Dear Flat Owner
Central Heating and Hot Water
As I mentioned in the recent budget circular, we are reaching the point where we have to take some serious decisions about the central heating and hot water system.
The system gives patchy coverage, is expensive to operate and is increasingly leaky. Worse, because many of the hot water pipes are insulated with asbestos, the leaks are disruptive and can be very expensive to repair.
We have commissioned a report from Peter Ellis, an expert heating engineer recommended by kfh. His report attached with this note and would like to invite you to a flat owners’ meeting to discuss his finding and recommendations.
The meeting will take place at Paddington Sports Club, Castellain Road at 7 pm on Tuesday 27th September.
The main conclusions of the report are:
- The central heating boiler is in good working order but is nearing the end of its life. Major parts are no longer available so the boiler would need to be replaced in the event of a serious failure. The hot water boilers are new and in excellent condition.
- There are two independent networks of pipes that take the hot water and central heating water around the estate. Both networks are 60 years old, inefficient, severely narrowed by the formation of sludge and scale and leaky; but too fragile to clean with chemical flushing
- The radiators in individual flats are generally in good condition but old and inefficient.
The engineer’s two preferred options are either:
- Every flat moves to independent heating and hot water. This would be disruptive, as you would need to find space for a boiler and run new pipes around your flat. But you would gain control over your own environment and, in most cases, we think your bills would be lower.
- We continue to supply heating and hot water communally but invest in a new, state of the art, system fit for the next 60 years. This would involve both a new boiler and new pipes running either round the outside of the building or up the stairwells to connect each flat.
Both options will be disruptive and involve significant upfront expensive although your running costs will very probably reduce in both cases. There are some costings in the report but these are very rough estimates at this stage
The legalities and logistics of a decision to move to independent heating are not straightforward and will require an overwhelming consensus among flat owners. Our professional advisors can cite us no examples of a leaseholder owned block moving from communal to independent heating while the flats are occupied.
There is a third option:
- Do nothing. We continue with our antiquated and inefficient system. We cross our fingers that nothing bad happens in the middle of winter. We deal with leaks as and when they occur and replace the main boiler when we absolutely have to. As and when the system leaks or the boiler finally expires, you may be without hot water or heating for some days and, if the source of a leak is in your flat, you may well have to move out while specialist contractors attend to the asbestos. In a block where flats change hands for upwards of £750K, I struggle, personally, to see the “do nothing” option as a sensible solution.
Please read the report that has been mailed to you. The board has not taken any decision about which option to pursue or when to take action. And we won’t, without a thorough consultation with you, the flat owners. You own Ashworth Mansions. It’s your system and it’s your decision on how to proceed and at what pace to do so. Please come to the meeting and participate in the decision-making. If you can’t attend, drop me a line or call me and let me know your views.
Chair, Ashworth Mansions Ltd