Black Country Housing Group is a registered social housing association based in Birmingham and the Black Country in the British Midlands. The organisation is responsible for the provision of affordable housing with properties over 2,000 homes available and a purpose built Residential Care Home.
Situated in an ideal location close to West Bromwich town centre, Vantage Point offers attractive and affordable retirement living. Built in 2001, the extra care housing has 44 one and two bedroom flats with mobility and wheelchair support throughout the premises as well as private parking, landscaped grounds, laundry services and a residents lounge.
Mila Maintenance were asked to analyse the issues that residents have been raising regarding the windows in the building, and to conduct a thorough inspection of their condition.
We met with the scheme manager on site who showed us some of the windows in worse condition in the lounge and in Flat 2.
The key issues reported were that the handles were often failing and needing to be replaced. Another reported issue was the trickle vents being taped over as draughts were a regular occurrence in the premises, especially in the lounge on the fourth floor.
The scheme manager at Vantage Point said that there was no ongoing maintenance programme for the windows, and that they were only repaired on a responsive basis when required.
The first window we inspected was in the lounge which had a silver kadenza handle screwed to the front face of the aluminium. As the handles were screwed directly into the frame, the lack of a back plate often meant these handles failed due to excessive usage. We have previously fitted back plates to these windows, which we had specially manufactured to strengthen the handles as the screws would be secured by the frame and the plate.
With regards to the vents, they were reported to be draughty, and in some cases this resulted in residents taping over them.
The flat we saw had two bedrooms and a total of nine opening windows, two in each bedroom, four in the lounge, and one in the kitchen. There was also a patio door. The resident reported that handles were coming off, and that he was having to use a lot of force to open windows.
We also found that the door was draughty and couldn’t be closed sufficiently. On inspection we also found that the gasket used was not enough to stop all draughts, however the windows only have one point to hold the window tight so using too thick gasket could also cause problems with the seal.
Mastic sealant had been used around the sash, but this meant that the window was hard to open and caused the handles to break with use of too much force. The vents were sealed with gaffer tape.
We identified works that were needed including replacement of handles, repacking of glass on window/door to realign sash, replacement of hinges, replacement of vents and other repairs to the window hardware.
Draughts caused because windows are out of alignment and some seals had failed. These windows were adjusted and the required gasket was replaced.
Handles were reinforced by installing a plate to the back of the profile so that the handle screwed into this as well as the window. Lubricating the windows and realigning them made them easier to open and close which reduced the force required to be applied by residents and reduced failures.
An overhaul of the existing windows was recommended to solve the issues that residents reported.
We carried out a check, clean and lubricate survey for all flats during the initial stage of the project, and then created a planned programme of window repairs based on the survey results.
The repairs programme conducted by Mila Maintenance has helped extend the life of the windows by several years. This delayed the environmental cost that will come when the windows are replaced.
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