Pfi Scheme On Chalcots Estate Construction Essay

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The London Borough of Camden's' executive team agreed to extensive maintenance and repair programme proposals, for the majority of works to be delivered under a PFI scheme on Chalcots Estate. Following a stock condition survey duly submitted by Savills. The total investment planned amount is £153 million to tackle estate's structural, design problems and ensure necessary maintenance for the next 15 years are carried out. The breakdown of the total sum is £65m PFI capital works, £79.7m PFI maintenance works and £8.3m non PFI capital works.

Savills were instructed to undertake a stock condition survey by the London Borough of Camden on the 7th June 2006 of all housing stock. The main objective of the exercise was to provide accurate information regarding repairs, maintenance and improvement costs, forecasting over a 30 year term. The objectives for the exercise was to collect, validate and report upon quality and condition information about stock in order to improve existing records and future maintenance planning. Furthermore to inform the Council's Housing Strategy and Housing Investment programme, in order to assist the Council's operational level to budget for repairs, maintenance and improvement of the housing stock. Samples of the Council's housing stock surveyed were as follows, 100% external survey and 10% internal survey to tenanted dwellings. Although the stock condition survey was conducted on all Camden's housing stock this discussion is only related to the Chalcots Estate.

Type and location of the building

The location chosen for discussion is in Swiss Cottage, North London situated between south of Adelaide Road, Winchester Road is on the west and Primrose Hill Road on the east. The Chalcots Estate is social housing stock managed under Camden Council, this housing development is in council tax band D. The Estate has a mixture of both tenants and leaseholder with a total of 717 residents. The Chalcots Estate comprises of five tower blocks, four of which are 23 storeys high construction (Burnham, Bray, Dorney and Taplow) built on a podium. The blocks have seven flats per floor with one basement structure. The fifth tower Blashford is located off the main site and has a separate basement structures, both basements have stores and car parking facilities. Blashford tower block contains seven flats per floor and has 19 floors.

Even though the selection for a building in this case relates to more than one building, however there is no difference in the defect chosen for discussion as the buildings method and period of construction is same. In addition all the five tower blocks are due for the maintenance programme to be discussed ahead and have not been altered since they were constructed about over 40 years ago. (Camden Councils Capital Strategy-09)

Materials/Technology used in building Construction Type

The Chalcots Estate construction started in 1965 and was finished by 1970, as one of the largest post-war redevelopment scheme, the Le Corbusier design influence by Dennis Lennon & Partners in consultation with S.A.G. (British History Online)

The materials and technology used in constructing the tower blocks is grey concrete blocks with aluminium panels. Concrete buildings are predominately made of a cavity wall prepared of blocks with rendered finish for external walls. Assuming that the steel frame was used to give it more of a solid foundation to hold up the weight. I use the word assume because of the height of buildings, as this type is designed to survive winds, earthquakes and even floods.

The advantages of this type of construction are the durability, fire resistant and sound proof in the case of the concrete. In addition to concrete blocks acting as good energy efficiency because of the heat storage means and the fact that it takes longer for the heat to discharge through the walls. And, furthermore steel does not change shape, sag or crack, it is non combustible.

However there are disadvantages such as, concrete can take longer to construct because of the time it takes waiting for it to set and may look out of scale. Image 1 is a picture of the fifth tower block 19-storey Blashford.

Image 1 Blashford

Image source: Camden New Journal

Article by Kim Janssen

The Rusted Window Frames Defect and the Cause of the Defect

The estate underwent a major Decent Homes Refurbishment programme involving various defects, this paper will only consider the rusted window frames works defect and merely debate the likely related factors or causes to this defect.

While the estate was in poor condition the buildings were structurally sounds, the windows frames were rusted due the lack of maintenance.

The Responsibilities of the Authorities for this maintenance

The landlord's contractual repairing covenants, if breached would be enforced through the following relevant statutes such as, the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Housing Act 1985, S11 of the Landlord & tenant Act 1985 and common law. The owner has contractual repairing obligations which are expressed or implied in the tenancy agreement between the landlord and the occupant. In addition, if the roof defect is left untreated, for instance through water penetration or the lack of weather tight, could cause structural damage to other fabric and the entire building structure which in turn can make the building unsafe. Take for example if the floor gives way whilst a visitor is standing on it and they got injured as a result of this defect, the owner or occupier may be found liable under the following legislation, the Occupiers liability Act 1984, the Building Act 1984 or the Defective Premises Act 1972. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 under S11 places substantial legal duty on the landlord to maintain and repair properties they let out to tenants regardless of whether the agreement is written or oral, although there are various exceptions which will not be discussed in this paper in order not to deflect from the essay topic. Furthermore, other recent legislation that needs to be considered is the Housing Act 2004, the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and the Decent Homes Standards (DHS) introduced in 2000. The HHSRS identifies a number of hazards that can exist due to poor standard of housing, although the DHS mainly applies to social housing which is required to be warm, weatherproof and to have reasonably modern facilities. (

How the maintenance programme was planned

Procurement methodology/Contract type and Reason for the procurement type

The procurement of the capital programme through partnering and framework agreements has been used a two stage tender process was invited by Camden's executive team. After potential contractor partners submitted expressions of interest (EOIs) the Councils' Strategic Procurement Unit team vetted and chose a list of qualifying applicants, from the tenders issued and five were returned. On the 30th January 2008 the executive team shortlisted three of their preferred bidders and negotiated their best final offer. After evaluation two contractors represented best value for the Council, the two were approved after consultation with leaseholders. And the final tender was awarded in June 2008. (Camden Councils Capital Strategy-09)

The Government set out mechanisms to address investment need in social housing, in 1999 the first round of housing PFI projects, the London Borough of Camden (LBC) was invited to apply for pathfinders' status. Where the local authority enters a long service contract with private providers, in return for a based unitary charge the PFI operator gets contracted to bring social housing stock up to decent standard and maintains the standards.


According to the London Borough of Camden's' refurbishment and major repair works report, the aims of this project is to secure and deliver substantial investment on Chalcots estate. After the maintenance programme is completed it should improve the residents' quality of life, who has suffered the effects of poor design and construction deterioration after over 40 years, due to lack of maintenance. Owing to the private finance initiative which has given the Council a chance to invest in Chalcots estate through the refurbishment and major repair works programme.