Published: 27 October 2020
We are writing to update you regarding the situation with the Freeholder's application to the Building Safety Fund to remediate the cladding.
Your Residents’ Association has been working hard speaking to local politicians, solicitors, the Building Safety Fund, Leasehold Knowledge, the Greater London Authority, the fire brigade, the government's LEASE service, etc., and there are several concerns we are flagging for your attention.
We have put below the most recent Residents’ Association Cladding Update. See documents below.
Please take the time to review the potential risks to leaseholders – they are significant.
If you haven't already, please also join the Residents’ Association – the more members the SDSRA has, the more clout we will have in front of a Tribunal, and when dealing with the Freeholder (FM PLC) and FirstPort. You can apply for membership at: https://membermojo.co.uk/sdsra
Published: 11 September 2020
I am pleased to announce that after unceasing and fantastic efforts by all the Firstport Management and Compliance Teams we have secured EWS1 certificates for all the apartment blocks at Lockes Wharf.
Further information will be posted on our YPO website when it becomes available. So please log on or sign up if you have not already done so at https://myaccount.firstport.co.uk/
If you wish a copy of the EWS1 Certificate relation to your block please email me and I will provide you with a copy. This can be provided to your lenders for the purposes of buying and selling here at Lockes Wharf.
I’m sure that this will be great news to all leaseholders.
Lockes Wharf Development Manager
Published: 13 June 2020
Please find below the latest email from First Port's safety advisor (please note this is not within Robert's mandate). It is encouraging, as it suggests that the freeholder has already applied for the government's remediation fund (I've asked for confirmation of this). There is also a note about the leaseholders covering the costs, but if the FH receive funding from the government, this should not be an issue. I think we should wait to see what happens with the government funding; I'm hopeful that it's approved and that there are no costs to be covered.
- Mitigation in not a requirement as building is classified as safe. However, we need to remediate the materials at the top of the building. We are defining mitigation in the way of a fire watch not being necessary.
- We a referring to the cladding at the top of the building(s) and the insulation behind the exterior.
- Whilst the materials at the top of the building do not allow us to gain the EWS1, they haven’t been deemed high in combustibility. We do sympathise with the situation residents find themselves in financially. As an agent, we are doing all we can to liaise with developers and freeholders before resorting to call upon leaseholders to fund recommended actions set out by the Government, in the interests of fire safety. Whilst the government advice is that developer and freeholders should be called upon to take action, legally these tasks are service charge items for which the leaseholders are ultimately liable for
- The freeholder has advised us that they are taking the registration process forward and we believe they have done this already.
Published: 13 June 2020
Please see below the reply I had to my letter to Chris Cahill, First Port's buildings safety advisor.
Some good news - it's clear that they intend to file for the government's fund to cover the cladding costs.
Some bad news - it would seem that the freeholder expects the leaseholders to cover any costs not covered by the government's fund. On a positive note, these should be very minimal if the government covers the cladding remediation.
Some disappointing news - FP did not respond to my request for them to disclose the safety results of the cladding.
Thank you for your patience. I am writing to provide you with the latest.
We understand that the lack of movement will have been frustrating for you but would like to reassure you that we have been working in your interests to establish the best next steps in this process.
As you may be aware the Government’s funding registration process for the remediation of external wall systems that do not meet acceptable standards opened from the 1st June. This is a registration process and it is important that any building 18 meters and above that might not meet acceptable standards is submitted. We are working with your freeholder to ensure your development is registered and therefore considered for the funding should remediation be required. We will keep you updated as and when we hear from Government but please be aware that the window for registration is open until 31st July so we expect to hear from them after that.
In the meantime, we have all of the information around the insulation used behind the render on the building and understand what requirements are need to remediate the building, a specification is still needed for costs and exact requirements but we are aware that no mitigation is needed. We can utilise the intrusive survey for Dominion House which will ensure costs are reduced and put towards the remediation stage.
We have completed a review of the service charge and are satisfied that should any interim safety measures be required, there are sufficient funds available for us to be able to act quickly if necessary.
To clarify, the next steps towards obtaining an EWS1 will be to register your building for the Government remediation funding and request a specification for the works.
Please be reassured we do understand the urgency of your request and will provide further updates within the next four weeks. We are acting in your best interests and your safety is paramount to us.
Published: 4 June 2020
I wrote to Chris Cahill (safety head for First Port) on May 28th regarding the cladding issues. He has come back to me today to acknowledge the receipt of my email and to say that they will come back to me. As soon as I have a response, I'll post it. My suggestion is that we wait for a response (perhaps another week?) before giving a firm deadline for the freeholder to apply to the fund before we propose to complete the Leaseholder Feedback Form.
In the meantime, I also understand that tests are being done on a building that was done mid way through the development and at the end of the development. The build took years, so this is being done to ensure that the cladding composition was the same throughout the development. I think this makes sense. I don't know the timing for these tests, but this is something that I asked in my email to Chris.
Published: 2 June 2020
I spoke to a lawyer who specialises in cladding issues yesterday. Here are the main points from our conversation:
Release of Information Regarding Fire Safety of Building
There is no legislation that requires the freeholder to release this information to us, although the freeholder has a 'duty of care' to its leaseholders.
I spoke with the TH Council - the developer's building application did not include specifics on the cladding (this was not a requirement then). In addition, freeholders are not required to file the details of any fire surveys they have done privately.
This fund covers the costs associated with remediating the cladding.
The letter from First Port is inaccurate. Leaseholders CANNOT apply for funding. This needs to be done by the FREEHOLDER. The deadline for applications to this fund is July 31st, so it is imperative that First Port files before then.
The solicitor advises that we focus first on getting FP to apply for the government's fund and also make clear that we reject FP's assumption that the leaseholders will pay for this (in accordance with the government's guidance).
If FP does not come back to us with a timeline for the testing and remediation, we are able to complete a Leaseholder Feedback Form which notifies the government of FP's inaction.
On Thursday last week, I sent an email to FP asking for disclosure of the test results, a deadline for them to apply to the fund and a rejection of their assumption of the leaseholder's financial liability. If I haven't heard back by the end of the week, I suggest that I follow it up with a registered letter and an intent to file the Leaseholder Feedback Form. At this point, it would be helpful if other residents could also write in.
I'd appreciate any suggestions/ideas to help move things along.
Published: 2 June 2020
This page was created so SDS leaseholders with three aims:
- Have First Port disclose the results of the fire survey
- Have First Port/the freeholder (Crosspite Ltd) apply to the government fund by the July 31st deadline so that costs are covered by the government.
- Ensure that the freeholder follows government guidance and DOES NOT attempt to pass costs on to leaseholders.