Brunswick Life

Safety Works to Windows

A post from John Adams: Many of you (I’m told 370) will have received a letter from City Restoration seeking an appointment to “carry out safety works to your windows.”

The windows in question are the vertical opening ones. Those commissioning the work believe that there is a risk that they might blow open in a high wind, shatter, and shower those beneath with shards of glass.

The proposed solution is to apply safety film to the insides of the windows in question. Flats above the Renoir-Gap – that has many people walking and eating below – have already received the treatment. My flat received this treatment before I bought it and I can vouch for the fact that it is invisible – I didn’t know I had it.

Camden now proposes to apply the same “safety works” to all the other flats in the Brunswick on the grounds that any opening window could blow open, shatter and shower people below with glass. It would appear to be a very small risk. Very few people can be seen walking below these windows – and even fewer in conditions of storm and high winds. No statistics are available for the number that have blown open and shattered. But when I inquired what sort of risk assessment had been done to justify these “safety works” I was told that the works were justified by the judgment that “IT COULD HAPPEN”.

I have been reassured by the Camden officer responsible that the cost of the works will not appear on our service charge bills; the cost will be recovered from the Camden Housing Repairs Budget – which means that, if the same zero risk strategy is being pursued throughout Camden, we will pay for it through our Council Tax.

For an extended version of this complaint please see my website at http://www.john-adams.co.uk/2011/07/08/reducing-zero-risk/.

[The committee are trying to find out more about these proposed works and this will probably be on the agenda at the TRA meeting on Mon 18th July.]

Gerry McLean

I had the film applied to the windows in my flat without any prior consultation. In my case the film is not invisible, because the idiots applying the film don’t seem to have washed the glass first, and because they also managed to scratch one pane quite severly. However, the window in my flat has blown open and broken in the past (raining glass down from seven floors onto where Strada’s tables now sit) so I can see some point in applying the film, but only to those windows above the Renoir Gap or over the public pavement on Brunswick Square or Marchmont St.. I don’t know how the film was applied – I didn’t see any scaffolding, so I assume that scaffolding will not be required generally, although I can’t imagine how the work would be done safely otherwise.
I asked Camden about responsibility for the cost of the film, on the basis that when my window broke (because the latch was faulty) Camden told me I was on my own: the windows, including the glass and the latch, are entirely my responsibility. Because of the difficulty in getting access to replace the glass I had one window without glass for almost two years, until the major works scaffolding went up. I got no reply from Camden, and wasn’t surprised about that.

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