Fire door upgrade works Block 1-4 – 24-28th September

Following on from our recent fire stopping works, further works are planned on 24-28th September to upgrade fire doors in Blocks 1-4. This is being undertaken as part of a number of steps to ensure the development, built in the late 1980s, is compliant with the latest health and safety guidelines relating to fire.

The work will involve replacement of electrical cupboard doors with new doors that meet the latest standards as well as upgrades to the existing block entrance and 1st and 2nd floor entry doors.

There should be minimal disruption to those in the flats although residents may experience some noise during the hours of work (9am-5pm). Houses will not be affected by this work.

Fire stopping in riser cupboards – July 20th – 22nd

Works are planned between July 20th and 22nd to undertake fire stopping in the riser cupboards in Blocks 1-4. This is being undertaken as part of a number of steps to ensure the development, built in the late 1980s, is compliant with the latest health and safety guidelines relating to fire. Furthermore, this work will serve to provide an additional level of protection to prevent possible entry points to pests such as mice etc.

The work itself will involve ensuring that any gaps where services (water, gas, electricity etc) enter the flats from the riser cupboards are filled with appropriate fire stopping material. This may also necessitate removal of existing non-compliant filling material.

There should be minimal disruption to those in the flats although residents may experience some noise during the hours of work (9am-5pm). We have sought assurances from our contractor that they will be following COVID-19 government working guidelines, which they have confirmed. Houses will not be affected by this work.

New mandatory electrical safety testing for private rental properties

Mandatory electrical safety testing for all new tenancies in England is being introduced from July 1st this year with all existing tenancies required to be compliant by April 2021, following this date the regulations will apply to all properties across the Private Rented Sector.

PWRA remind any shareholders letting out their property that complying with this regulation will also be an obligation under the terms of the lease.

Further official guidance from government was expected on June 1st, however given the ongoing Covid-19 crisis this guidance is unlikely. PWRA advice to landlords is to commission an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), fixed wiring test. These certificates are usually valid for 5 years. Landlords must rectify any Category 1 hazards immediately and Category 2 hazards as soon as possible but within 28 days.

A copy of the EICR report and its recommendations should be provided to each tenant on completion. PWRA also request that a copy of this report is sent to directors@plymouthwharf.com

Whilst the picture for renewals is less clear, landlords and agents acting on their behalf should assume that any renewing tenancies (including those that fall into Statutory
Periodic) will require inspecting and testing before the existing tenancy renews.

With that in mind and given the likely high demand for electricians, PWRA recommend you instruct works well in advance of a tenancy renewal.

Local authorities can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for a breach of the regulations. Where there are multiple breaches, the local authority can impose multiple penalties. 

PWRA do not provide recommendations of electricians or tradespeople. Electrical Safety First, the UK’s leading charity on electrical safety provide a search tool on their website that can be used to find certified registered electricians.

Parking regulations

We have recently received a number of complaints from residents around parking on the development. The parking regulations are already stated within the Lease (shared with owners – [clause 4(n)] ) and the Residents Handbook (available to owners and tenants). For awareness we are also sharing these regulations here:

Parking permits

From September 2020 a new parking permit system is being rolled out. All vehicles parked on the development must display a valid resident or visitor parking permit. Vehicles not displaying a valid permit may be subject to further enforcement including penalty fines, removal or reporting to local authorities.

Defined parking areas

Each flat is provided a specific allocated space in the area outside the block or around the central garden. The allocated spaces are defined within the Lease and Residents Handbook. For privacy reasons we do not publish the space allocation publicly here but owners and tenants can contact directors@plymouthwharf.com if unsure.

Each house is provided space on their forecourt for parking in addition to garage.

There are also a number of allocated “visitor” bays around the central garden, each one is clearly marked with a sign saying “visitor”.

Parking outside of the allocated areas is not permitted. The only exception being emergency vehicles or if explicitly agreed with PWRA board as a temporary exception. Such exceptions are typically only granted for maintenance of the overall development.

