Sometimes we are told the reason why, when asked to take over the management of a block of long-leasehold apartments, sometimes not. However, it always becomes apparent in time. This time it was obvious from day one! It’s not always a block management horror story, but these apartment owners were totally reassured that their building was safe with a sprinkler system being the ultimate protection for their homes.
Successful Right to Management was the first key step!
Following a successful Right to Manage process Peninsula Management was asked to manage this impressive modern block of apartments. Our first step is always to undertake a comprehensive survey of the common areas, including a full audit of the existing management systems.
Given unfettered access to inspect the intricacies of whole building, our inspection is always thorough and comprehensive. Having picked up a few issues to deal with, this particular tour ended in the pump room, the heart of the building’s sprinkler system, a key safety feature of this impressive development, not generally found in apartment blocks in our area.
Looking closely, I looked at the water tank which was full. A good sign I thought. I followed the pipe leading from the tank to feed the sprinkler system, which looked to the right size and specification, with various impressive values and controls. All looking good. However, a major problem soon became obvious. The 11kw pump was conspicuous by its absence! There just wasn’t one! Shocked, my further research showed from the records that that this had been the case for four years! Were the apartment owners aware? Did any apartments change hands during that time and were the buyers informed? What was the insurance company’s understanding? I’m sure having a sprinkler system was a key question on the application. Part of our initial investigation which is compulsory of any block we take on, is checking the insurance cover. Our further investigations revealed that the building was under-insured too, by some £3.3million. Several accidents (potentially catastrophic) were waiting to happen, with the apartment owners in total ignorance!
Make sure yours isn’t another block management horror story!
Ignorance is no defence directors and all apartment owners should have confidence in the apartment block management arrangements; the impact for everyone doesn’t bear thinking about!
Rupert Hambly | Director