Why are the works necessary?

  • 1. Why is there a need for these works to be carried out?

    Remedial work in Kingsway Gardens is essential in order to maintain the buildings in the long term.

    Certain parts of the building have reached the end of their life and work is required to repair concrete, wing walls, windows, fascias and soffits etc.

  • 2. Why haven’t you done something sooner?

    We undertake periodic repairs and general maintenance on all buildings in Kingsway Gardens.

    After a review of all five buildings the requirement for a programme of major works was identified which will ensure the buildings can be maintained for the long term.

    Work done now will mean less impact and lower costs to leaseholders in the future. 

  • 3. Couldn’t these costs be covered by Aster’s buildings insurance?

    No, our buildings insurance covers accidents only.

  • 4. How are these costs arrived at?

    We arranged for structural engineers to carry out extensive inspections and produce a specification to remedy the defects which had been identified.

    We used this specification to invite tenders for the works and these tenders are a reflection of the current market costs to address the defects identified.

  • 5. What is the total cost of the works?

    £3.4 million

  • 6. Is your preferred supplier the cheapest?

    Yes. Our preferred contractor has provided us with the lowest cost estimate.

  • 7. What is the 15% administration charge for?

    The total cost of the works, exclusive of VAT and management fees, is £3.4 million.

    We will be responsible for a proportion of these costs relating to the flats owned by us.

    The management fee covers the cost of our management of the programme of repairs. This is a large programme of works and requires a significant amount of resource and expertise from us to ensure the programme is successfully delivered on time, to the right standard and according to the agreed terms with the appointed contractor.

    The 15% is in accordance with the industry standard.

  • 8. What redress do I have if I dispute the works?

    We have made an application to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) which will enable leaseholders to raise any queries that they may have.

Work to be undertaken  

  • 1. When will the work start?

    Work started on Saxon Court in April 2017. This will be followed by Atholl Court, York Court, Tudor Court and Stuart Court

  • 2. How long will it take to undertake the work required?

    We expect the works to take between 12 – 16 weeks to complete each block and approximately 60 weeks to complete all work on all blocks.

  • 3. What works are included in the specification?

    The works in the schedule includes:

    • Concrete repairs
    • Wing wall replacement
    • Flat doors which are not current fire doors replaced
    • Balustrading to walkways and stairwells replaced
    • Replacement fascias and soffits (programmed to take place within five years)
    • Replacement rainwater goods
    • Complete redecoration
  • 4. Why are the concrete repairs necessary and what is a fairing coat?

    Following detailed investigation, it was found that the steel reinforcement used in the construction of your block is, in many places, only 10mm below the surface of the concrete. This is common in buildings constructed at the time your block was built.

    Because of this, the steel reinforcement is more susceptible to corrosion. Today, steel in reinforced concrete is normally located 40mm or so below the surface.

    The worst affected areas have already been repaired but some additional repairs are necessary. Once these repairs are completed, an additional protective coating, known as a fairing coat, will be applied to the concrete. The fairing coat provides an additional weatherproof coating over the existing concrete.

  • 5. Why are there works to the balustrading along walkways and stairwells?

    In order provide a complete solution for the building, we have identified that the balustrading will need to be repaired or, in some instances, replaced. While we may be able to refit some of the existing ones, we anticipate others will need to be replaced.

  • 6. What is being done to the wing walls?

    The wing walls are the walls that are formed between you and your neighbours balcony. During our investigations, we have identified that these areas may be contributing to moisture ingress through a combination of cold bridging and inadequate weather tightness. We have also identified the compression fill used in the construction of these walls has failed.

    To prevent this from re-occurring, we plan to remove the existing failed compression fill and rebuild the wing walls incorporating modern compressive materials. We also plan to improve the weather tightness of the walls by providing additional protection.

  • 7. The balconies and walkways need repairing, are you going to replace the asphalt?

    We do not plan to replace all of the asphalt found on the balconies and walkways. We have sought independent, specialist advice to determine what work needs to be done. The specialists have recommended that we use a proprietary liquid coating rather than replace all of the asphalt. Replacing the asphalt would be a more expensive option.

    The product that we plan to use has been designed specifically for this type of work. It comes with a 30 year product guarantee and is considerably cheaper and easier to install than replacement asphalt.

    However, where the asphalt is damaged and beyond economic repair, it will need to be replaced.

  • 8. What is happening to the gutter and downpipes?

    During our investigations, we have come to the conclusion that all of the rainwater goods have now come to the end of their original design life.

    Over the last few years, we have carried out a lot of repairs as well as replacing most of the joints. We intend to replace the gutters and downpipes and when doing so will take advantage of modern materials and construction detailing.

  • 9. Are you doing any repointing?

    Yes. Over the last few decades, the cement mortar used in the construction of the masonry walls has weathered. Exposure to the elements over a prolonged period of time means that the brickwork now needs to be repointed. This will help to keep the building wind and water tight in the years to come.

  • 10. You have already removed some of the cavity insulation why was that, and are you going to do any more?

    During periods of extreme weather, particularly during the winter of 2013, wind driven rain entered the fabric of the building. As a consequence, the polystyrene beads used as cavity insulation allowed the rain water to migrate across the cavity into interior walls.

    We believe the cavity insulation also acted like a sponge, retaining moisture within the cavity. Therefore, there was little opportunity for the cavity material to dry out in-situ and, as a consequence, we made the decision to remove the material. As a result, we have seen a marked improvement in moisture readings across all blocks.

    We continued to monitor the moisture readings over the preceeding six months and have considered a range of options aimed at replacing the cavity insulation and improving the thermal efficiency of the buildings.

  • 11. What does the stairwell weather protection mean?

    Rain has been blowing onto the walkways and running down the stairs making the stairs slippery. In a few places there are glazed screens reducing the amount of rain being blown into these areas. We intend putting some more of these screens up.

  • 12. What are you doing to the stair treads and walkways?

    The anti-slip plates on the stairs and some of the walkways are wearing out. We have already replaced some of them, and we will be replacing the others. This, along with the screens should solve the problem.

  • 13. What are you doing to the windows and patio doors?

    The ones that were fitted at the time of the conversion are close to the end of their original design life and are due for replacement. It is the landlord’s responsibility to replace these.

    Rather than replacing them in a couple of years’ time, it makes sense and is more cost effective to replace them now when the other major works are being done. In addition, it is possible that some patio doors will need to be removed as part of the other works being undertaken. Rather than refit a door that will be replaced very soon anyway, it will be far more cost effective to fit a new one now.

  • 14. How do we know the repairs will work?

    As many of you know, we have been investigating the problems with these buildings for some time. During that period, we have looked at all reported issues, some of which whilst having the same symptoms were discovered to have different causes.

    In the process of our investigations we have considered a wide range of symptoms and associated solutions. We have monitored the buildings over a considerable period of time and have worked closely with our independent construction

    We believe the technical solutions to be carried out will resolve the issues at Kingsway Gardens.

Payment arrangements

First Tier Tribunal

  • 1. What redress do I have if I dispute the works?

    We have made an application to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) which will enable leaseholders to raise any queries that they may have.

  • 2. Why have you submitted an application to the court for a First Tier Tribunal?

    The purpose of the legal application is to ensure complete transparency by having an independent and expert panel examine what we are doing and the charges we are proposing.

    The outcome of the First Tier Tribunal will determine if the planned works are firstly necessary and reasonable and secondly if the estimated costs are reasonable and comparable to the work required.

    The application to the Tribunal provides a single forum for homeowners to challenge and raise any issues and is the most efficient and transparent way for us to proceed