An independent report on work done by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to re-roof and re-clad properties in their care, has been condemned as ‘whitewash,’ by those who pressed for it.
The report was presented to Glasgow Home Owners and Tenants’ Campaign on Wednesday 12 December by representatives of Michael Dyson Associates Ltd – the company commissioned by the Scottish Government to do the inspection.
They surveyed the exterior of 252 blocks and the interior of 465 properties for signs of defects or deficiences arising from the overcladding installations or re-roofing work or how that work was done. Their report states: ‘We have discovered no evidence of inherent defects within the over-cladding systems or re-roofing works which would give rise to dampness within the properties to which they were applied.’
However, they concluded that there were issues around condensation and mould growth ‘as a direct result of how moisture, ventilation and heating is managed in the properties.’
Said Campaign Chairman, Sean Clerkin: ‘It is an absolute insult to the people who live in these houses to put the blame on them. The company produced no evidence to support their contention instead they say “we believe” this is caused by people who live there.’
Subsequently to the formal presentation of the report, he and the Campaign Committee discussed the findings at length. The Campaign is now advising home owners with dampness to consider action through a Cambuslang legal company, Duffy Toshner.
The Campaign will consider the report findings at their next regular meeting in Jurys Inn Hotel, Jamaica Street, Glasgow on Thursday 31 January 2013 at 7pm.
‘We would encourage all home owners affected by dampness following re-cladding or re-roofing, to come along and hear from Duffy Toshner who are as concerned as we are about these issues.’
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: ‘The First Minister fulfilled his promise to the Campaign that an independent survey would be carried out to assess the work to home owner properties and we are satisfied that this has now been done.
“This is the third survey of the GHA overcladding and re-roofing works. All have confirmed that there are no issues with the overcladding specification or its application.
“We are satisfied that a robust independent survey was carried out which was technically correct and procured in accordance with Scottish Government procedures. Each of the stages of the survey was discussed in detail with the GHA and the Glasgow Home Owners and Tenants’ Campaign to ensure both parties were content with the approach taken.
“We fully appreciate the efforts from both and each co-operated fully. GHA owners and tenants are showing increasing levels of satisfaction with the investment programme.”
GHA’s Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire, said: “The survey results speak for themselves. There are no inherent defects in the overcladding systems or re-roofing, and no dampness has been caused by any of the work done. We will continue to help and advise tenants and factored home owners who have a problem with condensation.”
The report recommended that all properties should be provided with adequate heating and ventilation and that individual residents should be advised on how to correctly manage moisture through the ventilation and heating within their homes.
However, Sean Clerkin commented: ‘The fight goes on. The report’s major weakness is that it does not give any number for the houses affected by condensation/dampness. That is what this whole issue is about. The report also notes that roof ventilation was not visible in some properties. We’ve pointed out properties where the ventilation was sealed in the course of the work to the building. Another worrying thing from the report is that during the inspection of ‘rainwater goods’ – gutters and the like – the surveyors noted places where guttering and down pipes were blocked or defective. They recommended speedy repair and regular maintenance to ensure this does not become a problem. But there was no quality control. However, the truth will out despite what I believe is a housing mafia trying to prevent it.’
SNP leader, Alex Salmond, has assured Glasgow Home Owners’ Association that after the election, he will call for an independent survey of work done on their properties which they claim is a ‘health time-bomb’
The 200-strong Association has photographic records of faults in re-cladding and re-roofing work done by their factor – Glasgow Housing Association’s (GHA’s) appointed contractors.
Before the Scottish Parliament was dissolved, the then Minister for Housing and Communities, Alex Neil, met with the Association’s elected members. He later said he would not have an independent survey done.
‘We are very pleased Alex Salmond has agreed to have this done after the election, through the housing regulator or the Building Research Establishment in East Kilbride,’ said a jubilant Sean Clerkin, Association chairman.
After the knock-back from Minister Alex Neil last month, some of the Association members held a sit-in at the GHA headquarters in Trongate to show the extent of the shoddy work they consider has been done. Said leader Sean at the time: ‘We are sending a strong message to all the political parties during this election run-up, that there is a time bomb of ill-health and deteroriating properties because of the sub-standard work carried out.’ Added Vice Chair, Anne Booth: ‘We elect people to look after us. They are not doing this. When there is a problem they don’t help.’ They claim sub standard work has been done on thousands of home across Glasgow.
The campaigning group was part of a small lobby which confronted Scottish Labour Party leader Iain Gray in Central Station on the issue of public service cuts. ‘He ran away,’ said Sean referring to the well-screened flight of the leader out of the station and into a sandwich shop. The campaigners also confronted Annabel Goldie, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party leader who discussed some of the issues with them, on the spot. ‘We would have done the same with the SNP, but Alex Salmond spent an hour listening to our concerns on the shoddy overcladding, the closure of the Accord Centre in Dalmarnock and other issues,’ commented Sean. The campaigners plan to continue their public protests with a lobby outside STV on Tuesday 3 May before the final televised leaders’ debate.
A spokesman for GHA commented: ‘To date, we have overclad more than 36,000 homes across the city, making them warmer, drier and more energy-efficient. There have been issues with the work done on only a very small number of these houses. An independent survey carried out by the Building Research Establishment concluded that dampness found in a very small number of homes was caused by heating and ventilation issues and NOT as a result of the overcladding work.’