Ashworth Mansions’ financial year commences 30 September. The board set the budget for the 2011/12 year. The main service charge will rise by 6.5% to £298K. The increase is almost entirely due to an increase in our insurance premium from £64K TO £78K. The central heating charge is unchanged at £58K.
Major works contributions are unchanged at £325K, split between the reserve fund contribution (which rises from £150K to £175K) and the third of four special annual contributions to fund the current refurbishment of the estate. This will be £150K.
We can never be sure about future bills but it is our intention that the fourth special contribution in September 2012 will be of a similar level. We will exit the fourth phase in 2013 with very little money in the reserve fund. The board will then need to decide how to set up the long term funding arrangements the estate
It was agreed to circulate a special note to flat owners regarding the budget.
Kfh hope to have the necessary software to accept service charge payments by direct debit but not until 2012.
Mains water supply
28 flats have that connected to the new water mains and we are still receiving queries from owners who are looking to connect. The old tanks, situated above each stairwell need to be decommissioned as soon as we can to avoid unnecessary expense. They are close to the end of their life and it would cost £80K to replace them. It was agreed to write to flat owners to encourage them to connect.
The lagging of the new system is often in poor repair (it being over 10 years old) and has perished completely in some places, notably on the roofs. Kfh have been asked to obtain quotes to replace.
Central heating and hot water
Peter Ellis, the consultant commissioned to produce a report, has attended site and has visited 13 flats. His report will be ready by 29th August. We will hold a flat owners meeting towards the end of September to discuss options for the communal system. The previous report (from 2010) being not fit for purpose, it was agreed not to pay the invoice.
The owners of one flat have complained that their towel rail (fed from the hot water) is not working. Quotehedge have been to see if they could get it working and have vented the system but have not been successful. They have suggested that it is probably due to the fact that the pressure of the hot water is slightly reduced due to the recent pipe leaks but are unwilling to increase it given the likely leaks elsewhere. They have said that there also may be some debris in the pipe. We would like to hear from any other flat owners with similar problems.
In one ground floor flat, the loss adjustors have approved work required to remedy a damp problem beneath the shower but have not yet been to inspect the area beneath the lounge.
In another ground floor flat, a damp problem has finally been resolved satisfactorily.
The owner of another flat has complained that, since the removal of asbestos from the bike sheds, the walls of the kitchen are too warm. SHW has inspected the flat and taken temperature readings. We await their report.
Another flat has a broken window that could be dangerous. It was agreed to ask the owner to repair it immediately or we would get a contractor to board it up.
On one flat, we have asked the structural engineer to monitor some cracking. This flat also has a sloping floor and we have asked a contractor to will go in and assess whether or not the previous joist renewal undertaken by the owner’s contractor was adequate.
Remedial work is almost complete to the top floor landing of block 4 following the flood of water through the roof from a blocked gulley. An insurance claim has been lodged and DBR (whose fault it was) has agreed to settle the excess as part of the specification for the major works was to check and clear the roof gulleys.
The 2nd phase major works contract (Grantully Road) has commenced and Directors have met with the surveyor and contractors on site to discuss some repair and structural issues. The project is on budget but is expected to be delayed due to an unexpected amount of labour required. The good news is that the materials bill will be lower than budgeted.
The work to replace the vault doors on the lower ground level on the Elgin Avenue side will start shortly. It has been delayed as we have found a significantly cheaper contractor for this small job.
There are still some issues outstanding from the Elgin Avenue refurbishment, notably around the link bridges. This will need to be dealt with before we release the retention monies on the contract.
It was agreed to ask SHW to draw up the specification for phase three of the works (the rear of the Elgin Avenue block) but to also include the lightwells within blocks one and five. We envisage this work commencing in Spring 2012.
Fire risk assessment
The last fire risk assessment took place in 2007. Since requirements and legislation have changed it was agreed to conduct another one at a cost of £525 plus VAT.