Residents at 355 Queensbridge Road a 19-storey block of flats in Hackney had raised a number of window repairs issues with Hackney Council through the Tenant Management Organisation that manages repairs in the block.
Building contractor Purdy on behalf of Hackney Council approached us because of our expertise in window repairs in high rise properties, and our ability to source hard to find window parts from through our supply chain. We had previously carried out repairs to Patio doors and windows that had been newly installed in one of the council’s other blocks.
In total over 1000 windows overhauls were completed in the 114 flats, with new restrictors and wind break stays fitted, and the windows repaired, adjusted, and lubricated to ensure they operated correctly.
Hackney Borough Council is the local government authority for the London Borough of Hackney, one of 32 London borough councils.
Over 40% of Hackney’s housing stock is social housing, either managed by the Council or by housing associations. Hackney is one of the UK’s biggest social landlords, with a housing stock of around 20,000 tenanted properties and more than 10,000 leasehold properties.
Hackney is proud of its social housing. They aspire to provide exceptional services to residents, and leaseholders, using their role as a landlord to transform the life chances of the people who live on their estates and are determined to tackle inequality in attainment, employment, and health.
Tower Management Organisation (TMO)
Repairs at 355 Queensbridge Road were in consultation with the Tower Management Organisation which is one of ten TMOs in Hackney that manage over 5,000 homes ranging in size from 114 to over 1,100 homes. A tenant management organisation (TMO) is an organisation set up by tenants and/or leaseholders to manage their estate/block.
Each TMO has its own legal contract with the Council, known as the management agreement. This agreement outlines what services the TMO is responsible for and what services the council is responsible for. The services provided by TMOs are mainly funded by the management fees paid by the Council under the management agreement.
Purdy (Bilby PLC)
Purdy’s have a five-year contract with Hackney Council, with a potential further four-year extension and additional planned works which are a key example of Purdy’s significant expansion and diversification into complementary work streams. The contract is for the provision of Responsive General Building Repairs and Maintenance and is a natural strategic extension to Purdy’s core business activities of Mechanical and Electrical Services, mostly provided under similar Responsive Repair term contracts.
We have supported Purdy by carrying out specialist window repairs on this contract and on other works for a number of years.
355 Queensbridge Road has 114 flats for over 50-year-olds, a mixture of one and two bedroom flats and is 19-storeys high. It was part of a flagship regeneration project for Hackney. In 1990, the Holly Street Estate was in desperate need of regeneration – homes were in a state of disrepair, crime rates were high and residents were socially isolated. Three of the four towers were demolished, with the one remaining, 355 Queensbridge Road transformed to provide dedicated homes for older people.
Residents had raised a number of window repairs issues with Hackney Council through the Tenant Management Organisation that manages repairs in the block. Issues included that most of the plastic tilt restrictors fitted in the block were broken. Also tilt restrictors are complicated to use, which make the residents force and break the restrictors whilst trying to get them to operate. The restrictors fitted were hard for elderly people especially. Other restrictors installed on wood windows were not working anymore (Bedrooms and Kitchens), and the aluminium windows fitted in the kitchen didn’t have turn restrictors fitted at all. This was causing windows to blow open and slam shut causing disturbances to neighbours.
We sourced suitable products and were originally scheduled to carry out the repairs in March 2020 before the first COVID19 lockdown. The project recommenced in summer 2020 and a test installation was carried out to enable a resident’s group to choose the restrictors they wanted installing from a number of options that we were able to source as samples.
Based on the test we proposed the following to achieve the resident’s requirements.
- Provide a restrictor that is easy to use in both Tilt and in Turn mode.
- To provide a secondary stay that will stop the windows slamming shut when left open in the Turn mode and also stop them opening more than 90 degrees where they could potentially damage hinges, the surrounding walls and be a safety risk to residents.
- We also advised that windows be correctly adjusted and lubricated, with ‘Toe & Heel’ carried out as required on the glazing – In the test property the windows were out of alignment and needed to be overhauled (Toe & Heeled, by removing the glass unit, realigning and then lubricated. This improved the operability of the window and gave good compression).
- We recommend that this be carried out on all windows. All the windows, both wooden and Aluminium were difficult to open and close as they had moved out of correct alignment.
The residents preferred the Nordan restrictors which were originally brought for the wooden windows and so these were fitted on all window types.