Concern has been raised in relation to a planned maintenance programme in council housing estates in 2019. A programme of works totalling €10.75 million including Window and Doors replacement(€8.5 million), Painting (€750k), Safety works (€1m) and Balgaddy specific works (€500k) was agreed by councillors at the May 2019 County Council meeting. However, a question submitted by People Before Profit councillor Madeleine Johansson for the June county council meeting reveals that very little progress has been made on the rolling out of the programme.
Cllr Johansson commented: “I’m very concerned that the progress on this important programme has been very slow. There is a long waiting list for council tenants who need windows and doors to replaced. Then there are estates such as Balgaddy that needs serious ongoing maintenance such as painting and improvement works. Council tenants pay rent and have the right to live in decent conditions and the council has the obligation as the landlord to carry out any work needed.
“The reply received by the council to my question is wholly inadequate. I specifically asked the Chief Executive to outline how much has been spent on the programme so far but the reply contains no financial cost figures at all. Following the council meeting the Housing manager clarified some issues to me in relation to the delay. Contractors have been appointed to some of the Balgaddy works however they were delayed due to Brexit and Covid-19. ”
See below the question and answer details;
Monday, June 08, 2020
QUESTION NO.6 from Councillor M. Johansson
To ask the Chief Executive to provide a detailed report on the planned maintenance programme that was agreed by members in April 2019 (Headed Item 11) and how much has been spent of the €10.75 million agreed including a breakdown of each heading of Window and Doors (€8.5 million), Painting (€750k), Safety works (€1m) and Balgaddy specific works (€500k)?
There has been significant impact on the 2020 plans and work programmes of the Housing Maintenance Section due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Notwithstanding this, a range of bespoke responses and working arrangements have resulted in the maintenance of certain critical and essential services including electrical, heating, and plumbing services to tenants. This has been achieved while adapting to new remote working procedures, enhanced health and safety focus and social distancing requirements while prioritising and resourcing our key services. While we are conscious that some housing services have had to be delayed or postponed, we will look to pick up on those services as a phased return to work in line with the government roadmap begins to be implemented and for which planning has commenced.
A significant amount of procurement work had been undertaken to the extent that the planned/cyclical maintenance operations were scheduled to commence in the 2nd quarter of 2020 with a first phase of works involving the replacement of all joinery in windows and doors in 100 homes each, north and south of the Naas Road/N7 covering areas including: Airlie, Arthur Griffith, Foxdene, Greenfort, Harelawn, Kilcronan, Kilmahudrrick, Allenton, Avonbeg , Avonmore, Bawnlea, Bolbrook, Brookview, Castle Park and Cloonmore. Unfortunately, the various restrictions have resulted in a revised programme of works, including taking account of social distancing and other health & safety measures, being planned and a full report on this will be brought to the Housing SPC in September and communicated to all Elected Members in the interim when ready.
The programme of planned maintenance work also includes painting of windows and exterior doors where replacement is not required as well as the painting of older persons’ housing developments and communal areas of multi-household developments. Similarly, procurement had been completed on this programme with contractors in place for the painting work to be carried out in conjunction with our direct labour painting teams. This work was scheduled to commence in April and is also being rescheduled to fit a revised work programme.
Balgaddy estate had been signalled for a number of responses including physical works and prior to the introduction of the COVID 19 restrictions, progress was being made by the Council’s estate management team with the establishment of new resident’s association for Balgaddy and a works programme for the area drafted in consultation with the residents. Works completed to date include the installation of new communal door prototype at Foxdene Avenue and structural repair works to the Balgaddy Family and Childcare Centre. In addition to repairs have been carried out to balconies and stairways within the development and the cleaning of communal areas and maintenance requests in the estate have been prioritised with approximately 480 maintenance responses. We also continue to follow-up on our commitments in relation to transfers and re-let works in Balgaddy with 3 homes prioritised for refurbishment in 2020 and a further 5 transfer applications facilitated this year to address legacy maintenance issues.