Water sprinklers – Questions and (attempted) Answers

Introduction

Before we get into the questions and answers (Q&As) is should be noted that the answers are provided on best efforts basis and the reader should make their own efforts to confirm the answers.

The following relates to some of the questions which have been asked by various individuals.

  1. How much is this going to cost?

According to the Council, the initial cost is between £3,000 and £4,000 – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/questions-to-the-council-regarding-the-3000-to-4000-water-sprinkler-charge/

The London Assembly has some thoughts on cost variation – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/gla-document-on-retrofitting-water-sprinklers-march-2018/

2. What about ongoing maintenance cost?

There seems to have no mention of this (though happy to be corrected) yet the London Assembly estimates annual service charge impacts to be between £75 and £150 per annum – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/gla-document-on-retrofitting-water-sprinklers-march-2018/

3. Fire Risk Assessments – what does this say about water sprinklers?

Well, in many of the 2016 FRAs in section 2.6.8 it states that water sprinklers are not required – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/fire-risk-assessments-section-2-6-8/

4. I’m a leaseholder and don’t live in one of the 99 blocks impacted, should I be concerned?

That’s your choice, though something which you may wish to bear in mind is that many buildings, tall and not, share the same text in their lease – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/only-leaseholders-in-10-storeys-impacted-by-water-sprinklers/

5. I’m not sure where my lease is, how can I get another copy of it?

If you’re stuck the Council can provide another copy of it though there is a fee – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200373/i_am_a_leaseholder/106/council_leaseholders/3

6. The Council has commented on a mortgage lender not lending on tall buildings without water sprinklers?

That’s true though the lender has a low market share so should this be a consideration? – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/mortgage-lenders-not-lending-on-tall-buildings-without-water-sprinklers/

6. Will this impact future major works schedules?

Such impacts should perhaps be considered due to the financial implications to leaseholders and the Council’s overall budgeting. Examples are whereby some leaseholders have already had one or more recent major works costs. One such example is outlined – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/alton-leaseholders-meeting-some-notes-6th-november-2017/

7. Has any legal advice been sought for challenging this?

Yes there has and there is some work ongoing in seeking a lawyer for additional support, though there are various strands currently looking into this. Some of the advice offered is below;

LEASE – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/what-does-the-citizens-advice-bureau-suggest-regarding-water-sprinklers/

Citizens Advice Bureau – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/feedback-from-lease-regarding-retro-fitting-water-sprinklers/

8. I’d like to try and speak with other leaseholders in my building though not sure which flats are leasehold?

Yes, this can be tricky, though some ideas are provided at – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/how-to-locate-leaseholders-in-your-block/

Also, it has been highlighted how you can find out the number of leaseholders (resident and non-resident) and council tenants per block at – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/questions-to-wandsworth-borough-council-about-water-sprinklers/

9. I didn’t see either of the show flats, are there photos I can see?

We’ve tried our best and the following has photos of both;

Flat #1 – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/view-sprinkler-show-flat-4-may-2018/

Flat #2 on Alton Estate – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/alton-estate-water-sprinkler-show-flat/

10. Didn’t the Council suggest that a ‘small number of leaseholders’ have raised concerns?

That has been mentioned in Question 4 of the Council’s Questions and Answers session on 6th December 2017 – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/council-questions-and-answers-about-water-sprinklers-6-december-2017/

Not sure this claim to be a ‘small number’ holds based on the First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT) recent ask for a larger venue for the holding of the Tribunal – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/breaking-news-about-sprinklers-from-the-tribunal/

11. Is there any impact on contents insurance?

Anecdotally, we have heard of one leaseholder calling their contents provider to ask the question and apparently this made no difference to the contents insurance policy and cost. However, this would (it is guessed) vary for each situation and it might be an idea if you speak with your contents provider to ask about any potential impacts.

12. What about buildings insurance impacts?

Council seems to think it will result in reduction to service charges though it may not make much difference to the service charge bottom line – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/retro-fitting-water-sprinklers-impact-on-building-insurance/

13. Some people have raised concerns about asbestos becoming a problem?

At best, we can only share what we have come across – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/retro-fitting-water-sprinklers-and-asbestos-concerns-raised/

14. How many days off work do I need to have a think about for installation, should I take time off work?

No information, that we know of, has been made available on this by the Council, however, one might consider Croydon’s experience as a proxy, refer to questions (8, 14 and 19) – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/faqs-about-water-sprinklers-by-croydon-council/

15. Has this situation been covered in the media?

On a few occasions it has, more recently, the following examples;

Sprinkler madness and Council incompetence (putneysw15)

http://www.putneysw15.com/default.asp?section=community&link=http://appasp.putneysw15.com/server/app/forum/ShowMessage.asp?ID=1270495

Residents Planning Protest Over Sprinkler Charges (putneysw15)

http://www.putneysw15.com/default.asp?section=info&link=http://neighbournet.com/server/common/consprinklersprotest001.htm

Even after Grenfell, tower block residents are being ignored (The Guardian)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/31/grenfell-tower-block-tenants-tragedy?CMP=share_btn_fb#comment-119948786

Wandsworth residents concerned over council plans to retrofit sprinklers in tower blocks (Wandsworth Guardian)

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/16685359.wandsworth-residents-concerned-over-council-plans-to-retrofit-sprinklers-in-tower-blocks/

16. Anything else about water sprinklers?

Type ‘water sprinklers’ in the search section to see the many articles about this topic.

What do you think?

Please leave a comment on the blog with your thoughts.

 Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section. Please note that if an email is sent any response might be part of a generic group email.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

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