Draft Minutes of Meeting 11 April 2016:

Decent Homes Work

 

Draft meeting notes: Shannon Clarke,  Chair: Stephen Robinson
Colin, Iris, Michael Westbrook (LBL), Simon, x2 (Pitman House), Danny, Racheal and partner, Robert Ridyard
Vickie Yeardley, Nuala Walsh, Katherine (Deloraine), Gillian , Aldona, Mehmet
X, Sue Slade, Stephen Thompson, joe Orr, Andre  **Need sign in sheet to complete

Notes

Memorial to Miss Lee, who was killed in a traffic accident in February. Miss Lee was well known on the estate and was a big supporter of the TRA and she campaigned for a fence around Heald Street block. A rose has been planted in her honour.

 

Opening Statement from Gillian Lewis:

On behalf of the TRA Committee, Block Reps and many residents of the Tanners Hill Estate, I would like to read the following statement:

As the Decent Homes work on the Tanners Hill Estate draws to a close, on paper at least,  if not in the reality of work completed, or completed to a satisfactory standard,  we are concerned that there will be financial and practical implications in the future for residents, whether tenants or leaseholders, as a direct result of how Lewisham Homes have managed this DH contract.

The recent Update from LH was headed ‘Working with you’,  this is not our experience.

Over a year ago, on 12 March 15, in a meeting minuted by LH themselves, Cllr Paul Bell specifically requested that “no sign offs to take place until issues are resolved & actions taken (are) communicated back to residents. Why have the TRA reps not been notified 7 days prior to block sign offs as agreed at previous meetings?”  in spite of this, and after so many promises and assurances made by LH Management, just over 2 weeks after that meeting, on 1st April 2015, LH signed off the entire estate without even informing the TRA or residents that this had been done.

So many items of incomplete work had been brought to light by Block Reps at that 12 March meeting that 3 surgeries had been held on the 27th, 28th and 30th March – and as a result on the 29th April, AS emailed an update to the Chair of the TRA  stating:  “We are working our way through the issues raised at Tanners Hill. I am dealing with blocks of issues that I am hoping will reduce the number of issues outstanding. There are a lot to get through and it is going to take time, I do not want to underestimate the magnitude of this task,”   And yet all the time that this process was going on, LH had already signed off the entire estate.

6 weeks later on an inspection of 15th May, Barry, Heston Block Rep was verbally informed of the sign off, and subsequently, Nuala, a resident, informed the TRA committee by email

Following the surgeries, Cllrs Kennedy and Bell proposed a way forward, by creating a Final Snagging List compiled jointly by LH and the TRA.  But right from the start and over the last 9 months we have repeatedly found that incomplete work has been signed off by BG or LH, which we have challenged, and often succeeded in putting back on the list, stating that a comprehensive inspection was what was required.  Finally on 13th November we discovered in passing, in an email from Annelie, that all the snag items had been signed off on our inspection of 21 October and that only defects remained – even though we had pointed out on that inspection in the presence of the CW,  many items of incomplete work around the estate, some pre-dating the first sign off of April 15!

We believe that LH has simply relabelled many snag items as defects even though a defect is an issue or problem that arises after an item has been signed off as  genuinely satisfactory.

The Defect Liability Period of 1 year has therefore been used, in large part, to complete the snagging of unfinished or unsatisfactory work that was signed off in April 15, so, many elements of the work won’t have had a full year for defects to show up, some are still not complete and won’t have a DLP at all. This, along with numerous examples of well documented  poorly executed work, will have an impact on the future maintenance of the buildings, and a cost implication that will be borne by LH and the residents, if the Contractor is not held to account.

We feel that LH’s has demonstrated a lack of concern and support for their tenants and residents – why wouldn’t LH put the interests of it’s residents first, and hold MITIE to account?  Some residents have been completely ignored and abandoned to battle on their own to get help or recompense for damage done in their homes and to their property.  In the case of the operative stepping through a bedroom ceiling, the resident has had to endure outright lies, offensive remarks and ludicrous assertions from MITIE justifying their refusal to take responsibility for the damage and disruption, and the further damage caused by the atrocious work of their so called decorator.  Through it all there has been no contact, no interest, no inquiry or advice, no follow up, nothing from LH. The only contact from LH’s staff was when I as a block rep, persuaded MS and then MA to inspect at the end of an estate inspection, although nothing happened as a result of this.   We have had to repeatedly turn to our Cllrs for support and help, throughout the DH works.  We feel that it has been the TRA and Cllrs ‘working together’ to find solutions and ways to move forward.  Often we don’t even get a response to our emails.

In short, we no longer trust the inspection and monitoring process of LH and BG, we don’t believe that LH have held the Contractor to account to ensure that the DH work is completed, and completed to an acceptable standard.  We no longer have any confidence in the assurances, that LH management have given us, that work will be done properly, and not signed off without residents present, or if residents aren’t satisfied that the issues raised have been dealt with.

We feel that LH have not supported their residents, and will not support their residents in the remaining DH work,  or that we as residents, matter at all to you, the Housing Management Organisation, in this process.

In view of our exp we consider that we should sanction LH’s on their performance to date and ask the residents whether they wish to propose a vote of no-confidence in the management of the DH contract by LH?

End of Statement

The Chair proposed that a vote would be taken at the end of the meeting, which had a majority in agreement.

