Doors & Windows
Link to Yorkshire Evening Post 7 April 2007 story.
Leeds North West Homes is embarked on a major refurbishment of council housing stock in Kirkstall, funded by central government grants. In many cases this includes re-roofing and new uPVC windows and doors. During the summer of 2006 Cllr Illingworth received a series of complaints from tenants about the quality of the work, and the fact that the doors appeared to be the wrong size for the openings. People said that some fitters had been rude, that they had not measured up properly, the workmanship was poor and that some new doors did not appear to match the brickwork very well.
He followed up these individual complaints, and realised that this problem was more serious than it first appeared. The contract required each external door to be "made to measure" but in fact they are all one size (to suit the smallest expected opening) which was easier to supply. Plastic panels had been stuck over the gaps with mastic to hide an inadequate fit. To cut a very long story short [download the correspondence here] there has been a detailed inquiry and the contractors have accepted responsibility for any sub-standard work.
Download a copy of the contractor's grovelling apology to the Council (rich text format).
The main contractor (Norfolk Frames) has undertaken to replace any badly fitted doors. Hundreds of units are involved, and the cost to the supplier could be substantial. The problem has been discussed by the Leeds North West Homes board, who agreed there will be absolutely no cost to any tenant.
Download a copy of the Norfolk Frames report (MS Word format).
Download a copy of the Norfolk Frames minutes (MS Word format). See minute 7.
New decorations might be damaged if these doors were replaced. The contractor would pay for this, but in some cases the gaps are quite small, and tenants may decide to ignore them rather than face the mess and disruption all over again. The plastic panels can be easily removed, and a few gaps might be sufficiently large to pose a security risk. In such cases we recommend that the old door is replaced with a new "made to measure" external door. Although Leeds North West Homes board agreed to this solution before Christmas, they have been very slow to inform the tenants. Cllr Illingworth has therefore written directly to everybody involved.
It has recently come to light that this problem may be more widespread than was first realised. Here is a photograph of another uPVC door, elsewhere in Kirkstall, and fitted as part of another contract, where the problems are similar, but not identical.
The Leeds ALMOs (or "Arm's Length Management Organisations") were reorganised in 2007, and we would not want these important commitments to be forgotten. We will keep reminding the new ALMOs about this. Please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone, email or letter if people have any questions about this regrettable affair.
Cllr Illingworth has raised these issues at a full meeting of Leeds City Council, and continues to press the case with the new ALMO board.
Last updated 29 November 2008 at 20:34. Back to the top
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