INDEX OF BILLS OF WORKS outstanding 2008

1. Inspection of Roofs
4. Smoke Alarm Batteries
5. Plaster below skylights
6. Replace light switches
8. Fill up Passage Walls & Touch-up
10. Wall of Forecourt
11. Inspect Drains
16. Repair Concrete
18. Re-pointing round damp course
19. Re-pointing west wall & dampness survey
22. Annual Wall Washing
23. Upper Boards
28. Insulation in Service Duct in the Tunnel
Not reproduced: 3. South door Brass sticks 7. Door Closers & Stoppers 9. Re-surface Forecourt & Manhole covers* * 12. 1 Fence Post SE of Forecourt 13. Wood Preservative, Fences 15. Drying Area Fence Bar Support Adrift 17. West light switch in tunnel rusting 20. Replacing Wall Tiles* 21. Internal Cleaning Contracts 23. Clean out cubbards under stairs 24. Unblock N Forecourt Drain 25. External Cleaning 26. Hedge Trimming 27. Weeding

Numbers refer to numbers in the 1998 List, those relevant to the current inspection are reproduced with amendments.

The "Backgrounds" given in some items may not necessarilly be sent to potential contractors

The Bills of Works will be used to:




Flat felt roofs are sealed with tar, the purpose of which is to keep the water out of the felt - which otherwise will break up the felt in frost. We have been advised by Chartered Surveyors that the tar should be checked by seeing if the chippings are adherring to the tar, and that the tar is not cracked. The stone chippings are required to keep the roof cool in the sun and prevent fire. It these symptoms occur the treatment is to re-seal the roof with tar, and re-chipping. If this treatment is necessary the life of the roof will be increased somewhat. Our last roof was re-sealed once, and after that only patches showing these symptoms were treated. This proceedure is not generally known in the trade. The Building Research Station has told us that this is the correct proceedure, while generally the design and maintenance of flat roofs is at a very low technical level - causing the lives of such roofs being much less than their potential (Asphalt & built up felt roofing:durability, Digest 144). Annual inspections should also be made of the roof drains, especially after a new roof, to insure they do not get blocked.

Our original roof was a 3-layer felt roof (each layer stuck to gether with tar) with a potential live of 30 years. The present roof is a single layer stuck to a venting sheet (which is not water proof) with a potential life of 10 years (2005). If the above symptoms are found, a decison will have to be made if it will be worth while to undertake the above treatment, with the aim of extending the life of the roof somewhat above 10 years.

There are also 3 small roofs ontop of the service ducts which can deteriorate and need replacing.

The small roof over the ground floor bedrooms has additional problems of water cistern overflows onto it - and one or more of these are liable to keep its surface wet. Vegitation then grows, whoes roots may damage the felt. This small roof had the original 3-layer felt, re-sealed twice, and its design life expired in mid 2000s. It has been leaking, but June 08 correctly replaced, from a partial re-felting done in 1996. However the chippings referred to above have not been applied, together with the surface tar adhering them to the felt - these should have been in the specification. Its also doubtful if the the overlow drains will allow the rainwater to flow off the roof.




It was ageed to purchase re-chargeable batteries. A battery charger is held in Flat 2. The South Block alarms were so fitted, but one went missing in 1994, and the 1st landing battery was changed Autumn 1997, having lasted c 10 years. While these batteries appear to be prone to being stolen, provided they last 3 years they are cheaper than ordinary ones.




Any leak from skylights makes the paint on the plaster come off, then its desireable to check if any leak in the rain, and keep the paint in good condition as a mean of checking on leaks. It is not possible to get an ordinary ladder up the stairs, so it is difficult to reach the skylights




The light swicthes installed in the corridors are not now generally available, and the modern ones do not now fit the recesses in the walls, requiring adapting. Around 1990 the old style switches were still being made, but could only be bought if we placed a bulk order for 6, which was done. One of these remains. . We also have 2 of the old switches - which might be re-furbished by cleaning the contact points. This may be worth attempting, since it may be even more difficult to obtain these switches now - and those removed should be retained not thrown away. Sometimes these switches stick ON - and if they do they are liable to get hot. If residents see a light on continuously they should inform a committee member at once - especially if the switch is getting hot - they are liable to burning the wire insulation, and may start a fire. 3 of the switches now installed in the block are old-style switches, and 3 are new-style switches - 2 of which need replacing.




