As blocks on our estates go through major renovation works (sometimes referred to as a capital works programme) or the Council embarks on infill building works, the CTRA will aim to provide information and support for all residents affected.
Ultimately decisions about the works lie with the freeholder – London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the ALMO – Tower Hamlets Homes. However residents and leaseholders have a voice and collectively should be able to influence decisions.
We recommend, at the earliest opportunity, that blocks (or groups of blocks) about to undergo major works organise a meeting for all residents to discuss the project and look after everyone’s interests. A meeting will enable residents to:
- Set up a preferred method of communication to share information throughout the project such as email or WhatsApp group
- Decide whether to elect a recognised steering committee
- Ensure everyone is in receipt of all the information and what if any additional information you would like to request from THH about the project such as the independent Block Condition Survey and Fire Risk Assessment - Find your block fire risk assessment here [N.B. THH are duty bound to follow the advice of the fire risk assessment]
- Share historical information about the block itself that may help inform decisions (some residents may have lived in the block since it opened, their knowledge can be invaluable)
- Decide if or not you wish to collectively engage professional support such as a surveyor and or lawyer
- Agree your own priorities for the works such as whether to you want to urge THH to retain period features and or chose new materials that are in keeping with the age of the building
- Understand what, of the works planned require planning permission
Residents should also request to know who will be their dedicated THH project manager, leaseholder services representative and contractor are.
We recommend that all residents going through a major works programme on their property keeps any and all communications and information sent by both Tower Hamlets Homes and the contractor working on their building for the duration of the project and beyond. We also highly recommend that residents communicate with Tower Hamlets in writing to ensure they have these communications to refer back to. A major works can be a lengthy process and it is important to have any and all information to refer back to in the event of a problem with the works.
We also recommend residents take photographs of their blocks before works start to ensure they have a record of the state of the building to refer back to if needed.
New Front Doors: In line with fire safety standards Tower Hamlets Homes has elected to replace front doors on flats undergoing major works. All council tenants will have their doors replaced with fire safe doors as a matter of course.
Leaseholders with front doors that open into internal communal areas e.g. block stairwells, have a responsibility to ensure their doors and frames (including fan lights) are certified 30 minutes fire and smoke resistant. For this reason we encourage those installing new doors to retain all paperwork certifying fire safety rating of their new door so that they can produce it, if asked. Those with doors that open directly onto a road or walkway are not required to have a fire safety certified door, though the TRA recommends that they do.
Leaseholders will have the option to have their doors replaced at the same time as tenants by a major works contractor at their own cost if they so wish. Any warranty for those doors will be the responsibility of the contractor, not THH. Leaseholders not wishing to use the main contractor to replace their door with the Tower Hamlets Homes chosen door may be asked to produce a fire safety certificate to prove their door is fire safe.
The doors THH has elected to use can be found on this brochure. We recommend that resident steering groups work with THH to choose the best door for their blocks.
If you receive notification that your block is about to go through a major works, contact us so that we can monitor the situation, keep a record of progress and provide support where we can. We may also be able to put residents in touch with other CTRA members who have already been through a major works.
Current major works and building projects on Columbia Estates:
Baroness Road Development - An infill building project to provide 20 affordable new flats on the former Baroness Road car park. Started November 2018, estimated 17 month project.
Major Works - Old Market Square, Pelter Street (Odds) and Hackney Road blocks - Renovation works to renovate, structural concrete, roofing, windows, external paint and brickwork and internal communal spaces. Started February 2019, estimated six month project.
Major Works - Sivill House - Renovation works to renovate, structural concrete, roofing, windows, brickwork and internal communal spaces. Estimated to commence in early summer 2019.
Major Works - Pelter Street (Evens) and Baroness Road blocks - Renovation works to renovate, structural concrete, roofing, windows, external paint and brickwork and internal communal spaces. Start date to be confirmed.