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The Scandal Of Timber Wharf: Part Five (The Good News)

NHBC agrees to contribute £700k towards £1m cost of roof repairs

Written by . Published on August 5th 2014.

The Scandal Of Timber Wharf: Part Five (The Good News)

Jill Burdett has followed the disgrace of the Timber Wharf saga at every step for Confidential.

You may want to read Part OneTwoThree and Four first.

SOME GOOD news at last for owners at Timber Wharf. Really good news.

After many months of negotiation the NHBC (National House Building Council) has agreed to contribute more than £700k towards the £1m cost of repairs to the Urban Splash building on Worsley Street.

The challenge now will be to get the remaining £300k from the other players in this sorry saga.

It has also agreed to waive the £880 excess each policy holder would usually have to pay and is further expected to fund some of the remedial works in the lobby caused by water damage.

It means that the 181 flat owners, most of whom have already contributed between £2,000 to £8,000 to the costs of the works, should get most of their money back.

With work to repair the roof already well under way and work on the seventh floor balconies starting this month, the owners must feel that an end to the nightmare is in sight.

Timber Wharf flat roof messTimber Wharf flat roof mess

Well done to the Timber Wharf management committee and to management company Mainstay for sticking with the task and getting a settlement.

The NHBC confirmed: “Following discussions with the Managing Agents and their consultants, it has been agreed that NHBC will make a financial settlement for this claim.”

A spokesperson for Mainstay said: “We can confirm that NHBC have offered a significant settlement; however, an exact figure cannot be confirmed at present as any offer is dependent on all leaseholders signing the settlement document and return the documentation to us as an acceptance that this will be a full and final settlement.

"This is ongoing and unless all of the signed documents are received, the offer could be withdrawn.

“As a positive note, the works are progressing well; the eighth floor upper roof is now completed and we have dropped the scaffolding down to start the seventh floor terraces works. These works are on schedule and we are still forecast to finish all of the exterior works at the end of October, as always this is weather dependent.”

Timber Wharf repairsTimber Wharf repairs

The challenge now will be to get the remaining £300k from the other players in this sorry saga.

As it became apparent that the roof would have to be replaced following a series of disastrous leaks, developer Urban Splash, which commissioned, constructed and signed off the Glenn Howells project, offered £155k towards the remedial work on condition that any such payment did not make them legally responsible.

I contacted Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash Co-founder and Chairman.

“Is the £155,000 you offered still on the table?” I asked. “Urban Splash is back in profit, you are about to launch a new development in New Islington, you’ve just met Prince Charles and talked legacy, NHBC has paid up, the sun is shining – can you send them a cheque?”

While Bloxham said he was delighted to see the works on the building progress, he did not know anything about the NHBC offer and had been advised by his legal team not to say anything as 'all sorts of threats of litigation are going around.'

Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban SplashTom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash

Now a big chunk of the bill has been covered, the Timber Wharf management committee would hope that the other players, namely Urban Splash, the architects Glenn Howells and the engineers Stockleys, would find themselves able to cover the rest.

Out of conscience and reputation if nothing else.

If Urban Splash stood by their original offer of £155k, the other players would be looking at around £70k each. Much better than the original £1m.

The cost of lawyers and surveyors will also have to come out of the £700k and the management committee is now wanting to see all invoices and payments before anything is agreed. They're also still negotiating with NHBC about the cost of repairing damage caused by flooding.

The suggestion is that as it stands now owners should get back 60% to 70% of the monies they have paid. They have until Friday 8 August to sign the paperwork.

Timber Wharf on the right of the canalTimber Wharf on the right of the canal

I reiterate that which I wrote eight months ago:

Timber Wharf resulted from a RIBA competition, a system which is aimed at pushing the boundaries of design and construction and back in 2002 was innovatively stunning.

Sometimes when you try new stuff it can go wrong and you won’t be damned for that, but you will be damned if you don’t put your hand up and accept responsibility.

The roof at Timber Wharf was defective a decade ago and should have been replaced then. It would have spared years of uncertainty and stress for individual owners whose apartment is their biggest asset and who are reminded of its failings every time they come home.

That they now have to pay the price of repairing a defective building is scandalous.

The owners should still fight to get 100% back.

Follow @jillburdett

Timber Wharf scaffoldingTimber Wharf scaffolding

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

rinkydinkAugust 5th 2014.

Urban Splash built it. It's their fault... I can't see it any other way

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 5th 2014.

Bloxham gets given MBEs and university chancellorships, whilst his company leave residents to suffer the consequences of defective construction. Disgusting, really.

AnonymousAugust 5th 2014.

