Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Has the embodied carbon associated with complete replacement against retention and repair of the facades been considered?

This will be assessed further during the design development.

As Crescent House is II* listed (i.e. top 7% of all listed buildings) there appears to little chance that you will be allowed to replace the facade wholesale - your replacement option. Why, therefore, are you including it in this consultation?

Consultation with the City of London Planning Department, Historic England and 20th Century Society has so far been positive in terms of the design proposals for the building. The proposals will need to be balanced with the wider Government Carbon Reduction Strategy as well as City of London's Climate Action Strategy.

What is the corporation’s commitment to maintenance? The new hardwood windows will rot just like the old ones if not maintained. Will they be painted or varnished a realistic amount or as currently the last time was 2004 when the frames were painted on the outside.

With whatever option is considered, we will be programming a cyclical maintenance programme to ensure that the lifecycle of the windows is maximised.

Has the team considered solar overheating?

Yes, heat gain is being considered within the design / scope. We are aware that some properties on certain elevations within the block suffer from overheating in the summer and are difficult to maintain the heat in the colder months. We are also aware that the heat gain in summer is made more difficult to manage for the elevation facing Goswell Road due to the impact of noise and traffic when opening windows to regulate heat.

First floor flats are cold because of the walkways in front and the rear of the shops - are you addressing this?

Other areas will be dealt with separately, subject to approvals under planning. We can confirm that we are considering cold bridging and continue to develop options regarding this. Any recommendations to be made after a full consultation with residents of both tenures, will be subject to strict planning requirements and be based on long term viability.

How will you deal with the mosaic panels on the facades, and heat loss from them? They are an important aspect of the elevations.

The team are currently exploring the possibility of insulating the edge of the slab by removing the existing mosaic tiles insulating the concrete edge and applying a render with mosaic tiles set into its surface.

Is anything proposed for the concrete walls, painted party walls or roof under croft soffit to deal with heat loss?

The problems with 'cold bridging' associated with all the flats in particular the top floor flats is recognised, and work is ongoing to address this. Where works are identified as required, they will be made with special regard to the desirability of preserving the building and its features of special architectural and historic interest.

When will the team provide an assessment of the anticipated disruption to the residents?

We are in the early stages of the feasibility and design stages, but we are aware that the works will involve a certain level of disruption to residents. This will be managed very sympathetically, and we will endeavour to keep disruption minimised as far as is reasonably practicable.

Is there any indication of how long the works will take from start to finish and how this will affect residents?

At present we are prioritising Crescent House due to the Grade II* listing and the current condition of the windows. The priority/programming for the remaining blocks has yet to be agreed but we will be reviewing this and making it available to residents in the remaining blocks. The overall programme is subject to a number of factors, such as Planning, section 20 Leaseholder consultations, the final option chosen, a successful tender for the works and final City of London Spending Committee approval once the works are tendered. Subject to the above we are estimating for the works to Crescent House to commence later this year.

When will work on the other buildings begin?

Work on the other buildings is in its very early stages. We will carry out pre-application consultations with planners, stakeholders and residents prior to the submission of the respective planning application.

Could the double glazing be optional? and only pay for the maintenance of the frames?

The final design solution will apply to the entire block. In order to address the issues it requires a wholescale approach as planning approvals will not likely be approved for an ad-hoc approach. There will be no "opt in" or "opt out" solutions.

When will the costs be known? Is there a time estimate for when we will be told the likely costs of the operation? How much is it going to cost leaseholders?

Once the scope of the various options has been further defined, we can produce cost estimates with a greater degree of accuracy. Cost estimates will be further refined as we proceed through the design stages, and we will keep residents informed throughout. We will also be liaising extensively with City of London’s Home Ownership Team and providing them with the cost estimates in order to ascertain leaseholder’s expected contributions.

Condensation can be solved by opening windows, why make it such a big issue leading to windows replacement?

Not everyone opens windows, particularly given the noise and traffic pollution issues on Goswell Road and loss of heat during the colder months. The condition of the windows is also a major consideration and the options under consideration need to address central government targets around carbon reduction as well as City of London Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy. Our resident’s comfort is also of importance to us, so we need to consider the most viable options that meet the requirements of the project. Sadly, opening a window or fitting a pair of curtains simply isn’t going to address the complexity of the project requirements.

