Door replacement program

Yesterday, 2nd November 2020, I had a visit to the AD Construction Group site to inspect those new doors, THH tenants have to have and leaseholders have an option to also instal.

The doors comply with British Standard 476, which I understand to be compliant to a 30m fire resistance inside and out. Unfortunately our current Masterdors do not hold out longer than 15 mins.

The new regulations in force and in light of the Grenfell tragedy require all front doors to comply with fire safety standards. This includes that fire doors no longer are self-locking. This means in practise all residents who have these new doors can never forget to lock their doors manually when they leave their dwelling for any amount of time.

Leaving those doors unlocked will allow anybody to enter the dwelling by pressing down the door handle, unless it has been locken with a key.

I enquired about smart locking, e.g. like cars, with a smart key that can also be used for smart services like Alexa, which enables us to voice activate and program our applicances. Unfortunately this option is not available with those dooors. I would strongly support it.

Also it has to be noted that the letterbox flap on the inside of the doors does not open furhter than around 45 degrees, which doesn’t allow the pushing through of larger and thicker envelopes.

We will be notified when Parkview is due to have the doors renewed.

posters damage tiles

I have had quite a lot of communications with Tower Hamlets Homes about them sticking posters into communal areas with duck tape and strong sticky tape. Yesterday those THH letters were removed and replaced with letter from the Mayor through our letter boxes.

The damage from the removed notices can be seen on the pic.

It must be cheaper for THH to put up notice boxes permanently instead of using strong sticky tape, which removed the tiles as well as the poster.

MyTHH

After some effort, I have now finally succeeded in getting a new log-in for MyTHH to discover that the report a repairs section advises users to download Adobe Flash.

The problem with that is, that for Internet browsers like Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, which are used by people with laptops and desk top computers, the support for Adobe Flash will stop in December 2020. Internet Explorer shows a clear warning that Adobe Flash will no longer supported after December 2020.

This is probably the reason why Facebook had a major re-programming of their site and all graphics now look different.

Some games operating via Facebook, which use Adobe Flash make clear notices that they will no longer work via Desktop or laptop computers after December 2020 but will still work for mobile devices such as phones or tablets if you download as Apps.

I have written to MyTHH because their website does not have any notice on MyTHH making users aware that most likely if they use a laptop or desktop to access the service after December 2020, they won’t be able to use it, if it continues to operate on Adobe Flash on all service platforms.

People also complained about service functionality on Twitter.

I have not seen MyTHH having an APP to use their service and I am quite amazed that their technical advice is non existent about this.

I am just quite annoyed as well because the last time I tried to report a repair, which was not classified as urgent, the phone operator forced me to report that repair via MyTHH and refused to accept it over the phone.

THH must make the technical changes to allow the service to function.

Door functionality

After writing to councillors, MP and THH, to alert them to design features of the new doors, THH have now confirmed that they will speak with AD about options. Our local Member of Parliament Rushanara Ali has also confirmed she is supporting this issue.

New doors – locking mechanism

The manager of AD Construction Group has now found the time to speak to me over the phone and tried to explain remotely how the new doors work.

What bothers me is that in none of the paperwork we received from either Tower Hamlets Homes or AD Construction was there any specification of the locking mechanism.

Apparently fire-proof is the overriding functionality of the doors at the expense of safety and crime prevention – in my view anyway.

As far as I understand it, the doors do not close when they shut. You can re-open them simply by pulling down the door handle, even from the outside.

You will have to lock the door with a key each time you go out for any reason.

Otherwise imagine you just want to pop to the rubbish chute, just get something from the car or pick something up from nearby, your door won’t lock when it closes from the outside. Anybody can re-open your door by pulling down the handle, unless you lock it with a key each time you go out.

Of course that will cost you a few more seconds each time you leave, it might also be more complicated having to put down your bags and lock the door instead of just trusting in the door to lock itself. And hopefully you do not forget to lock those doors as otherwise anybody can just open it from the outside. Apparently changing the locking mechanism would make the fire-proof certification of the doors invalid. I think that is hilarious if not ridiculous.

From the inside, there is no lock for a key, there is a type of knob.

Not sure how you make sure that nobody can open the door from the outside if you have to lock it to be closed but you can’t put a key on the inside.

It seems rather tedious for forgetful people, young people, old people who may not have the presence of mind to lock the door each time they step away from their front door.

I have tried to get a viewing on those doors to see for myself but that can be end of this week, start of next week. Apparently Tower Hamlets Homes has already approved those doors without ever giving out specifications as to their functionality.

I think you got to assess risk by taking the whole circumstance into consideration. Of course such doors are ideal for a highly volatile, high risk environment like a high-rise tower block but in ground-floor dwellings, which do not have any other security monitoring in place, a door that doesn’t lock, increases the risk of attack and burglary immensely.

In a high-rise all intruders get monitored with CCTV systems and there are additional door entry systems but street facing properties without entry systems will be exposed to a much higher risk from intrusion and people can be followed into their flats easier and that increases the risk for vulnerable people being less protected rather than more.

Of course in high-rise blocks there is no other way of entry than through the main door but in ground level dwellings and houses there are many other entry and exit points that help escape from a fire.

It seems illogical that as long as you don’t take a fire risk, any other risk seems tolerated.

Masterdor replacement

Thanks to the swift actioning of the problem with door replacements, a building insprector came to see me today and explained that those doors, which were installed roughtly 10 years ago around our estate were made by Masterdor, the same company that supplied doors to Grenfell Tower, which were found to fail the fire safety test.

That, of course,is a very good reason to change our doors according to government advice.

