Hallfield Estate repairs fiasco

Hallfield

The famous Hallfield Estate in Bayswater is at the centre of a major bust up between Westminster Council and the contractors, Mulalley’s. The estate is a highly regarded listed estate of 14 housing blocks built in the 1950s and designed by Lasdun and Drake. The Council has a history of neglect of this fine estate but in May 2012, the Council agreed a contract with Mulalley’s for the renovation of all the housing blocks.

Now a report to Councillors in December 2013 says;

“External repairs and window replacements have been underway on the Hallfield Estate since May 2012 but progress has been exceedingly slow. Whereas completion of works to all 14 blocks was originally expected to take 127 weeks, works are only partially complete to 3 blocks after 85 weeks. Residents have regularly complained about the quality of work.”

During 2012 and early in 2013 a number of problems began to appear:

• Listed building consent was refused for kitchen and bathroom windows
• Electrical conduits buried in cement were failing earthing tests
• New floors were short of specification
• Failure to commit to proper manning levels to fulfil tasks

All this has culminated with furious residents complaining that, yet again, the Council has failed to carry out repairs and maintenance at professional levels. The Council has now agreed a compromise agreement with Mulalley’s to end the contract. The Council report says;

“Of the options available to the City Council for completion of major works to Hallfield Estate an early mutual termination of the existing contract appears most favourable.”

Councillor Guthrie McKie, Labour spokesperson for Housing, says;

“What a shambles. How on earth could this happen with all the checks and balances that one would expect in a contract of this type. At the very start the Council should have appointed its own Manager to oversee the contract on a daily basis. The management and overseeing of the contract should have been given the highest priority so that problems could have been resolved as soon as they appeared. Hallfield residents are entitled to an explanation by the Council on why they allowed this contract to deteriorate to this level of incompetence.”

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8 Responses to Hallfield Estate repairs fiasco

  1. Terry Ward says:

    The failure of the lighting on Hallfield estate comes as no surprise to me
    The cabling to the communal lighting was the original from when the blocks were built in the 1950’s , all communal electrical supplies to the blocks were deemed at the end of their useful life in 1998 by Westminster City Council yet only half the lateral mains cabling has been changed and none of the lighting cabling
    Despite the above CityWest Homes commissioned a survey of the communal electricity for Hallfield estate in 2011, the contractor stated that everything was O.K. and did not need re-testing for 5 years, also CityWest Homes charge thousands of pounds each year for electrical planned preventative maintenance on Hallfield estate (last financial year it was approx. £60,000)

  2. Tanya Cumming says:

    As residents we have pointed out faults with the work during the last 18 month, sadly we have not been listen to. This leaves us with a block looking like it’s been decorated by children with work only half done.

  3. James Holyfield says:

    James Holyfield says:

    Back in November 2012 I made a formal complaint to City West Homes by following their complaints procedure. This resulted in a review meeting on 26th February 2013. I also wrote to the Housing Ombudsman and English Heritage. Despite these efforts, nothing improved. City West Homes have simply not managed the project, even though a management fee payable to them will be included in our final bills. They could have for example, appointed a responsible officer to make sure the contractor carried out their duties effectively and in accordance with the contract. The responsible officer could have been accountable to a steering group made up of representatives from all the interested parties involved, including residents. A few safeguards like these could have helped keep the project on the rails.

    The lack of communication is and and has been appalling!! We now need to know

    1. who is responsible for this mess
    2. how the compromise agreement will affect the project going forward
    3. what is going on and what is happening
    4. when can expect to see the project finished
    3. how we will be compensated.

  4. Yvonne Turkistanli says:

    All the above comments are very familiar to us at York Mansions near Baker Street. Our Major Works project was supposed to begin in 2011; we are now in 2014. We have only just been sent the Section 20: Estimate of Costs. My bill is for nearly £19,000 and yet we can only see a copy of the estimate at CWH offices between 9.30am-4.30pm. One of us went yesterday to see it and was told it wasn’t available! This is typical. I have asked who is paying for all the time wasted over 3 years so far on this project – apparently Westminster Council ie you taxpayers. This company is a shambles and should be looked into but as you have said NOBODY LISTENS. I also went through the complaints procedure, contacted our local Councillor [since sacked] and absolutely nothing happens. What’s to be done?

    • I will make enquiries about this

      • Yvonne Turkistanli says:

        Thank you. We have now been told that CWH are sending us copies of the estimate for the Major Works and a breakdown of the management/professional fees. We have been through this process twice before and each time we have to ask for copies of these estimates. CWH simply don’t change. It really is time they started running a professional service. However, I would still like to know how CWH are going to show all the time taken for meetings, surveys (4 of the roof) etc over the past three years in their accounts. I have asked for this information on several occasions and went through the complaints procedure to get an answer to this question but I am just told “you will not be charged”. But someone will have to pay for the fiasco that this Major Works project has been and, if it is the taxpayer, someone should be made accountable.

        Another topic which I am particularly worried about is the rumour that the government is going to do away with the 90 day short lets ban. CWH say they take this seriously but then, when you give them evidence, they say there is nothing they can do about it as the landlord says he/she didn’t know even though to do short lets is against the terms of our lease. Again, we feel completely powerless and the law is an ass. This is a problem that affects many blocks and the actual residents who live in the flats and who care about their homes are becoming demoralised because of the lack of action by CWH on this.

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