Use of allocated parking spaces

The following regulations are outlined in the Residents Handbook:

  1. Parking for the flats is in allocated spaces around the blocks and garden in accordance with the provisions of each of the Owner’s leases
  2. Flat Owners have exclusive right to use their own parking space.  Flat Owners shall not park their vehicles in other people’s allocated parking spaces – this will amount to trespass – unless they have explicit permission to do so from the corresponding owner
  3. There shall be no parking in such a way as to obstruct access to and from a resident’s allocated parking space – or allocated visitor bay
  4. Parking for the houses is in their own garages and on their own forecourts.  House Owners shall not park their vehicles in other people’s allocated parking spaces – this will amount to trespass – unless they have explicit permission to do so from the corresponding owner
  5. The Lease does provide that the five visitors’ bays may be used, if vacant, on a short-term basis only.  If these are full, then parking shall be outside the development  
  6. No parking is permitted at each end of the centre garden island as this restricts access of emergency vehicles.  No parking of bicycles or vehicles on the communal pedestrian areas  
  7. No  parking of bicycles in the flat block corridors or stairwells, nor the chaining of bicycles to railings, as maintenance of these areas is the responsibility of PWRA. There are two cycling racks to the left and right as you enter the main gates where you can park your bikes 
  8. Commercial vehicles cannot be parked anywhere on the development – unless explicitly agreed with PWRA board as a temporary exception. Such exceptions are typically only granted for maintenance of the overall development.
  9. Owners and Tenants are responsible for ensuring that their visitors comply with the parking regulations set out in the above paragraph.  The maximum stay for visitors’ vehicles in the visitor’s bays shall be 48 hours per week, after this time any visitor shall remove their vehicle from the Wharf – unless explicitly agreed with PWRA board as a temporary exception. Such exceptions are typically only granted for maintenance of the overall development.
  10. It is not permitted for residents to utilise their allocated space for commercial purposes or to rent it out for use by other people who do not reside on the development
  11. Any vehicle parked on the development must comply with government regulations – specifically be: registered with the DVLA, have up-to-date vehicle tax, have a current MOT and be roadworthy

Speed limit and direction of travel

The speed of vehicles in the Wharf shall not exceed 10 mph and vehicles shall comply with the one way system, which is clockwise from the Saunders Ness Road entrance.

Enforcement

PWRA board of directors will take action to enforce breaches of the parking regulations; including application of penalty fines, reporting to the police or even legal action if necessary.

Use of visitor bays and communal areas for parking is monitored regularly including via CCTV system where security or safety is a concern.

With regards to unauthorised use of private allocated spaces by others, we rely on residents to report this as we do not maintain a list of vehicles and their owners. Any resident whose space is being used without their permission can report this to directors@plymouthwharf.com. All emails will be treated in confidence.

Longer term we are looking to introduce a parking permit system to enable more effective policing of parking.

Use of communal areas during period of enhanced Coronavirus (COVID-19) controls

On the 23rd March the UK Government enhanced much stricter controls to reduce the spread of infection within the UK and reduce strain on essential public services. Full details of this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

At Plymouth Wharf we are lucky to have a private communal outside space that residents can use to exercise etc. However, for the safety of all residents we ask that everyone apply common sense should they do this. Furthermore, due to the restrictions we may experience reduced cleaning and refuse collection services.

For these reasons, we are asking all residents to heed the following guidance with regards use of communal areas:

  • Follow the government guidance on keeping safe distances and restricting any outing to small household groups only;
  • Only utilise the outside space if you can see it is not already busy with others and be considerate of others in terms of how much time you take up;
  • Take responsibility for tidying and disposing your waste as efficiently as possible (break down cardboard boxes, double bag refuse in black bags etc);
  • Take responsibility for keeping shared communal spaces clean (e.g. block and entrance doors etc) including wiping down with wipes / cleaning products where possible

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

We have recently received a number of queries from residents regarding the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It is important to remain calm and follow the government guidance, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

At this point we are not aware of any resident infection with COVID-19 in the development but all residents are asked to pay close attention to hygiene especially where shared facilities are concerned.

