|STAT NOTICES||07/02053/24_R, 10/01830/24_E and 10/01831/24_R|
Julian Spalding’s article exactly mirrors our experience over the last four years. A tenement roof repair in 2008-2010, quoted for by an independent building contractor at “£36,300 including scaffolding, materials and labour” ended up costing £117,314 when the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) property conservation department took over. To this sum was added the CEC 15% management charge, which includes payment for Duty of Care! In the following tale, I have omitted naming all but one staff member, as some may well have acted under duress.
The building had had major work done in 2001, when a full scaffolding was erected. Then the scaffolding cost £3000. In 2010 the scaffolding cost £53,688! Work on the building was intermittent, chimneys that were easily assessable to the CEC estimator and initially stated as having to be repointed were suddenly assessed as needing to be rebuilt. The scaffolding was up from late-May to the following January. Facia stone work installed in 2001, deemed after the erection of the scaffolding by CEC to be faulty, was redone without raising the issue of faulty workmanship by the previous company.
Requests by us for answers to our questions with junior CEC staff started well, then suddenly contact was terminated, one assumes on instruction from a senior. We were then told to contact the building surveyor rather than CEC, who in turn told us to contact CEC. Invoices were sent out, threatening court action, even while we were negotiating over the fees lodged. We did eventually manage to meet face to face with Andrew Field and the “independent” Deloitte staff member. It seemed to us that Mr Field had heard tales similar to ours many times over, and seemed to us a decent, honest person. The Deloitte person had knocked 14% off our bill, but said little and let Mr Field do all the talking. Unsurprisingly, Andrew Field is no longer on our case, his place being taken by a less helpful person.
We are now at the “Investigation stage”, where CEC is again both judge and jury. We would be happy to pay a fair price for the job, but the signs are so far not good. There appears as yet no indication that the property services department is acknowledging that malpractice occurred on their watch, or that they have to clean up their practices. This is a blight on the city and its council and must be addressed.”