Are there any other ways I can have my say on the proposals?

Yes, please call our freephone number 0800 955 1042 between 9am and 5.30pm, Monday-Friday. You can also email us at [email protected] or write to our freepost address Freepost RTXU-JGSR-KHLE, (Golden Lane), Your Shout, 28 China Works, SE1 7SJ.

When will a planning application be submitted?

A planning application for a Pilot Project in Crescent House has now been approved. Click here to view it.

Will I have to leave my home when work is carried out?

It is our ambition to carry the work so that it causes as little disruption to residents as possible. It is yet to be decided whether it will be necessary for residents to vacate their properties whilst work is carried out. We will of course, keep residents informed throughout the process.

What are the project’s benefits to residents?

This project seeks to address the issues mentioned previously without compromising the unique aesthetic of the estate.

Why has the programme slipped so badly?

The pilot programme has not slipped, and progress has been steadily made with the numerous surveys required prior to work starting. Each of the conditions also need discharging as part of the Listed Building Consent and this makes up a lot of time to deliver the pilot project.

Will I be able to visit the pilot flat to see it before works start and after each of the options is completed?

The pilot flat will be available to view during the repair. Please register your interest via our website and we will make the flat available for residents to visit.

Is wall insulation inside the pilot flat included?

Wall insulation is no longer being considered as part of the pilot project or as part of the repair and refurbishment project for the remaining windows. Insulation will be included where regulation requirements state it should be used.

Will treatment of a boiler flue (even a dummy flue) be included in the pilot flat?

Yes. Dual aspect flats are likely to be able to remain on gas heating but flues may need to be re-positioned. Single aspect flats are unlikely to be able to remain on gas central heating due to the flue arrangements and changes in regulation. This is beyond the project teams’ control but we are aiming to demonstrate the electric heating option within the pilot flat for residents to view.

Will I have to leave my flats for works - if so, where will I go - and what if I refuse?

For the repair option, the work required to each window will vary and can have an effect on whether or not you residents will need to leave their flats for the duration of the work or can remain whilst repairs take place.

For significant work to the windows, a safety barrier may be introduced or residents will be asked to leave the flat for a period while the works are carried out. A decanting strategy will be in place and alternative places for residents to stay will be offered. The decanting strategy will inform residents on what measures will be required put in place for the residents whilst not in their homes.

Will I have the option of leaving my flat for works if I can’t face it?

Yes, a decanting strategy will be in place to offer residents a safe and warm place to stay whilst the work takes place.

Where can residents store possessions during works to keep them safe, dry and clean?

Measures will be in place to protect possessions, floor coverings etc. as much as is reasonably practical. If there are possessions of particular personal value, residents are expected to store these safely and securely away from any areas of work. Storage can be provided but these will be at the residents’ risk and residents should check with insurers as to whether these items are still covered if they are damaged or stolen.

How long will works to each flat take from start to finish - and in view of 5x overrun on GAH will the contractor pay compensation to residents for delay?

The time taken to complete the work to a flat will be dependent on a number of factors, such as the amount and condition of windows. Before any work starts to the property, the contractor will provide a programme of the work required and how long it is expected to take to complete. These details will be shared with residents.

Great Arthur House has a different window system and is not comparable to the work being completed on Crescent House.

Will it be safe in my flat during works and will there be gas heating / electricity if I stay?

Yes, if residents are expected to remain in their home while works are carried, it will always be safe. Should any work that is required impact on the safety of residents then alternative accommodation will be provided.

Will there be safe access to (and fire escape routes from) my flat when works are done to other people’s flats?

Safe access (emergency or otherwise) will be maintained at all times during the work and any changes to routes into or out of the building will be communicated and appropriately signposted, including emergency exit signage.

What happens if one or two residents agree then withdraw their agreement for contractor access, threatening progress for all (as happened at GAH)?

Residents may refuse access to properties for many reasons. The contractor is expected to prepare for this, and regular contact will be maintained with residents to help allay any concerns or manage the access before significant effect can occur to the project. There is also the option to start another property at short notice or continue with other works until reasonable access can be made to complete the work.