Residents moving furiniture in and out generally cause grooves to be gouged out of the walls of the passages, which need to be filled in again annually. Then they are touched up with paint. A sizeable amount of spare paint should be obtained when walls are painted, so it is availabe to touch up in the following years. This occured when the walls were painted in 1974, and after annual wash, filling and touch-up, did not required further painting until the touch ran out in the late 1990s. The walls painted in the early 2000s, and quite likely the required supply of touch up paint was not laid in - and attempts should be made to acquire this shade.




A vehicle ran into the end of the wall. But the Committee has decided not to re-build it, instead to have a wider entrance. There is substancial re- pointing required along much of this wall, and most of the caps need to be cemented back on again.

Summer 2015

All caps need cementing, plus 3 of the long caps between the square caps




Drains from time to time get blocked, but when they do they are liable to result in sewerage coming out of the loos in the ground floor flats as there is nowhere else for it to go. These can result resulted in insurance claims - which can result in premium rises. There have been such floods since drains last inspected. Thus in the past annual drain inspections were established to prevent sewerage floods. Greasing manhole covers & bases on replacement is necessary to prevent them rusting together, especially the main one at the entrance.




The concrete at the door entrances, and through the tunnel & beyond, has previously become damaged at the surface. This is due to water seeping in, and shattering the concrete by frost action. The symptons are the surface breaking up and becoming loose rubble. The choices are to break the whole concrete up & remove it & re-lay new concrete, or attempt to repair the surface. It is not practical to attempt the breaking up treatment in the tunnel since this is the concrete raft on which the block of flats is built. Infact the concrete entrances are probably part of this raft also as it extends out the the tarmac.

In the past it has been assumed that the breaking up and re-laying would be much more expensive than repair. The repair treatment has been sucessfully done a long time ago on the south concrete entrance. Some years later it was done at various spots in the tunnel - but at this time we had a drafts- man in the block who assured us that neat cement should be used (without any sand which is usually used to make cement). Thus some patches were done with neat cement, and some done with ordinary cement. It is the neat-cement-only patches which are now breaking up. The north concrete entrance was repaired in 1993: but it was also decided to cover it after with factory floor paint as additional protection to keep out water - this was not done. Some break-up symptons are in the N concrete entrance (lesser symptoms visible in S entrance concrete, but this can probably be left for a bit). The S entrance was repaired with concrete (cement with stones in it), while N entrance was repaired with cement (i.e. sand and cement mixture). This may be the reason the S concrete has lasted longer - concete wares better. Committee decided to repair with fine - moderate concrete, and leave North entrance for the present, since more must be taken out with concrete than with cement. Thus tunnel only at present. Breaking up the concrete is probably wrong due to their being part of the concrete raft.

Specifications below assume moderate to fine concrete

Note: cement & concrete can affect hands - wearing rubber gloves precaution




For some reason, the cement above the damp course tends to turn to powder, and needs to be regularly inspected and re-ponted.




The Block has suffered from dampness problems:

*some occurring in winter; **No direct cause has ever been found. ###advised that this is due to drips of water dropping down the cavity in the outside wall, and splattering on the concrete beams protruding into it and thus splattering onto the wall at intervals. Action has been to inspect all parts where water might be getting in, and filling up any potential entrances. This has abated problem for a while, to return a few years later. Any dampness in the wall cavity is dangerous from corrosion of the wall ties.

Dampness has occurred in bedrooms of Flats 2,3,8. Residents should periodically be asked if they have any dampness problems when a full inspection should be mounted.

