Re cladding

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Taipan71
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Re cladding

Post by Taipan71 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:34 pm

After receiving the email on Friday about the recladding I am utterly dumbfounded. The level of incompetence Is very surprising.
Why did the surveyors only get 2 quotes? Have they tried abroad? There are a lot of companies that do this sort of work. At least 8 quotes should have been procured . It's not like they haven't had enough time. There is no way people can pay . The mortgage companies just won't lend it. How has it doubled in 2 years?? So they are going to spend months trying to cut costs. That will mean no tinted windows for a start and Wellington Close will look just as shocking as it does now!
I personally think we need a meeting now! If the board won't do this I will do my best to call an extraordinary general meeting.
There are other things to discuss too. GCS are absolutely useless. They never respond to calls, emails or ever visit the estate to have a look around. Why are we paying a company to do sweet FA when all we really need is an accountant?
There are abandoned cars on site that have been warned but GCS won't do anything about them. It's not like we haven't got a parking problem is it?
Last edited by Taipan71 on Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Al D
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Al D » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:14 pm

Taipan - GCS aren't asking people to pay the figures said in the email. The figures have been revealed because every leaseholder has the right to know what the result of the tender process was - and in this case it was so unaffordable that the surveyor is having to work a bit harder to make the project affordable. There is no question that that is the final price as, for one thing, we know at that level that too many leaseholders will be unable to pay for it, meaning the project could never happen anyway.

There are currently two main options the surveyor is pursuing to cut the costs, one of which is already looking promising (we only got the results on July 18). It'll take a few weeks to know where we are with both so these will be discussed at the meeting on September 8.

Regarding the meeting - it takes a minimum of 3 weeks to call an EGM and GCS has already booked a meeting for 5 weeks time (September 8 ). One could have been booked for August but several leaseholders are on their holidays in July and August.

Regarding looking abroad - we keep asking the surveyor about this but keep getting the same answer - it's a much bigger risk because of language differences and H&S differences, and accommodation costs for staff could make any price changes negligible.

Of the 8 quotes - Adair selected 8 but decided to eliminate 3 as they weren't good enough. One of those three has since gone bust and another was invited to tender when one of the five finalists pulled out, so actually only one of those eight was rejected.

Why has the price doubled in 4 years? It hasn't really - the problem is that the contractors that we knew who could do the whole project in-house at an affordable price all chose not to submit a tender for various reasons. But that doesn't mean the prices wont come down, it just means the surveyor needs a few days to try and sort it out.

Tinted windows - Getting the tinting is not expensive, just a few hundred quid per flat. The issue with it is whether the tribunal will allow it (it's not essential maintenance). It certainly isn't the reason why the quotes are so high. The management company could still pay for it out of its reserve fund anyway.

Issues with GCS - for the amount we pay them (about £20K a year) I think we get a very good service, and far better than Huggins, Edwards and Sharp who never did anything. The problem with the abandoned cars is that we've been waiting for ages for the DVLA to give us the authority to have them scrapped (and then we have to pay for them to be removed).
Last edited by Al D on Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Taipan71
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Taipan71 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:16 pm

Al
The surveyors have had a long time to get this sorted and when they turned down 3 people they should have found 3 more. It's not hard once you have a tender document. If it's the case about foreign companies let us see a tender so that we are not just relying on the surveyors say so. I've been in the building trade most of my life and have dealt with a lot of foreign contractors and haven't once had a problem with language because funnily enough they all speak English. There are more and more German and Polish contractors working on large projects in this country. If we get tenders and they are too expensive then fine but let's see.
Regarding GCS, you say they are doing a good job. As previously stated I do not agree. They never return calls or emails and are pretty rude on the phone. I have had to call them twice in 2 weeks and each time I was told I would be called back. Nothing! I really don't see what they do apart from the accounts which an accountant could do. Everything else could be done in house
abelard
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Re: Re cladding

Post by abelard » Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:56 am

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Last edited by abelard on Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
abell080
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Re: Re cladding

Post by abell080 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:01 am

I would like to put my 2 pennyworth in as others have responded to the email sent out with the revised figures.

I spoke to GCS about a month ago & told them that their timescale for advising costs in July & collecting monies in October was naive in the extreme, I was told I'd had long enough to sort my finance & they would have no hesitation in enforcing payment.

The arrogance & obvious non-communication with the surveyors just about sums up their total un-professional conduct & the under-estimation of the figures is laughable if it wasn't so serious.

I have always been of the opinion that no lender would lend until the works are completed & the loan to value was justified by the new value but we were told to make enquiries & organise the finance.

