have a working flat door self-closer. This is a legal requirement under building regulations. If you need to fit a new one, a concealed type is likely to be most suitable.
We regret that plants, shoes and similar items can no longer be left in communal areas. The only permissible items now are door mats.
Holiday waste collection
Wandsworth Council waste collections will move from Mondays to Tuesday 26 December and Tuesday 2 January. Christmas trees are likely to be collected for shredding between Tuesday 2 January and Monday 15 January, no later.
Several key items of work have been carried out as well as the usual maintenance:
- The remaining life-expired flat entry systems have been replaced so, after work over the last three years, this is now complete. This has greatly reduced the repairs required.
- 5-yearly landlord electrical testing has been carried out, we await the results and certificates, then will order any work required.
- Open electrical panels in flat block risers have been secured again. If your electricity company opens the electrical panel, you must ensure they close it securely again. If they do not, please report this urgently to the Managing Agent for safety.
- The new cleaning contractor has provided COSHH assessments of the cleaning chemicals used, which are rated low risk.
- Further work has been carried out to secure soffits at roof level on 1-23 Limetree Walk to try and prevent squirrel entry. If successful, this will also be considered on other blocks with similar issues, like 31-36 Abbey Drive.
Some extra work will be carried out as a result of the annual health and safety inspection:
We are sorry that it has taken so long to get failed security light bulbs and strip light fittings repaired. The local electrician found a year ago did not prove reliable and another found during the tender for the 5-yearly testing has not responded in a reasonable time. We will have to revert to using a large maintenance contractor.
- Brushes will be fitted to flat communal area fire doors with gaps at the bottom, identified for the first time this year, to retain smoke.
- Uneven paving around 39-45 Church Lane will be repaired to make it more level.
Snow and ice
If snow falls or is forecast or it is icy, grit / salt will be put in St Benedicts Close (by the bin), Abbey Drive and Limetree Walk for residents to use.
The Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 7th December in St Boniface Church Hall Function Suite. No other nearby venues now take evening bookings.
The 2 Directors, a representative of Wandle Housing Association, 3 other shareholders from 2 properties, 1 proxy and the Rendall and Rittner property managers attended. 2 proxy nominations to the chairman gave discretion on voting.
More information and the documents for the meeting are available on the website at www.stbentooting.co.uk/agm.
The following resolutions were considered:
- The Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
- The report of the Directors and Accounts for the year ended 30th June 2017 were adopted. A Statement of Service Charges was also presented for information.
- The Directors reported on contracts for services, maintenance and periodic work:
- All flat communal hallway bulkhead lights now have LED lamps.
- The cleaning contractor was changed and now also does waste work which the gardening contractor wished to cease.
- Two sewer repairs were carried out by 31-36 Abbey Drive and under 14-24 Limetree Walk.
- All obsolete flat entryphones have now been replaced.
- The 5-yearly landlord electrical testing has been carried out.
- After inconclusive results at 2-24 Limetree Walk, grilles have been fitted to air bricks at 1-71 St Benedicts Close to deter mouse entry.
- High level work was carried out at 1-11 Limetree Walk to prevent squirrel entry and may be done on other blocks with similar issues.
- After a large branch fell, additional safety work was carried out on small trees from the Estate reserve plus that planned.
- Work recommended by the health and safety inspection will be carried out.
- The Directors described possible requests to Wandsworth Council to move road signs and provide an extra one in Carlisle Way, also to erect Estate signs opposite the Carlisle Way and St Benedicts Close entrances. These would increase clarity and may reduce wrong deliveries. After discussion, the proposals were approved and the Directors were authorised to spend up to £1,000 on this.
- The Directors explained that there had been issues with groups of youths loitering on the Estate, especially in the summer. The Estate is crossed by rights of way so it is impossible to prevent access. A number of proposals had been suggested during the year and those present made further suggestions:
- A proposal for metal fencing by 17-27 Carlisle Way was discontinued.
- Private security guard patrols would be too expensive but it was suggested that patrols for a few days might be effective.
- CCTV was suggested but had previously been estimated to cost £25,000 so was unaffordable. The property manager and WHA rep advised it was ineffective.
- There were suggestions for police action.
- The Council previously refused action over motorbikes using Estate footpaths.
- Waste issues were discussed but no suggestions that had been investigated had proved feasible. Council lorries cannot take wheelie bins.
- It was explained what services houses pay for.
- The Directors agreed all suggestions except CCTV would be investigated. The CCTV proposal was rejected by 4 votes to 1.
- Mr Ravi Joshi and Mr Kevin Herrmann were willing to continue serving as Directors, there were no objections and no other volunteers.
- There was no other business.
Christmas and New Year
The Directors and Managing Agent wish all owners and residents a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.