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Jacobs Court Scaffolding


Alastair
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Does anyone know the history behind why there is scaffolding around the stair and lift tower behind Jacobs Court on Commercial Street?

Research shows that planning permission for this tower was granted in 2005 but was found to be in contravention of building regulations sometime after that. The scaffolding has been in place for many years now which is a shame as the main building is quite beautiful both inside and out.

Is there a plan to have the work completed or will it stay like this forever?

Scaffolding.thumb.JPG.feff30da087da1cafef44cf2406295ea.JPG

Jacobs Court.JPG

Interior.jpg

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Posted March 8

From the Council's 2019 contract register

Jacobs Court scaffolding

Reference Number: N/A

Contract Title: Jacobs Court scaffolding
    
Directorate: Economy and Place

Department: Building control
    
Brief Description of Contract: No entry

Supplier: Lyndon Scaffolding PLC

Supplier Status SME / VCS: N/A

Company and/or Charity Registration Number: 934513

Estimated Contract Value: £52,800

Estimated Annual Value: £4,800

VAT not recoverable: N/A    

Start Date: 22/05/2015    

End Date: 31/08/2020    

Review Date: 31/08/2019    

Option to Extend: Yes

Extension End Date: TBC    

Quotation or Tender: Quotation    

Nature of Contract: Services

Funding Source: Council funded    

Sector Type: Private    

Register Entry Comments: This is an on-going maintenance contract for a scaffold to support Jacobs Court that has been determined to be in a dangerous condition. The scaffold was initially erected to make the building safe, and requires monthly maintenance in line with the HSE guidelines.

No scaffolding inside the building so presume it's either the fitting of the window frames, cladding or metal frame structure. Didn't the building inspector check at the various building stages?

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Well perhaps someone could ask Paul Tobin who was the developer?

Did he build something dodgy and just walk away with the profit from the development without a care for structure? I understand he creates a limited company to carry out development but then closes it down when the building is complete so he can walk away without any comeback

To me it does seem wrong that we re picking up the bill for scaffolding to hold up a private persons development apparently indefinitely.

Good old Paul was also the developer of the flats in Greyfriars Avenue by the river - should the owners of those be worried?

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The giveaway to the structure, when viewed from Kyrle Street, is that there are no work platforms and no access ladders. So it isn't so much a scaffolding structure in the true sense of the phrase (as, for example, can currently be seen along the frontage of The Green Dragon Hotel), but rather it is a temporary engineering support. But what is it supporting? And for how much longer will it be stuck up there?

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The glazing and framing were assessed as having the potential to fail, potentially allowing one or more large pieces of glass to fall. 
As a public safety issue, and with the developer conveniently no longer answering the phone, Building Control were obliged to step in and make the building safe. Unfortunately the Council Tax payer is having to pick up the bill for this open ended arrangement whilst the developer manages his six other development companies. Presumably nothing will happen until the leaseholders of the flats can muster enough funds to put the matter right (and, in the meantime, their properties must be blighted). Given the last accounts of Jacobs Court Management Company Limited showed a grand total of £8 in the bank, I doubt we'll ever get our money back.

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@twowheelsgood: Many thanks for this information. Since you say that HC has been picking up the tab for the rent of this safety structure, is there any way of discovering what it has cost us council tax payers over the last 14 years? Or perhaps Cambo (always an expert on scaffolding and roofing) would care to hazard a guess?

Your observation that the occupants' properties "must be blighted" is extremely accurate: according to one report, an unfortunate owner discovered she couldn't move as there were no willing purchasers.

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Thank you kindly for all for your inputs.

So does Mr Tobin have any legal responsibility for the shortcomings of the structure or was this mess just passed onto the current leaseholders? I also note that he currently represents several building development companies, so he must be contactable:

  • Wellington Developments (Hereford) Limited
  • Kings Acre Developments (Hereford) Limited
  • Clt 1973 Limited
  • St Martin's Developments (Hereford) Ltd
  • Fryers Gate (Hereford) Limited
  • Riverside Construction (Hereford) Limited

It would be interesting to know what actually went wrong with the build and what the cost of remedying the underlying problems would be?

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Thank you @Denise Lloyd and yes @twowheelsgood, I agree!

There are a few possible outcomes to this:

  1. Developer Paul Tobin takes responsibility for fixing the construction (but with the time elapsed this seems unlikely)
  2. The leaseholders have the work completed (but probably don't have the financial resources). It would be useful to know the estimated costs for this.
  3. Nothing is done and the scaffolding remains indefinitely at taxpayers' expense. At some point this expense will exceed the cost of fixing the construction in the first place.
  4. The structure is condemned and the apartments are rendered uninhabitable.

If the council is already resigned to the ongoing expense of maintaining scaffolding, then could a plan be made between the various parties to remedy the defects and cap the total expense?