So, after doing as we're told we now have to tell our lenders we got it wrong, we need more money but we don't know how much & when - priceless !!!!!!!!!

I for one can't see this happening ever.

As an aside, their insistance that they would force me to sell if I don't comply is somewhat diminished if they can't even get a car removed from the car park.
Al D
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Al D » Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:59 pm

Taipan

I'm sorry if you're not getting a good response from GCS - have you tried Gene Dixon, who is the designated Wellington Close contact? I do think when they're between property managers for Wellington Close they can be slow to react, but Gene's been very good since she joined a few months ago. Her email is gene.dixon@gcsproperty.com

I think you're being a bit harsh on GCS though. They do far more than just the accounts - they manage every supplier / contract we have (nearly £200K-worth a year) from the caretakers and the gardeners to all emergency maintenance and all insurances etc we have on the estate. They also deal with enquiries from 132 leaseholders and about 100 tenants, which can equate to several calls a day, negotiate contracts with the phone mast companies, run the cupboard and flat 119 rental, provide out of hours phone service etc and have provided office space and attended all meetings about the recladding project (several a month for many months now) and have provided binding legal advice. That's all for less than one person's salary - my brother has a different managing agent for his flat in London and his estate pays them about £70K a year.. And he thinks they're rubbish too.

Anyway, criticism of GCS might detract from the main issue of the recladding. I hope we can get the surveyor, Adair, to attend some of the September 8 meeting, partly so they can answer some of your questions but also because it would be nice for them to see from leaseholders how unaffordable the project is at certain prices, rather than just take the directors' word for it.

Abelard - dont get me wrong, I'm very disappointed with the tender results. I think the surveyor has questions to answer as to why only 2 firms submitted a tender. Fair enough that contractors dont want the risk associated with old and occupied buildings, but it still seems a poor show to me to get just 2 quotes after months of talking to those companies.

Abell - you say it was naive in the extreme to ask for money in October when the figure would have only been known in July, but what else could we do?

The tenders are binding for 6 months - the plan was we get them in mid July and the contractor agrees to honour their side of it by the last possible date: mid January. We thought the fairest thing to do given that tight timeframe was give about 7 weeks notice of what the cost will be, then 5 weeks to pay, and then about 3 months to collect any money that hadn't been paid via a debt collector (remember the contractors all said they would not start work until all the money was in place). There is no question that if we don't have all the money in place within 6 months of getting the tender then the price will go up - how do you get round that without giving strict and tight timeframes?

As for the underestimation of the figures - two contractors wrote to Adair in April saying they believed the cost would be £37K to £40K per flat. The frustrating thing is that both of them failed to then submit a tender. I dont see how you can blame GCS for that - maybe Adair though for not realising that these companies weren't serious about bidding?

By the way, while this is all clearly disappointing, it's not just the tender figures that have rocketed lately. At the start of this year the estate agents were saying the value of the flats would go up to £225K when the work is done, by May it was about £250K, in June it was about £270K and Martin Flashman said last week that the top floor flats will fetch more than £300K when the work is done. I've been told as well that a leaseholder received an offer of £220K from an investor to buy a flat a couple of weeks ago, and that in June two flats sold for more than £200K. Food for thought.
Taipan71
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Taipan71 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:15 am

How much have we paid to the surveyors so far? Do the tender documents belong to us or them? If it's us then we should find some surveyors that are on the ball. Personally I would prefer this option even if it costs us more money. We all want this work done and at the moment I can't see it happening. I've jumped through hoops to get this money sorted out for October and now it seems I've completely wasted my time!
This has been going on for years and when we finally see things moving it collapses due to incompetence .
Why wait until the meeting? The directors should be asking these questions of Adaire NOW!

I broke my door key a couple of weeks ago and after talking to GCS on the phone AND emailing, I received an email back 6 days later with instructions how to get a new key with a £10 uplift for GCS. I had to ring random buzzers to get in for that time. In my eyes something like that is pretty urgent and I shouldn't have to wait so long.
It is Gene that I am talking about Al. I have emailed about 2 other things with no response whatsoever. To be honest I don't care what they get charged in London, I want a good service where I live.
Taipan71
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Taipan71 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:20 am

Oh and when Gene was on holiday there was no one else there to deal with problems at Wellington Close. Very professional
Al D
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Al D » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:20 pm

We've paid about £70K to Adair so far, nearly half of the total they are due to get from us. The tenders do belong to us.

GCS have had daily contact with Adair since the tenders came through. As I said earlier, there are some promising developments already and we should know a lot more within the next 10 days (I cant be any more detailed than that because we will hopefully have a new tender process to go through).