Great Arthur House has a different window system to Crescent House and had to be dealt with in a different manner.

Will existing boiler flues be accommodated?

Where it is safe to do so and regulations allows, properties could remain on a gas heated system, but flues may need to be repositioned.

It is unlikely that single aspect properties will be able to remain on a gas heating system due to regulation changes and the proximity of openable windows. Residents affected by these changes will be contacted separately.

Is it proposed to work on all 152 flats at once, on one at a time?

There will likely be a sequenced work programme created by the main contractor for the windows. This will be agreed nearer the date and time that work is to start on site.

Is wall insulation inside flats included?

Wall insulation is no longer being considered as part of the pilot project or as part of the repair and refurbishment project for the remaining windows. Insulation will be included where regulation requirements state it should be used

Is the ground floor soffit (beneath the coldest, first floor flats) to be insulated as promised?

The ground floor soffit will see insulation design completed but may not form part of this particular sequence of work.

Will roof insulation be included, as promised?

The roof will need to conform to Part L of the Building Regulations and insulation will be required to ensure conformity with these.

Has the district hot water heating scheme been finally abandoned?

There are no plans to pursue a district or communal heating scheme for Crescent House currently.

Will the shopping arcade be included?

The commercial units on the ground floor are not included in this project.

Will making good the bungled concrete repairs be included, by pressure washing or similar?

The window project will be to make good any disruption caused by the window refurbishment.

Will rents increase as a result of the works?

Rents are set initially with reference to a formula which adheres to the rules set by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Rents are then reviewed annually and are subject to maximum increases, again with reference to the rules set by central government. We are not able to increase rents outside the formula, for instance to cover additional maintenance or project costs.

Why have the project costings, first promised three years ago, still not been provided?

Costs have been provided as part of any leasehold requests with sales and estimated costs have been shared when appropriate. The cost estimates will be shared as and when they are updated. Further information can be requested via the Homeownership via the following email address: [email protected]

Are the costs of the options part of the appraisal of the options, and if so what weight are costs given? If they are not, why not?

The decision has been made to pursue only a repair and refurbishment option and the other considered options will no longer apply.

Is the Quantity Surveyor appointed and is the QS making strategic input?

A quantity surveyor has been appointed and has been fundamental in calculating the costs for the various options and has completed soft market testing with suppliers, manufacturers and contractors.

When will leaseholders have costings of the three options (total and broken down per flat)?

Only one option will now apply, and these costs are now being shared with colleagues in the homeownership team.

When will leaseholders payment stages be produced?

The final costs will not be known until the work has been tendered. Once we have these costs, we can share these with colleagues in the Homeownership team who will in turn write to leaseholders as part of the section 20 process. Further information on payment options will be shared in the form of an electronic leaflet on the website but for more information, please contact Home Ownership [email protected]

Will the City fully compensate for damage to floor coverings, fittings, built-in furniture, decorations and electric & piping runs?

The contractor will be responsible for making good areas disturbed during the work. They are unlikely to be able to match older paint finishes for example but will avoid damage to any finishes where practical. Each property will vary with flooring, furnishing and decorations, and the contractor will be expected to complete pre-work condition surveys, and they will advise residents at the time of this survey.

Where do the estimates given to those purchasing flats in Crescent House come from?

Estimates are prepared by those responsible for the work and then shared with colleagues in the Homeownership Team who then share with the requesting parties.

Will their possessions be professionally, packed removed, stored and fully insured by a removal company (not building contractors) and moved back in again at the completion of works? 

Furniture will be protected and it will be recommended that Residents take their valuables with them to their temporary accommodation. If Residents require, assistance will be provided in moving items to the temporary accommodation. Items will be insured during the works.

Will the concrete be DOFF cleaned?

Cleaning is being explored but this may be subject to the necessary approvals.

 Flat 347 is expected to be finished by the end of September 2023. When will be the Open House?

The Programme for completion of the Pilot Project is 16th October after which inspections will take place by the 20th Century Society, Historic England, Planners, Members ,Residents etc. An Open House date for residents is agreed with the RLG.

