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External Walls and Cladding Update

Homeowner Concerns

Many homeowners had concerns regarding the costs of carrying out individual property surveys/EWS1 for developments over 11 meters, where combustible external wall systems may be in place. Concerns also existed over the existing apathy and resultant delays in homeowners reaching the necessary agreements required to authorise a survey to be undertaken.

James Gibb assists our homeowners with Single Block Surveys

As not considered part of the property managers’ remit, many property managers nationally refused to assist homeowners throughout the process. However, at James Gibb we were only too happy to help. We assisted by working together with homeowners and in some cases acting on each homeowner’s behalf we approached the insurer for support.  On many developments, agreement amongst homeowners was reached, surveys were instructed, paid for and successfully carried out. Completed surveys are published at our online customer portal James Gibb + for our homeowners to review and digest.

Survey Results

On various developments, surveys returned with no issues highlighted, some with minor issues to be addressed and within many developments the surveys returned a B2 rating or other, which confirmed remedial work was required. Consideration was then required as to how best to address the remedial work. The options for remedial work are as follows:

Liaison with the Homebuilders

It may be that the homebuilder will confirm the development was built within the building standards at the time. To challenge this will require the involvement of a legal team and authorisation by the collective homeowners. James Gibb contacted homebuilders and requested feedback on their position.

On each occasion the surveys were provided to the homebuilder if they were still in existence. The report was also provided to the local authority, insurer and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Scottish Government Intervention 

James Gibb have registered all developments which have had a survey completed where remedials are required, to the Scottish Government Single Building Survey registration process. We await confirmation of the Scottish Government’s position regarding funding available. 

We have held meetings with the Scottish Government regarding three developments, where additional extensive surveys are being considered for funding by the Scottish Government and/or consideration of remedial funding in the future phases of the Scottish Government programme. 

For those developments not included in the pilot phase of the Scottish Government programme, it is expected that during August, following the initial pilot, the Scottish Government will consider other developments registered.

Source quotations for remedial work noted in MAF Associates' Survey

James Gibb can appoint a Project Manager to manage this process, as we are facility managers and not specialists in projects of this scale. We do not have the insurances in place for projects of this magnitude.

The other issue highlighted to the Scottish Government is that James Gibb and other property managers nationally, are experiencing problems in sourcing contractors who are willing to become involved in EWS work. This is the position across the UK, following discussions with English and Welsh property managers. James Gibb sought advice of the Scottish Government in assisting with these challenges which are not unique to our developments, but to many hundreds of other developments across the UK. We continue to attempt to source contractors that can assist with remedial work of this nature. 

Government Announcements

On 22nd July Westminster announced that buildings under 18 meters may now not require an EWS1 form for lending purposes. However, RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) are considering their position following this announcement and how they will react via their surveyors and UK lenders. A further announcement is expected in the next few days. It should be noted that the Scottish Government are considering their position following this press release. 

We await further information, but this could assist significantly with many developments on the James Gibb portfolio and proves again that we remain at the forefront of change, across the property management sector.

 

At James Gibb we recognise the frustrations and stress this issue continues to create for many of our homeowners and we continue to assist wherever we can. This is a unique situation, ever moving, day by day and causing so many challenges for all involved. 

Discuss your current and future property management business plans

If you are interested in discussing your current and future business plans, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. All discussions will, of course, be treated confidentially.