Sign off

SC: definitions of snag vs defect
Snagging items are pieces of work that are part of the original contract that are not complete at the conclusion of the main body of work. These items must be completed satisfactorily before a contract can be considered closed.
Defects are items of work that fail, break down, or are otherwise shown to be faulty after the end of the contract.
The line between snag and defect can sometimes be blurred, as in example given by X (Heston House).
MA: It’s not fair to say we don’t exist to service contractors or partners. We had many meetings with TRA about snags. We had walk-arounds with TRA and AS. We had no emails or Comms from residents that we have not yet dealt with. We have sent leaseholders letters to say we’re not happy with the management of the project and are reducing the bill for management.
We have NOT signed off the works. The defects are still ongoing.
SS: When will snags / defects be complete?

AS: End of April

MA: We will not paint all the walls in Florence Terrace again.

VY & CC: we have shown you photos of the faulty paintwork time and again. Painted over cello tape and dust.

MA: The work will be done to our standard.

AS: We’re allowing Mitie to redo the work that’s been flagged as faulty. If after that the work is not satisfactory, we’ll bring in another contractor.

AK: Agreed with GL’s opening statement. Things don’t get done. When the y do get done, the work is unsatisfactory. When the work is redone, it’s still unsatisfactory. This has been a merry-go-round of ‘putting things on a list.’ Stated she feels intensely frustrated, with this, and expects both residents and Lewisham Homes management do too. We need a point of contact and we need someone on the estate. We need a process for how to address issues that haven’t been fixed or have been fixed.
Aldona: on Tanner’s Hill we have private back gardens, which means cannot be part of inspections. Some things are addressed, but I’ve had people traipsing in and out and promising to correct the pointing on the back wall, but it’s never been fixed.
AS: I’ve given you my email and and phone for you to contact me if this was an issue. If you’re still experiencing an issue, then why haven’t you contacted me.
Aldona: I did. I’ve emailed you repeatedly. I’ve not had a response. I occasionally get enails from you, but not heard back.
SR: What’s your sla for responses to residents?
AS: I respond to mails within 3-5 working days.
Aldona: here’s a comprehensive email I sent to MW team on 12 March. I’ve had no response.
AS: Everyone on this estate is aware I’m the point of contact.
VY: If you’re no longer onsite, what time do you allocate to our estate per week?
AS: One day. Suggestion: email both MW team and me.
VY: Are we now in the snagging period or defect?
MA: Defects, except two specific items on Florence Terrace.
VY: Widopanning has never been satisfactory. There’s never been even a 6-month period in which it hasn’t failed.
MA: It’s on the snagging list.
VY: The snagging list?
MA: Yes.
VY: Not the defect list?
MA: Yes, the defect list.
NW: We’ve repeatedly tried to raise issues. ‘Annelie told me point blank, “well, you have no say in it.”‘
MA (on Widopan): We’re going through the defects. We’ve asked residents to bring issues to our attention.
AS: The Widopanning was done in its entirety. When we inspected, it was intact.
CC: Rubbish!
VY: it’s been done and failed and redone and failed and redone and failed and redone and failed and redone ad nauseum.
AK: let’s put aside issues of snag or defect. There’s no material difference.
GL: No! They are very different.
AK: suggest a Google spreadsheet where everybody can add items. That you as reps & councillors & MA & AS can add and amend
Catherine: Why are Mitie and Bailey Garner not here?
MA: I would have invited them, but I thought you wanted to address the issues with me. We hold final responsibility. If leaseholders aren’t satisfied, they’ll challenge the payments. We’re doing 100% audit.
NW: Ian Philips told us we wouldn’t be charged extra for scaffolding as it was a fixed price. Now we’re being told we won’t be charged extra for scaffolding. How generous!
AK: we will hold a drop-in surgery on Sunday 24/4 from
Andree: all across the borough I’m hearing the same thing. Shoddy work by substandard contractors. Defects and terrible works shouldn’t be picked up by residents , they should be picked up by your own inspections.
Eileen: I’ve bee in my flat for 50 years. Never had damp until this project.
Kat: what is a vote of no confidence? What does it mean? What are the implications?
MA: if I present something to you, you have the choice to accept or reject.
Action: I’ll undertake an LVT at our cost. It’s a binding court process.
GL: That sounds positive, but I don’t see how it can capture things that never had the benefit of a warranty period
VY: If we undertake an LVT we can do it collectively block by block. If you undertake it, will it go to the same degree of granularity?
MA: It will be for the whole estate, but it will go through everything line by line.
NW: When?
MA: Action: I will come back with a date.
Mehmet’s daughter: we got a note about changing the water tanks. It hasn’t been done.
MA: that’s a Section 20 notice. The work has not yet been done. You won’t be charged until after the work is done.

Catherine: What does a vote of no confidence mean?
GL: I just thought it was a show of hands to say we don’t have confidence.
RR: need to propose
GL: Proposed vote of no confidence in Lewisham Homes management ability to manage Decent Homes project
SS: Seconded
19 hands for no confidence
0 hands against
CC: Now what? If this were a private company someone would lose their job.
VY: As a leaseholder, taxpayer, and public sector employee, if a LVT is found in our favour, what happens to the costs.
MA: we take action against our contractors
NW: Once again, we need to see copy of contract with Bailey Garner and Mitie
MA: I’ve not seen that request
CC: we’ll resend, but please take this as our request.
VY: on last Florence Terrace walk-around the Bailey Garner reps showed a complete lack of respect. Stated he didn’t have to show iD. Tried to pretend they weren’t from Bailey Garner.
NW: Gill mentioned about items appearing on the Lewisham Homes BAU repairs list that should have been part of the snagging or defects list. Lewisham Homes shouldn’t be paying for these items, let alone me!
Action: NW to forward copies of the repairs list.
MA: Our contact centre may have routed a call incorrectly.
SR: we must now leave the building

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