Bentley Wharf multiple scaffolding works Bentley Wharf multiple scaffolding works

Principle quickly resolves unsafe communal windows at Black Country apartment block

When residents at a Black Country apartment block reported unsafe window frames on their communal stairs, Principle Estate Management sprang into action.

The problems arose at the Bentley Wharf development in Short Heath, Willenhall, and were more challenging due to the age of the development, as there was a lack of any warranty on the faulty windows.

But Andrew Winstanley, a senior associate director at Principle who heads the firm’s property management operations, explained how this hurdle was quickly tackled.

Mr Winstanley said: “When these unsafe window frames were reported to our team by customers, we promptly dispatched contractors to assess the situation.

“Under the supervision of our building surveyors, contractors quickly made the area safe with temporary boarding, before confirming that the window installation across the stairways in all blocks was unsafe and that a full replacement was needed.

“At this stage, we established that there was no live building warranty with the developer, and that the cost would therefore fall on the block’s service charge funds.

“We issued clear communications to all customers explaining what was going on and our plans to resolve the issue.

“We also commenced the necessary consultation under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (S20) with leaseholders, which is always necessary when major works are planned.

“Because the works were a priority, we applied for a dispensation from the need to consult from the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) at the same time, allowing us to speed up the process.

“This meant that tenders could be sought from contractors, including one nominated by leaseholders, during the S20 consultation, which was soon completed.

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“Funds were already in place as Principle had built up reserves in previous years to support major works, including emergency situations such as this, supported by long-term maintenance plans from our in-house building surveying team.

“The local contractor nominated by leaseholders and assessed through Principle’s accreditation process was awarded the contract and instructed on what was needed.

“We told all leaseholders about the start date, duration and logistics to be aware of, and the windows were successfully replaced within the stated timeframes without any issues.”

Richard Coles, associate director at Principle and one of the firm’s senior surveyors, explained that his building surveying team managed the project.

Mr Coles said: “We worked closely with the contractor to ensure the work completed to specification on budget and on time.

“Due to the nature of the works, it was crucial that all health and safety matters were adhered to at all times.”

Following completion of the project, Principle received lots of positive feedback from its customers.

One said: “I’ve just returned from holiday and what a lovely sight to return to! The stair windows look great and at last it feels lovely to live here, so a big thank you!”

Principle, with headquarters in Birmingham and an office in London, has more than 65 staff looking after a portfolio of more than 12,000 units at around 375 developments across the UK.

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