This section covers information about our major works process, how it affects you and what you need to do.
Type of work
We have a five year plan to maintain the condition of properties following the completion of our Decent Homes programme in 2011. To see what is planned for your block and estate click here.
The plan also enables us to meet our responsibilities under the terms of your lease.
Leaseholders will be charged for the major works carried out at their block and on their estate.
Our Leaseholder major works information pack explains more about major works -what they are, who your contacts are, how you can have your say, ways to pay, and where you can find help and advice.
We are committed to securing the best possible value for money from our contractors and looking at ways of helping you to pay. However, we understand that large-scale work can be expensive and that this can be a concern for leaseholders who are required to contribute towards the costs.
There are a range of payment options available to resident leaseholders and in certain circumstances to non-resident leaseholders. For more information on payment options click here.
How we decide on major works
The decision on what should be included in our programme of major works will depend on the type of property and its condition.
Our plans must also cover new legal requirements as a result of changes to health and safety regulations and the new fire standards required for social housing blocks.
The programme of major works will include items such as:
- testing and replacing communal cold water storage systems
- fire safety risk assessment recommendations and requirements
- new double glazed windows
- roof replacement where patch repairs are no longer financially or practically viable
- external repairs and redecorations
- communal electrical testing
- upgrading communal lighting
- installing and improving emergency escape lighting
- upgrading electrical rising and lateral mains
- protection against lightning strikes
- lift refurbishment and replacement
- replacing communal heating pumps
- roof fans
- replacing booster and sewage pumps
- door entry systems.
Statutory Section 20 leasehold consultation will be carried out for all projects where the individual unit cost will exceed the £250 threshold. All observations will be given due regard and responded to within 21 days of receipt.
Please note that the fire safety programme and electrical rising mains replacement programme have specific additional impacts on leaseholders that you will need to be aware of. Please click here for further information in terms of what this may mean to you.
Works on site
Once consultation has been completed, we will instruct our contractor who will write to you with the start date.
The time taken to complete the work will depend on the type and complexity of the work being carried out. Timescales may vary depending on the construction type of the block.
Management and supervision of the work will be overseen by our contractor, who is responsible for the progress, customer care and quality delivered by their own workforce and that of any sub-contractors involved in the works.
Barnet Homes’ project officers will visit the site regularly while work is taking place, and at the finish to inspect and agree acceptable standards for the completed works.
Defects liability period
When work has been agreed and certified as complete and practical completion has been achieved, a 12-month ‘defects liability period’ begins. This places our contractor partners under a contractual obligation to make good any defects identified following completion.
A month before the end of this defects liability period, you will receive a letter from our contractor partners asking you to identify any defects in the work at your block or on your estate. Contact us to report any other issues.
At the same time Barnet Homes will carry out its own inspections with its contractor partners to ensure that no defects have been overlooked or gone undetected.
The contractor partner is contractually obliged to make good any defects that have been identified by residents and Barnet Homes’ inspectors within the defects liability period. They will normally do this within four to six weeks of the inspections.
Once the contractor has made good any defects, a Certificate of Making Good Defects will be issued and responsibility for maintenance will pass to Barnet Homes.
Details of who you should contact from start to finish of the major works process can be found in the section.
Contacting the contractor
At the start of the project you will receive an information pack from our contractor with contact numbers for their staff who will be managing the work at your block.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our contractor in the first instance.
They are there to support you and are your point of contact during the works. If you feel our contractor has been unable to help or answer your concerns, you can contact us.
Your contacts at Barnet Homes
You will have two main Barnet Homes contacts during the major works – a project officer and a leasehold development officer.
The project officer is responsible for monitoring the work from start (when the blocks are surveyed) to finish (the end of the defects liability period).
This includes checking the proposed works and costs with contractors, attending consultation surgeries, inspecting and signing off works, and being available to answer any technical queries you may have.
We will give you the name and contact number of your project officer as part of the initial consultation.
This section explains about window and roof placements, and why we use scaffolding.
Replacement windows will normally be double glazed UPVC sections with reinforced frames.
The windows will meet industry standards and carry a comprehensive ten-year guarantee against defects caused by materials or workmanship.
Other benefits from new windows include:
- better comfort throughout the year
- enhanced security
- reduced energy consumption
- easier to open/close
- less condensation
- lower maintenance costs because there is no need to paint in future.
New windows will normally make your block look better and increase the market value of your property if you wish to sell.
Our contractors will submit a planning application before replacing windows, and you may receive correspondence from Barnet Council about this.
Once new windows have been installed, you will be given a booklet advising you on what products to use to clean the windows and other maintenance advice.
While the installation of new double glazed windows may reduce the amount of condensation appearing on the glass and window sills, you may find more condensation elsewhere in your property.
This is because the new windows are more airtight and the ventilation provided by the previous draft windows will have been eliminated. The common causes of water vapour or condensation in the home will not be eliminated by the new windows. For more information about controlling condensation please click here.
If the roof of your block is in poor condition, we may replace it. The replacement will be designed to comply with current Building Regulations.
The insulation will be upgraded at the same time for better comfort, lower energy use, and lower fuel bills.
New flat roofs will normally have a 20 year guarantee against defects of workmanship or material failure. This does not include the cost of any normal maintenance that may be required in that period.
For many of our major works schemes scaffolding will be required. This is because by law Barnet Homes has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of anyone who may be affected by its activities, such as working at height regulations.
This includes Barnet Homes employees, contractors and occupiers of properties. There are also strict legal requirements to be met before allowing people to work at height.
These legal requirements mean that in almost all cases of window replacement and other high level external works, we are obliged to use scaffolding rather than ladders or stepladders.
Paying for work
This section is about our major works billing process and when you need to pay.
We aim to give you as much notice as possible before carrying out works to your building.
If you will need to pay more than £250 for works that we are proposing to carry out, we will formally consult with you before instructing our contractors.
Major works bills
We will send you an estimated breakdown of costs at the beginning of the official consultation period. By this point it is likely that most, if not all, of the works specified in the breakdown will be carried out.
We will normally include a contingency fee for any unforeseen items; this will be removed if it is not needed when the interim costs are known once the works have been completed.
We may also include provision sums for items that it is not possible to determine the necessity for, or to measure before the works start on site. Again these costs will be removed or adjusted when the interim costs are known.
You can find a sample bill explaining the breakdown of costs in our Leaseholder major works information pack.
If you think you may not be able to pay for the works in one go, you may wish to set up a payment arrangement at this point.
This will allow you to spread your payments over a longer period of time. Contact us to discuss setting up a payment arrangement.
We also offer a range of other financial support if you are struggling to cover costs.
After work begins
When work begins we will send you a ‘start-of-works’ invoice. If you intend to pay in full rather than by a payment arrangement, we recommend you pay 85 per cent of the total estimated cost of the works.
This will ensure that you do not overpay if the actual costs are lower than the estimate.
When the works are completed we will send you details of ‘interim costs’ (i.e. costs before the defects liability period), and any resulting adjustments to your account will be made then.
Under normal circumstances you will not receive a further invoice at the end of the defects liability period.