Sooner or later, major works are required in the lifecycle of all residential blocks, and when handled professionally, they reduce the need for expensive interventions in the long term. These projects can involve a wide variety of technical issues, from external maintenance and window replacements to roof refurbishments.
Earl Kendrick have the experience and expertise to manage not only the technical aspects of such projects but also complicating factors such as insurance implications, licences to alter and Listed building status. At the core of our approach is a communications strategy that ensures all stakeholders are kept informed and can be assured we are looking after their long-term interests.
From period properties to modern blocks, many buildings are defined by their windows. The smallest changes have a fundamental affect on their appearance and functionality, which is why replacing windows is an important major works project in any block. For an older period building, Town and Country Planning controls and Listed Building restrictions may dictate that replacement windows must replicate the originals, even when modern alternatives might transform its functionality (allowing reversible cleaning for example).
In the context of residential blocks, the key legal question is who is responsible for maintenance and replacement of the windows themselves. In some cases it is unclear where ownership of the windows lies and legal interpretation is required. Things are complicated further by the fact that the Landlord is responsible for scaffolding and windows in communal areas even when the Leaseholder has responsibility for the windows themselves. Earl Kendrick are experts in all the legal as well as technical aspects of repairing or replacing windows in residential blocks and can manage the whole process from obtaining consent to the replacement itself.
Implementing window replacement projects can have a huge impact on the ongoing maintenance costs of a building. At Earl Kendrick, we have worked with many buildings where the initial costs of installing new windows is offset by savings in the ongoing maintenance (repair and redecoration), even in the short term. We can provide design advice on the options for the new windows, obtain statutory consents and calculate a lifecycle cost for the project, balancing initial costs with long-term maintenance along with secondary considerations, including the effect of the project on the rest of the building. The key is to avoid surprises, to manage expectations and to integrate everyone’s requirements. The project is completed to fulfil expectations and with a clear plan in place for future maintenance.
External major works can involve a multitude of significant building works projects, but often involve key repair or redecoration of the building envelope. Works of this sort will, by definition, be relevant to the interests of a large number of stakeholders. Landlords, leaseholders, managing agents and, possibly, tenants will all have vested interests even before the addition to the mix of surveyors, contractors and sometimes lawyers.
Major works can also involve a certain amount hassle and conflict: the scaffolding may be up for months on end, there will be noise and dust and the builders may require windows to be opened. People often underestimate just how much time and resources the managing surveyors put into running these projects. That is why at Earl Kendrick, we understand the need for an objective, experienced pair of hands to run the project, to take on board the interests of all relevant stakeholders and to take responsibility for the various stages of the project in the context of the lifecycle of the building as a whole. And that’s exactly the role we play.
In legal terms, interior common parts are those areas that are demised to the landlord and outside of the demise of the individual flats, which means the landlord is responsible for their upkeep, rather than leaseholders, and exactly what those areas are will be determined by the lease. They typically include entrance lobbies and corridors – in layman's terms, the parts of a building between the front or rear entrance and the door to each particular flat or apartment – but they can also include basement service areas, plant rooms and leisure facilities such as swimming pools.
Internal refurbishments to communal areas are an example of major works that affect everyone in a residential building. Everyone sees the work taking place, and can experience inconvenience if things are handled badly, but more importantly, everyone benefits when the work is done well, because attractive internal communal areas can really add to quality of life. At Earl Kendrick, we have overseen enough internal refurbishments to know what makes the difference: careful planning and an expert understanding of what is required at every stage.
The need for refurbishment of common parts is usually driven by a one or more of four factors: aesthetic, statutory (including Section 20 requirements) functional or lease-related. We also offer in-house interior design services, which allows us to factor in technical considerations when choosing materials and ensure the design process is in harmony with the more practical requirements of the refurbishment. We use mood boards to provide various options and ideas, each one costed so clients know exactly what is involved. We also understand that a large part of any successful refurbishment project is managing relationships with the various stakeholders, and this is something we take very seriously.