Newly painted window sill covered in dirt

Week 30 of Contract S163: Dragging on to 9 months and leaseholders face a bill of nearly 9000 thousand pounds or more

If you are new to ‘Tales from Hanson Street’ you might like to read the back story here.

Meeting with CWH CEO Jonathan Cowie

Today’s blog is about a long-awaited meeting between myself, a neighbour who has lived in Hanson Street for much longer than I have, and City West Homes CEO Jonathan Cowie. What we Hanson Street residents wanted to do was:

  1. communicate our concerns and frustrations with the way CWH and Axis Europe have managed contract S163, and the impact that the delays have had on people living and working in Hanson Street
  2. establish what CEO Jonathan Cowie and his team are doing to prevent a repetition of the botched delivery of contract S163 elsewhere
  3. communicate our desire to shift from a transactional to a relational way of working with CWH staff.

Briefly, the outcomes of the meeting are that:

  • Mr Cowie has a better understanding (we hope) of the impact of badly managed contracts on residents
  • While there is little CWH can do to take away the pain of 9 months of building works, CWH have made changes to the way they negotiate and manage major contracts
  • Asked about the long term maintenance of the buildings, Mr Cowie said CWH could produce a 30 year maintenance plan for our block
  • We also asked for secure mail boxes, a tamper proof lock on the main door, and window boxes on the railings (We don’t expect CWH to maintain these – just to have them installed)
  • Mr Cowie invited us to be part of the process of changing the way CWH works with residents
  • My neighbour and I are encouraged by what Mr Cowie had to say about his plans for the future.

Nine months of works adds up to a bill of nearly £9,000 for leaseholders: even the estimated bills were wrong

The day after our meeting with Mr Cowie I received a new estimate bill from City West Homes for the ‘major works’ being carried out to my property. City West Homes say the reason why they did not total the costs correctly was that the template they were using ‘was corrupted’. My bill for the ‘major works’ is now nearly £9,000.00. Or, at the current rate of progress, £1000.00 per month. This amount is 50% more than predicted 5 years ago. Leaseholders whose flats have more than one bedroom will pay more.

Why was the scaffolding removed without residents being involved in the snagging process?

During the week beginning 30 November, the scaffolding was removed from two blocks of flats. Residents were not warned when the scaffolding was to be removed, windows were not glossed, and the holes that the scaffolders had made in the fragile brickwork were not filled. In answer to a specific question about the holes in the brickwork residents were assure by both City West and Axis that the holes would be filled by the scaffolders as they removed the scaffolding. Some filling of the holes using ladders has now taken place. There is still work to be done to the windows and sills.

What is the test of a well functioning sash window?

Some weeks ago the MD of Axis Europe told us that the test for a well functioning sash window was that it would be possible for an old lady to open it with one finger.

In the 30th week of Contract S163, my windows, and the windows in a number of my neighbours’ flats, do not pass that test.

In fact, the decorators have been using so much paint on their brushes that gloss paint is leaking inside my flat and the flat of my upstairs neighbour.

Needless to say it would be very difficult for an old lady to open our windows with her finger.

If you live in Hanson Street and your affected by contract S163 you might like to read this article in Fitzrovia News

To be continued…

Gloss paint with runs

A lovely example of how not apply gloss paint









  1. Pingback: Brief update on Contract S163 | Tales from Hanson Street W1
  2. Wycliffe · July 7, 2016

    Hello, I am very interested in the experiences you have had and the way you have dealt with them using the internet. I am a leaseholder in Churchill Gardens in Pimlico where we are having terrible problems with Axis and CWH. Totally incompetent service, communication and works.


    • EdKellow · July 7, 2016

      I’m afraid that I am not at all surprised. This blog helped to start a conversation with CWH and AXIS but – even though Jonathan Cowie came to visit – we are still left with a large bill for work that took far longer than it should and in some cases had to be done again and again to meet even basic standards.


      • MD · January 20, 2017

        Residents in my block kept diaries of when the workmen were actually on site – sometimes they were elsewhere when claiming to be working on our block! As a result the final bill was reduced by approx 50%. Worth keeping a note of all issues with photographs and resident diaries. A blog seems a great way of publicly sharing issues with all stakeholders. It also gives other blocks an idea of problems they may encounter and hopefully add pressure for a better service when there is so much evidence of poor workmanship, planning and communication.

        Liked by 1 person

      • EdKellow · January 21, 2017

        Congratulations! Shows what good teamwork can do!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s