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ACM Cladding in Private Blocks - October 2017


Obligation to check cladding on private sector

Managers of tall buildings over 6 stories/18m tall are reminded that they must check the building for the presence of ACM materials on/in their buildings. Free sample testing is available through Building Research Establishment via DCLG.

DCLG are placing new emphasis on private sector building owners/managers ensuring they have taken positive action to identify and test ACM materials. Importantly, DCLG are now asking for reporting on tall buildings that are ACM free to rule these buildings out of risk. This will leave a list of tall buildings that have not been checked/reported on and those buildings will be focussed on by agencies. In summary, check your tall buildings and report your finding positive and negative.  

ACM found in private tower blocks in Glasgow

Following the Grenfell Tower blaze in June, the Scottish Government ordered councils to carry out checks to see if ACM had been used on flats in their area. Glasgow City Council later revealed combustible cladding had been found on 57 private high- rise buildings.

Last month the authority said further investigations had reduced that total to 19.

Residents of two multi-storey towers blocks in Castlebank Place and 350 Meadowside Quay were written to by the Council because the material used on them was similar to that on Grenfell Tower. The letter dated October 1 told residents that they should “seek specialist fire safety advice.” The letter tells each resident they are being informed as their block is above 18m in height and “has a cladding system as part of its construction.” The material is understood to have been used to clad external lift shaft coverings on the three blocks.

Block 1 on Castlebank Place is understood to have 273sqm of cladding and the block next to it on Meadowside Quay is understood to also have 273sqm. A shorter block situated on Glasgow Harbour Terrace was identified to have three smaller areas of 37sqm of cladding in use.

Following the letter to all residents and talks between the city council and factors and owners, Glasgow City Council contractors have removed samples of cladding for inspection and testing.

 


HOHP becomes known as The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber)


The Homeowner Housing Panel (HOHP) was a Scottish Tribunal set up under the Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011. The function of the HOHP was to determine applications from homeowners in relation to disputes between them and their property factor in relation to the property factors’ statutory duties and compliance with the Property Factors’ Code of Conduct. The functions of the HOHP as well as the PRHP (Private Rented Housing Panel) transferred to The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) on 1 December 2016 as part of the changes introduced by the Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014.
The Act created two new tribunals, the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and the Upper Tribunal for Scotland, known collectively as the Scottish Tribunals. Applications from homeowners will initially be received by the First-tier Tribunal for determination with the second tier of the new structure, the Upper Tribunal for Scotland, acting as the appeal body for decisions made by the Chamber, rather than such appeals being heard in the courts. Administration of the tribunals will continue to be provided by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS). 

The Housing and Property Chamber will have a new dedicated website at www.housingandpropertychamber.scot and administration of the new tribunals is based in new offices at Atlantic Quay, Glasgow. 


Scottish Government Review Code of Conduct - March 2016


The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 (the Act) came into force on 1 October 2012. The Act introduced a code of conduct which sets out minimum standards of practice which all registered property factors are obliged to comply with. The current legislation has been operating for over three years. Scottish Government have no current plans to review the Act, but a review of the code of conduct for registered property factors established under the Act is currently underway. Any revisions to the code will be subject to public consultation and subsequent approval by the Scottish Parliament.


Launch of new information website – Under One Roof - September 2016


Under One Roof is a new information website that has been launched to provide impartial advice on repairs and maintenance for flat owners in Scotland. The website is intended to help owners understand their rights and responsibilities to maintain and manage their building as well as providing detailed technical advice to enable owners to spot problems with their buildings, check quotes from builders and understand what professionals are telling them. 

The website has been designed for owners of all types of common property (traditional stone tenements, newly built apartment blocks, ex local authority tenements, four-in-a-blocks and converted houses) and their advisers (property managers, architects, surveyoers, community organisations and advice workers). 

Visit:  http://www.underoneroof.scot/


Scottish Housing Regulator Thematic Inquiry


In 2015 the Scottish Housing Regulator undertook an inquiry into the type of services that social landlord factors provide to owners, how they calculate charges, how they measure value for money and how they inform and consult with owners. The inquiry involved a review of statistical and performance information, a survey of social landlords, interviews with owners and a review of guidance and other publications on factoring services. In May 2016 the Scottish Housing Regulator published their Thematic Inquiry on Factoring Services in Scotland and their report provides an assessment of social landlords’ provision of factoring services for owners:

 Scottish Housing Regulator


Glasgow Factoring Commission


The Glasgow Factoring Commission (GFC) was established following emerging issues associated with factoring in Glasgow. Issues included rising cost and unpredictability of fees and other charges, concerns over quality of contractor workmanship, varied quality of customer service and value for money. The aim was to investigate the operation of factoring of residential properties in the city. In January 2014 the GFC published their Final Report of the Glasgow Factoring Commission outlining their findings and making a number of recommendations.

Glasgow Factoring Commission