I'm sorry about the money - it's exactly the same for me. I had set aside £40K to be available by this September, and I've now wasted my time (and money) doing this.

I'll send a link to this thread to Gene - 6 days wait for a response re a broken front door key is clearly unacceptable.
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Re: Re cladding

Post by mrmanunited2 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:00 am

Hi Al D
Are there any updates to this, like you im still disappointed but we're totally in the dark and would love more info on how this situation came about and how things seem so far from what we were expecting

It makes it harder as we have no official information and no one is keeping us updated with what is going on and what solutions or have they hope to remedy the cladding issues

Anything you could tell us would be great, thanks
Al D
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Al D » Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:22 pm

Hopefully there will be a short update issued next week.

Since the tender the surveyor has met with several contractors - the feedback has been that one of the main reasons they didn't bid was because we added too much to the specification (ie the roofs and ventilators need replacing) and they only wanted to work on the curtain wall.

As a director I'd be the first to admit that we were naive to add these to the project without realising it would put off some contractors. Albeit we have a consultant and a surveyor who both advised us to do this as it would keep costs down.

So we're looking to get separate contractors - one for the curtain wall, one for the roofs etc. Already one major contractor has said they will be prepared to do the curtain wall on that basis (that should be nearly 90% of the cost of the whole project) and we should have a price by the AGM on September 8.

The contractors have also said Wellington Close is less desirable to work on than 4 years ago because they're very busy with orders on empty buildings, but there's nothing we can do about that.
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Re: Re cladding

Post by Al D » Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:26 am

Couple of updates about the recladding mrmanunited - there will obviously be far more about this at the AGM.

Our surveyor had several discussions with one of the main contractors that failed to put in a tender to find out why, and agreed to modify the spec slightly so that they would (ie we agreed to take the roofs and balconies out and do them separately). The contractor agreed and submitted a guide price. This was a contractor that had given a guide price of £35k a flat in 2010 and about £40k a flat this April.

The new price was much lower than the official tenders we received a few weeks ago, but, unfortunately, still above the prices mentioned above.

The surveyor has gone to a second contractor in a very similar scenario (one that gave a guide price of £30k per flat in 2010) and we're waiting for a guide price.

Better news: The surveyor has also had detailed discussions with the companies that did officially quote for the work about what can be done to make it affordable. They have found a number of savings: particularly replacing the curtain wall rain screen coating with insulated render can reduce the overall cost by hundreds of thousands of pounds and bring the project's cost down to a more affordable price.

And GCS has also spent the last few weeks exploring ways to cut the bills for every leaseholder - nothing is set in stone yet, but there is potentially very good news re VAT and asset sales that will be discussed at the AGM.

The obvious two questions are 1. why has the price gone up and 2. why did only two companies tender?

The two answers are completely interlinked but it seems to me that the main answers are:

1. - Whether it was the old board's figure of £80k per flat in 2008 or the new one's figure of £30k per flat in 2010, it was a simply a guide price (albeit a detailed one) drawn up between a consultant for Wellington Close and an employee of a contractor who was hoping to win the contract.

It wasn't until this summer that for the first time ever that we actually got official quotes from the contractors that their boards of directors had overseen, amended and approved. No doubt the price of materials, VAT etc have gone up, but even though three separate companies gave very similar guide prices, they simply didn't mean much until the prices became binding quotes. And one of the main reasons why is:

2. There is just so much work available for contractors at the moment that occupied building refurbishment projects are not an attractive proposition - they only are going into a recession, not coming out of one. However, the surveyor is still sourcing more contractors.
JonFromWellington
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Re: Re cladding

Post by JonFromWellington » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:31 am

At 07.20am on Sep 2 on BBC Radio 4 there is a story about house builders in south east England at the moment. Most are seeing so much work and 100s of % of profit rises that they can't cope and are turning work down.

http://m.insidehousing.co.uk/7005204.ar ... te=enabled
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Re: Re cladding

Post by unite2 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:23 pm

Just part of the full written BBC article below , says :-

"The sector is struggling to find enough skilled tradesmen to keep pace with new work and the labour market will continue to put pressure on costs until the next wave of apprentices begin to enter the jobs market," said David Noble, group chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29030604
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Re: Re cladding

Post by JonFromWellington » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:00 pm

That was the man on my radio this morning.

He said subcontractors are increasing prices for projects in the last 7 months at a rate never seen in the industry before. The BBC article says the same. Will that woman who delayed the project with her lease be shouting at the meeting again?
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