Having taken guidance from ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Associations), of which PWRA is a member, we will however be taking the following additional steps and precautions:

  • We are contacting all our suppliers and contractors to ask that they ensure they follow government guidance as well as report any instances of Coronavirus infection within their staff to us;
  • We are asking any residents who are self-isolating due to suspected Coronavirus symptoms or because they believe they are within a high risk vulnerable group to register with PWRA board of directors by emailing directors@plymouthwharf.com providing:
    • Property number
    • Reason for self-isolation
    • Number of people within the household
    • Preferred contact email and telephone number
  • Note – This information register:
    • will be kept securely and strictly in-confidence in accordance with data protection (GDPR) regulations as outlined by the ICO;
    • will not be shared with anyone outside of the PWRA board of directors;
    • will only used to monitor safety of those residents and guide ongoing policy decisions;
    • will only be held as long as the outbreak continues, whereupon it will be destroyed.
  • A number of residents have already offered to provide support such as collecting shopping or even someone to talk to for those self-isolating. Anyone requiring such assistance should either utilise the community WhatsApp group or contact us directly and we will be happy to coordinate.

Waste disposal considerations

Please pay attention to the government guidance on waste disposal particularly if you think you may have symptoms to help us reduce risk to other residents:

“When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.

Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.”

We will be sharing this same communication with all property owners via email or in writing according to their recorded preferences and kindly ask that all owners please share the link to this post with their tennants.

Driving safety and speed

We have had a number of complaints recently of people not observing the rules for driving on the development and driving with excessive speed or without due care and attention.

Residents and owners are reminded that a 10mph speed limit is in force and the development operates a clockwise one-way system. This is very clearly signed on the main entry gate.

These rules were implemented for good reason to keep everyone safe. There are a number of young families, children and pets on the development. Please remember that and ensure your visitors and any agents or tradespeople coming on your behalf also do so.

Fire Action Plan

If you discover a fire in your home:

  1. Leave your flat immediately closing all doors behind you taking all flat occupants with you
  2. Call the fire service
  3. Greet the fire crew as they arrive and give details of the fire location

If you see or hear a fire elsewhere in the development, general advice is:

  1. The building is designed to contain a fire where it starts. This means it will usually be safe to stay in your flat if the fire is elsewhere
  2. Leave your flat at once if smoke or heat affects your flat, taking all flat occupants with you, or if you are told by the fire service. If in doubt, get out

If you are in a communal area then leave the building at once by the nearest exit.

Do not:

  1. Wait to collect personal belongings 
  2. Take risks
  3. Run

To call the Fire Brigade:

Dial 999 or 112

When the operator answers give your telephone number and ask for fire. When the fire service reply give the address where the fire is:

Plymouth Wharf, London, E14 3EL

Do not end the call until the fire service has repeated the address correctly.

A copy of this Fire Action Plan  for you to print out and display in your property can be found on the link below

Riser cupboards (Block 1-4)

In responding to a recent emergency callout to investigate a potential electrical fault on the development it was found that a number of residents are storing personal possessions in the riser cupboards between the flats.

This is not permitted under the lease and presents a health and safety issue as well as affecting our buildings insurance.

The riser cupboards are part of the common areas and do not belong to flats, nor do residents have permission to use them. Their intention is not for storage, but to facilitate access to common services (gas, electric and water). As such they should remain free from obstruction at all times. Further to this, storage of any materials within these areas presents a fire risk as it allows fire to quickly spread between floors. Given recent events in London, this is of particular importance.

We request that any residents who are currently storing any personal items  in these riser cupboards remove them immediately.

We will be conducting an inspection within 7 days of all riser cupboards whereupon any items found will be removed. Any removed items will be stored for one month when, if not claimed, they will be disposed of.