Luckily the inspector was very interested in Residents’ safety and promised me to look into the problem with letterboxes. I mentioned to him the problems residents have in the blocks near the Regents canal and he will look into this early next week.

I have been offered an appointment to see the new doors and visit the site office of the company installing them.

Through the chat we had I learned that the new doors by default do not automatically lock when closing and I was very concerned about this.

I have been told that anybody has to request a self-locking lock on the door. A door that doesn’t automatically lock when it closes will give an extra opportunity for a thief to come in. Many people forget to lock doors. I said that all doors should have self-locking mechanisms unless specifically requested and not the other way around.

door replacement program

Please see an up-date to this post here.

Today I need to express concerns about the latest door replacement program carried out by the housing provider Tower Hamlets Homes.

All tenants have been offered those doors and currently I am trying to ascertain whether tenants are going to be forced to have those new doors or get threatened with loss of tenancy if they don’t.

The door replacements are taking place on a frequent basis. We’ve had 3 in as many decades.

Firstly we had those chest-nut brown wooden doors with brass letter slits and door knockers. The chestnut door frames are still around most blocks.

Please scroll through the images to compare the quality of the doors.

Door two please see an up-date to this post on this page. Apparently they are Masterdors and were in Grenfell.

Secondly – see on your left, and less than a decade ago tenants had new fire-proof and police approved security doors installed. Those doors have a triple secure letter box with inside and outside strong letter flaps. The doors are metal lined and have multi-lock mechanisms. They are also very heavy.

Now, we have received another program of door replacments. Those new doors are already installed for tenants in the blocks around the Regents Canal – Sewardstone Road and I am very concerned about their quality.

Cleland, Goodrich, Kemp and Piggott houses have the doors below.

All that’s between a fire and the outside is a flimsy brush.

When I recently handed out leaflets all around the estate I notice the flimsy letter boxes on those new doors. There is a thin pin going across the outside of the letterbox and on that hangs a letter box flap.

Unfortunately on many doors the flap has fallen off. This leaves the door without any flap and there is a brush-type fender across the inside of the letterbox, with no letter flap on the inside of the door. Here both the letter flap and the pin holding has already come off.

There is very little to stop a fire from coming out through those doors’ letter boxes.

It is beyond my understanding how Tower Hamlets Homes can describe those doors as fire-proof.

I have placed an enquiry with Tower Hamlets Homes asking whether tenants will be forced to have those low quality new doors.

The Ombudsman decision

The Ombudsman found in my favour. I complaint with respect of a service failureto do proper landscaping and maintenance.

I have been awarded £75, which is very welcome. I shall donate the money to Parkview Neighbourhood Watch because I made the complaint on behalf of residents and their safety.

I up-load the decision notice for all to see.

You can toggle between pages by moving the arrow. I omitted page 3, which just contains the signature of the officer making the decision.

I am glad that all my moaning and efforts to improve the service provision has had some results. It considerably improves residents’ safety if service provision is good.

Against the weeds

As I am on a crusade of the landscaping and gardening and maintenance of the estate, let me now point out the severe weed problem that we have around the estate.

Weeds can destroy pavements, concrete, whole walls.

I just can’t understand why the Parkview TRA, who are based at the Glasshouse, where this picture was taken, do not ensure that their own patch is weeded.

With sincere apologies to be offensive, but the TRA should be doing more to have the place tidier, especially in front of their own doorstep.

The extra planting of trrees and flowers around the estate, does not help the problem of weeds growing out of every nook and cranny on this estate.

I recently pointed out the severe lack of maitenance in case of horticulture on the estate and now find it concerning that it has to be me, as representative of Neighbourhood Watch, sorting out those problems. Just as well, that Neighbourhood Watch is independent of the TRA in this case.

So how can we trust the latest projects about the

  • Parkview Climate Task Force
  • planned Community kitchen
  • bees on roofs

when we can’t even sort out the simple weed? I think we should oppose further projects because we can’t cope with what we have now. I do appreciate there are concerns about weed killers but that is no excuse to just let them grow.

I don’t even want to hear the excuse that it has to do with Covid-19 because wherever I go, on other estates the weed problem has been sorted.

Following neighbouring estates on Twitter, I can see they are all clean of weeds.

I really do not know why our TRA can’t deal with basic problems like that but has only further projects in mind, which ignore our current problems.

planned community kitchen

The latest Parkview TRA leaflet promises the installation of a community kitchen in the Glasshouse.

I am writing to the Tower Hamlets Homes, Community Partnership Officer as we speak to ascertain that a proper Health and Safety Risk Assessment has been carried out according to HSE requirements.

Also other questions need to be asked

  • Was there a risk assessment according to HSE requirements?
  • who is qualified to staff the kitchen?
  • who is the first aider?
  • who is the fire marshall?
  • is there an accident book to record all accidents?
  • Are the rules of the Food Standards Agency been followed?
  • Was there a consultation off all affected included Gatehouse school?

After careful consideration I do not support but oppose the project because there is an increased fire risk from having a large cooking facility in the immediate vicinity of a school and that cooking facility will not have permanent staff but will be operated by random persons. It is not known what the qualificatoins of those persons will be.

Should any fire break out in the community kitchen it most likely will result in the school having to be evacuated for the sake of the safety of the children.

 

chef cooking in kitchen
Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

I’ve been informed that Tower Hamlets Council supports the installation of the Community Kitchen, I requested that they consult also with the school about this, as it is direclty next door and will be affected by problems with the increased fire risk.

I won’t be complaining about the community kitchen, but I made my reservations known. I will not be using it, I think it’s quite risky. But I suppose everybody will use it at their own peril if they wish.