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:
- 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
- establish what CEO Jonathan Cowie and his team are doing to prevent a repetition of the botched delivery of contract S163 elsewhere
- 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…