Bit simplistic that "Rinkydink" considering Urban Splash must've employed dozens of different consultants, contractors and suppliers in the delivery of this building, Glenn Howells (architects) and Stockley (engineers) being key amongst them. But US are ultimately accountable.

DavidAugust 5th 2014.

This lady is such a good journalist.She seems to have a sense of commitment lacking in most of the local media.

AnonymousAugust 6th 2014.

thanks for everything Mancon!

Yian PhillipsAugust 6th 2014.

Wow, this is fabulous news for Timber Wharf residents! However, Urban Splash need to make urgent efforts to put this right for the remainder or this will hurt their longstanding good name and undoubtedly the sales of up and coming future developments in the region. In the long run it makes sense for them to nip it in the bud, well I guess its bigger than a bud now, so nip it in the flower or whatever. Do the right thing Urban Splash!

1 Response: Reply To This...
DanAugust 6th 2014.

The name and reputation of Urban Splash is in tatters!

Jon XAugust 6th 2014.

"People want bloody good flats and bloody good buildings. Quality, quality, quality" - Tom Bloxham at NWRI this very morning! Ha ha ha ha!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 6th 2014.

Yes they do! So did he go on to say don't buy anything Urban Splash? ;)

Anonymous ResidentAugust 6th 2014.

We've had problems with another Urban Splash building in the city centre with our roof leaking since we moved in 5 years ago. The roof is still the responsibility of Urban Splash and they only ever seem to do temporary patchwork jobs. We've got terrible damage to our beams and celining from the constant leaks! Am pushing for a final resolution through our management company Scanlans!

1 Response: Reply To This...
DanAugust 6th 2014.

What building is this if you don't mind me asking?- I live in Express Networks 3 which I think is also Urban Splash.. it's falling to bits.

DanAugust 6th 2014.

I can completely empathise with these poor people, I live in Express Networks 3 on Oldham Rd/St, it is managed by Artisan and is quite literally falling to bits. The fascia of the building is dropping off one heavy tile at a time (down onto the street below). There is currently three leaks on various floors of the building, one particular leak in the lobby has been happening for about two years.. Artisan are not in a rush to fix it.

RicAugust 6th 2014.

If NHBC were involved they would have checked the design, inspected the project as it was built and then signed it off to then provide their structural warranty (not at a small fee I may add). If there is now a defect then any cost of repair should be borne by them as is the purpose of such a warranty. 70% is not a win just another case of them copping out of their duties as an insurer.

AnonymousAugust 8th 2014.

Credit where credit is due, Mainstay and especially Kate have been brilliant throughout this process and have kept fighting for the residents against some very devious companies. I will be very annoyed if Urban Splash are given any more local authority contracts as they are building buildings with no lasting legacy other than some clever design aesthetics. Once the gloss has worn off we are left with crappy developments that wont stand the test of time. It all smacks of the Emperor’s New Clothes and the fact that Bloxham has actively turned away from any responsibility is disgusting. When are the senior figures in Manchester (namely MCC) going to recognise the cries of residents and stop giving this cowboy set up more contracts?????

AnonymousAugust 8th 2014.

what's the current state of the smithfield building

AnonymousAugust 8th 2014.

Same problems in the Smithfield buildings and all Urban Splish Splash developments. Also major problems with the electrics and concrete. Urban Splash are selling off their stock to social housing companies and basically doing a runner across the board.

AnonymousAugust 9th 2014.

Time and again companies like this are able to provide a shoddy product or service, then walk away with the money and have no recourse. Beyond disgusting.

AnonymousAugust 9th 2014.

I am so frustrated reading this. Don't get me wrong happy for timber wharf residents but I live opposite in burton place and our roof failed and our apartment flooded I was forced to sleep on a mattress in the dining room for 18 months and mainstay made many promises but were absolutely useless and actually owe us over £600 which they are refusing to pay. I have sold my apartment now because I totally fell out if love with my apartment.

Lara HaynesNovember 21st 2014.

NHBC are yet to refund these monies and Mainstay are not exactly proactive in chasing.

AnonymousNovember 27th 2014.

I hope Tom Bloxham is going to have a very Merry Xmas unlike the leaseholders at Timber Wharf who are still waiting for their money back from NHBC which was promised at the end of Sept, personally representing £5.5k. All because Urban Splash built a defective building and failed to appropriately insure it. How is it that Tom continues to live a lavish lifestyle living in a penthouse and able to run 2 posh cars with his own driver that he continues to park in the Timber Wharf car park ! Rubbing salt into the wounds. Given that Timber Wharf is not the only building experiencing problems hoe has this company got away with this.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2015.

all Urban Splash developments have serious issues: urbansplashnightmares.blogspot.co.uk/…

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