PR Log - Feb 07, 2013 - VFM block property management agents recently completed project management of major repair works to balconies and balustrades at Ashwood Court in Beckenham, London Borough of Bromley. Ashwood is a purpose built block of flats constructed in the eighties with all twelve dwellings having feature balconies.
The development’s freehold property management company, which is collectively owned by the leaseholders, initially approached VFM following discovery of serious defects with the balcony balustrading. Metal stanchions and fixings supporting timber horizontal rails were showing signs of corrosion and were clearly in need of attention.
VFM were immediately instructed to investigate to determine the nature of the problem and the likely cause. A number of the balustrade stanchions were inspected where they protruded into the concrete slabs. Closer investigation revealed water ingress evident within the balcony slabs where rainwater had permeated the concrete, causing corrosion to the exposed steelwork below.
Based on these findings, the block management company decided to replace all twelve balcony balustrades in their entirety. A new, improved design configuration was agreed which met the client’s requirements and which would avoid the risk of the same problems eventuating in future years.
As a result of the significant expense involved, it was realised that remedials would be ‘qualifying works’ under Section 20 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. The necessary statutory consultation procedures were followed and extra time built in to VFM’s project programme to accommodate these property management services.
As a result of concerns over the structural integrity of the balcony slabs, a structural engineer was sourced and appointed by VFM on behalf of the property management company. This was to prove critical in the selection of fixings, steel sizing and loading strengths and would also guarantee that structural works had been carried out correctly.
The revised balustrading design changed the appearance of the building elevations requiring that local authority planning approval be obtained. Planning consultants were sourced and appointed by VFM, design drawings produced and an application duly submitted.
During the application process, VFM continued with the tendering process, fast tracking the programme to mitigate the effect of any delays.
As design developed, the scope of work was increased to incorporate installation of a waterproofing membrane to the balcony slabs to protect the concrete and to reduce the risk of recurring block management maintenance problems in future. A sloping screed base was to be laid under the asphalt to facilitate surface rainwater drainage.
The agreed scope of works therefore included balustrading replacement, screeding and ashphalt waterproofing of the balcony surface.
Competitive prices were obtained from suitably experienced contractors and Section 20 consultation measures subsequently finalised. This allowed a contract to be placed as soon as the planning application had received formal approval from Bromley Borough.
Under the watchful eye of VFM's estate property management team, the works were successfully completed within budget and on time. But not before the scope had been further increased by the management company to accommodate external decoration and roofing works.
A very satisfied property management client received all of the benefits to be expected of a full contractor warranty covering all works carried out. Importantly the client was also able to take advantage of the security and peace of mind provided by its professional consultants.who had given the works a clean bill of health.
For further details please visit VFM Property Management's website www.vfmproperty.com or contact us by telephone or e mail.
VFM Property Management are Chartered Surveyors, Regulated by RICS, members of ARMA and Ombudsman Services Property.