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

The same article was posted at Hereford Times, but with some interesting comments. 

is it possible that that there is actually nothing wrong with the structure after all? Where can one find the report on the deficiencies which resulted in the council's decision to erect the scaffolding in the first place?

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You can't, easily. It's a Building Control matter and none of their stuff is in the public domain in the way that planning is. You would have to do a FOI request, I think.

Comments by 'Thetruthwillcomeoutintheend' (Mr Tobin?) in the HT were largely spurious and inaccurate.

Architects don't 'supervise'. This implies a continuous presence on site.

Architects don't issue 'guarantee's'. They can issue Professional Consultants Certificates which are normally valid for 6 years.

Building Control don't 'supervise'.

Drawings don't get 'lost' in this digital age.

it would seem to me that resident's should be well aware of what has happened and should be talking to the Council via their management company to establish a way forward and a way to repay the Council for the costs incurred and imposed on the council tax payer for deficiencies in a private development.

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  • 2 years later...

Update - This is what the Council say

Jacobs Court has a long convoluted history. It has been approx. 10 years since the structure was deemed dangerous and scaffold erected, to protect the structure and glazing, which has remained in situ ever since. Due to their historically being no resident management company the tower and communal areas fell to the crown. Due to concerns over the deterioration of the scaffold and the health and safety requirements monthly scaffold inspections were commissioned in 2015 at a cost of £400 + vat pcm ((£400x 12) 6years = £28k.) There is a charge on the property in relation to the dangerous structure and the initial cost of the scaffold erection of (£32 890 + vat) which we hope to use as a mechanism to recoup the ongoing expenditure. We are now currently in talks with the newly reformed residents management company to try and resolve this, which we hope will finally end the ongoing costs.

So even if the Council can end the monthly charge the chances of getting the money back are almost nil. Poor work by the developer and yet again we foot the bills - currently over £60K and increasing every month

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On 06/05/2019 at 00:53, Alastair said:

The same article was posted at Hereford Times, but with some interesting comments. 

is it possible that that there is actually nothing wrong with the structure after all? Where can one find the report on the deficiencies which resulted in the council's decision to erect the scaffolding in the first place?

I have just read this interesting comment;

Quote

Thetruthwillcomeoutintheend11th April 2019 02:15 pm

 I know this building and the developer very well and there are some things factually wrong with this article. What the Hereford times might want to report is that when the this was built it was supervised by an award winning architect which went on to issue an architects certificate (guarantee). Also Hereford building control supervised this build and signed off the work. There was a very large structural engineering company from Bromsgrove who issued all the engineering drawings and calculations. The purpose built new glass lift tower was designed and erected by Goldvale steel fabrications who employ their own structural engineer to calculate the steels used. 
The issue is that Martin Peters (one man band) , a local retired structural engineer said that the glass on the lift tower could fall out so the Hereford council were obliged to erect the scaffolding to prevent any danger to the public. Interestingly Martin Peters opinion is different to the award winning Architect, a large structural engineer company (over 100 staff) and the structural engineer from the steel company, and also the fact that in the 17 years the building has been up no glass has fallen out ?
What has also not been reported is the fact that the Hereford Council has lost 2 sets of engineering drawings for the glass tower so now this tower has to be reverse engineered. 
It's a shame that people and newspapers don't get their facts right before they report any slander on a developer who has also brought Hereford a entry gate land mark building as in Fryers Gate (new apartments built recently by the river)
The developer of Jacobs court has gone on to build over 40 properties so I'd be more than happy and confident of his abilities.

Hmmm, I wonder who could have written this with so much detail? 🤔

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On 29/06/2021 at 08:19, Aylestone Voice said:

Update - This is what the Council say

Jacobs Court has a long convoluted history. It has been approx. 10 years since the structure was deemed dangerous and scaffold erected, to protect the structure and glazing, which has remained in situ ever since. Due to their historically being no resident management company the tower and communal areas fell to the crown. Due to concerns over the deterioration of the scaffold and the health and safety requirements monthly scaffold inspections were commissioned in 2015 at a cost of £400 + vat pcm ((£400x 12) 6years = £28k.) There is a charge on the property in relation to the dangerous structure and the initial cost of the scaffold erection of (£32 890 + vat) which we hope to use as a mechanism to recoup the ongoing expenditure. We are now currently in talks with the newly reformed residents management company to try and resolve this, which we hope will finally end the ongoing costs.

So even if the Council can end the monthly charge the chances of getting the money back are almost nil. Poor work by the developer and yet again we foot the bills - currently over £60K and increasing every month

I'm not sure that's full disclosure by the Council - where is the weekly/monthly hire cost for the scaffold itself? It's very unlikely that they bought it at the outset, that's just an erection cost (as they say). Further, those figures don't accord with those in the Hereford Times report.

Given the length of time that has elapsed, I would say the Council have a duty to reassess the situation, just as long as BBLP and a certain local builder don't get involved!

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