Dodgy roof repairs may land council with seven-figure bill

James Wrobel, of Cornelius Wines, has hit out at the situation

James Wrobel, of Cornelius Wines, has hit out at the situation

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FLAT roof repairs across the city overseen by the council’s property department were carried out using materials that did not meet with the city’s standards, the Evening News can reveal today.

Evidence in a damning dossier handed to the paper shows that dozens of roofs were not repaired with the correct materials and there was no guarantee for the works, even though the council states that a warranty is required for ten or 20 years.

It is not known if the more expensive materials were charged for, but insiders claimed that it was “highly likely” residents footed a bill that was incorrect. Materials used were around a third cheaper than what was required.

The blunders only came to light after one resident – who works in the building trade – saw the errors and complained, resulting in the work being started over again.

It has also been claimed that many of the roofs did not have the right fire rating, meaning that in the case of a blaze a property would fare much worse than it should.

Documents shown to the News indicate that at least 42 roofs have been affected, although it is believed there might be many hundreds more.

Resident Thomas McMillan, 76, who lives on West Norton Place, said: “I have lived here for 33 years and in that time I’ve been served with three statutory notices on the roof. I think this is a load of rubbish and I am very annoyed.”

James Wrobel, who works at Cornelius Wines on Easter Road, blasted the situation as “shambolic”.

He said: “I was hit with a bill for £18k after scaffolding was erected on my shop for 13 months. It’s shambolic given the amount of money somebody has made out of this.”

It is alleged that a whistleblowing contractor who is on an approved council list, known as Contractor X, highlighted numerous issues within the department back in 2008. A council employee accused of whistleblowing from within the department is currently 
suspended.

Its the latest damaging allegation to hit the council’s property department, already under investigation for overcharging.

Gordon Murdie, a quantity surveyor who has taken on numerous clients battling property repairs bills, estimated that to re-do the 42 roofs would cost at least £750,000.

He said: “From the evidence I have seen, it seems clear that CEC [the council] have breached their duty of care to owners.

“Owners expected their new flat roofs to be exactly as specified by CEC and with a 20-year labour and materials warranty – precisely as is laid down in CEC’s own specification and procedures.

“Instead, there are numerous cases where the wrong roofing materials have been laid and the required warranty is consequently nonexistent.

“This is quite an oversight and appears to be widespread. If CEC have managed flat roofing works on any of your readers’ properties, then to paraphrase the lottery, ‘it could be you’.

“Alarmingly, CEC responded to a Freedom of Information request some time ago with the answer that the use of the wrong felt was ‘an isolated occurrence’ – it most certainly isn’t.

“It is hard to see how such a dreadful predicament could be allowed to happen and if CEC comply with their own regulations then non-warrantied roofs will require to be ripped up and replaced at no cost to the owners but probably at a seven-figure cost to somebody.”

A council spokesman said: “The council has responded strongly to concerns raised about property services. We have changed the management of the service and begun a robust investigation into the allegations.

“We have new processes in place to deal with complaints and while we cannot comment on individual cases we will thoroughly examine any new information that is brought to our attention and work with owners to resolve these.”

Areas affected by the latest roof repairs issue include:

Elgin Terrace

Cambusnethan Street

Warrender Park Road

Westfield Road

King’s Road

Queen Charlotte Street

Easter Road

Water Street

Queen Charlotte Street

Balcarres Street

Brandon Terrace

West Norton Place

Nicolson Street