 After Pilot Project and flats below (Flats 147/247) are finished in December 2023, which flats will be the next three? Flats 149/249/349 or Flats 145/245/345? Which way scaffolding will move? North or South? Why can't the works be done using exterior scaffolded access as is usual for such works to residential buildings? 

The Pilot Project is being undertaken in Flat 347 only. No other flats are being refurbished until the main project starts in 2024. Once the Project has been tendered and a Contractor has been appointed, a programme for the works will be agreed with the contractor which will clearly identify a sequence of work.

The work involves a lot of internal work to the windows, bookshelves and surrounding timber and glass panels. The contractor will have to protect furniture and areas of work prior to starting work, if he is required to protect and remove the protection on a daily basis to accommodate residents in situ, this will considerably add to the programme, potentially doubling the time the works will take. It has been agreed that the strategy should be to minimise the disruption to residents. By moving residents into temporary accommodation this will dramatically speed up the programme of work and minimise disruption to residents.

My flat and other 50 flats were not inspected by Hallas. I was abroad and contacted Hallas when I was back. They refused to come. Hallas never told me of any deadline as well. What should I do now? When will we know the results of Condition Survey? What happens if more frames need to be replaced than refurbished? Will it be cheaper just to do a bulk replacement of all window frames together? 

The Hallas Survey was undertaken during a set period of time and residents were contacted requesting access. 101 flats were surveyed and access to 51 flats was not gained. The survey results have recently been issued and are being assessed. It is clear from the results that there are far more frames that need to be refurbished than replaced.

Is the first payment expected this September? What will we pay for? Will the City invoice leaseholders at the end of the job (draft final account) as usual instead of in yearly instalments in September?  

 Homeownership colleagues have been asked to provide a response to this question and will reply separately.

Why is the Golden Lane Windows website so useless? Are we paying for this? It is out of date, lacks key documents, contradicts what we are told at meetings and conflicts with material submitted for planning. It is a waste of time.

 We have received positive feedback for the website but if there are any other specific ways we can improve the website, please let us know. If there are key documents missing, please let us know what they are, so they can be included (where appropriate).

What happens if the vacuum glass gets broken? What happens if the glazing loses its vacuum insulation? Will it be replaced with double glazing or do we need to wait 12 weeks for vacuum glazing arrival? Can I opt out of the vacuum glazing? 

Some standard size panes of vacuum glazing will be kept as replacement spares, others will be ordered and replaced on delivery. It is anticipated that a single glazed unit will be put in temporarily where a pane has been broken until the vacuum glazed unit is available. We are not aware that the vacuum glazing loses its insulation or seals but if a fault does become apparent then it will be replaced.

Will the windows be finished in brown paint or varnish? The planning application is self-contradictory.

It is anticipated that the timber work will be finished with a UV Protection Oil, samples are due to be applied and tested before the Pilot Project is completed.

What the technical reason is - and what the legal authority is - for decommissioning leaseholders gas boiler heating systems? How much will cost a new heating installation? Can I opt out of a new heating?  

In some instances boiler flues are located too close to openable windows which now contravenes the Building Regulations. In some cases there is no option to relocate them to an acceptable location or in some instances the gas heating systems will need to be replaced with electrical systems.

How much will cost a new ventilation installation? Will the original Louvres windows and ventilation doors in the 3rd floor bathrooms be removed and destroyed? Can I opt out of a new ventilation? 

 Louvred windows will be replaced in third floor bathrooms and all flats fitted with new ventilation systems as it is important that all flats are adequately ventilated.

Have we given up on first floor soffit and upstand insulation? Soffits and ventilation are actually really major issues on the first floor flats that back onto the corridor. A test drill of the wall beneath the windows in my flat was done and it showed there was a cavity that could take insulation. Otherwise, the First floor flat leaseholders look like they’re potentially going to be asked for 70k + just to replace a single band of windows above 1m - which in my case are in very good condition. Will insulation be installed behind the replaced mosaics - if not, why not? It's what we were told would happen? Can I opt out of an insulation?

The soffit insulation work is due to be undertaken as part of the Main Contract Works. It is not anticipated that insulation will be installed behind the mosaics as these are not going to be fully replaced but repaired where they are damaged.