The west wall has holes from TV and telephone installations. Some have been sealed up, but 8 have not been.




The wall tiles below flats' windows are the outer skin of the building, not decoration. These tiles tend to get broken if ladders are put up against them (which should be avoided). The tiles hang on nails, but one can only be replaced by removing the others around it, as other tiles hang over the nails of others... Only experienced contractor can handle this. The tiles at the rear (west) of the block are straightforward. But those on the east of the block are of a shape that cannot generally be obtained. After many years of search, the contractor Erector offered to replace some by cutting standard tiles, which was done satisfactorily. We may not want to use this contractor again, and he may not want to do this job if its the only one on offer. These tiles are made of cement.




Corridor walls get dirty over a year, especially from moving furniture in and out of flats. In 1974 they were painted with paint, which was easilly washed with water and a little detergent. More stubbon marks may have to have stronger detergent or other cleaner. A large amoung of paint remaind so touch-up could continue till 1990s. Re-painting occurred in early 2000s. With high turnover of renters the walls now get dirtier.

[*Repairing plaster, and touching up paint is in Bill No. 8]




The Upper Boards were originally wood, which like other timber in the Block was prone to rot. However, use of Dulux Weathershield anti-fungal paint was keeping it under control with regular inspections. A contractor given the job of doing this persuaded the committee to change the wood for plastic boards which he claimed would be maintenance free. He with a sales rep from the manufacturers said there would be a 20 year insurance backed guarantee. But on my asking to see the insurance policy the contractor admitted that the guarantee was only for 10 years. Since the economics was already very marginal at 20 years, I opposed the project, and also showed that as the felt roof was anchored to these boards they could not be touched until the roof was replaced. Within a few weeks of the plastic boards being put on in 1993 some of them blew off on the south side in high winds. No wooden boards had ever blown off including in the great hurricanes of the late 1980s which blocked all the roads around with fallen trees. During the 1990s other plastic boards blew off on the west and north sides. These were eventually put on again by the contractor. In hot weather the plastic boards could be seen to buckle. In 1995 I obtained a Chartered Surveyor's report. This found that the wooden boards could not be replaced separately from the roof which had been destroyed. According to the manufacturer's specifications the plastic boards should have been nailed on in two places 60cms apart, but had only been nailed on erratically several metres apart in one place. The details which join individual plastic boards together, including at the corners, should also be nailed to the block's timber members, but none had been. Attempts to enforce the guarantee with the manufactures obtained a denial that they had been involved or that the contractor was an authorised installer of theirs. Plans of my committee in 1997 to require the contractor to put the plastic boards on in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications or face legal proceedings for damages were abandoned by the next committee. Further plastic boards were blown off on the west side, which were replaced by another company on an insurance claim. It is not known if the manufacturer's specifications were applied. The NW corner detail is fastened in one place, but no evidence the SW corner detail is secured or any of the connecting details. Further plastic boards blowing off is to be expected in the absence of getting these plastic boards put on properly. It is not lawful to make insurance claims as the cause is incorrect installation not the weather.

The SE corner detail has fallen off, and the NE is slipping down. I have one of these details.

Minimum action required




The northern service duct, which carries water and drains, is exposed to frost in the Tunnel. Thus it was filled during the building by a flake type insulation up to the level of Flat 9's floor. When in the early years the defective plastic water pipes were replaced it was necessary to 'drain' the insulation from this duct in the Tunnel. This was done by taking out some of the bricks at the base to make an opennng, out of which the insulation was extracted. There is a larger opening at the top of the duct in the Tunnel where the Duct can be filled with insulation. More recently it was thought that the insulation had sunk putting water pipes at risk, and it was topped up with a solid fibre type - up to the level of Flat 9's floor.

Current problem Summer 2015

The plywood covers of the two openings are deteriorating. Some of the plys of the lower cover have come away, and the insulation is leaking out.