Edinburgh tenant forced to shower while rubble and dust 'rained down' on him as he waited a year for bathroom ceiling fix

An Edinburgh housing association tenant says he was forced to shower while rubble and dust "rained down" on him as he waited a year for his flood-damaged bathroom ceiling to be fixed.

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 1:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 4:50 pm

William Steele, who lives in Downfield Place, also claims Castle Rock Edinvar (CRE) is responsible for repair work which left wiring in an "unsafe condition," after an electrician came in July to fix bathroom and kitchen lighting which had fused due to flooding from the flat above in November 2018.

Mr Steele, 56, says he plans to take the matter to the Housing Ombudsman and has been in touch with the trade association for the electrical contracting industry in Scotland, SELECT, and the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).

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A flood caused part of Mr Steele's bathroom ceiling to collapse, and he has also raised concerns about the state of wiring in his flat.

A CRE spokeswoman said an Electrical Installation Condition Report verifies that the work carried out by their repairs team at Mr Steele's home last year meets the national safety standard for electrical installations. The Evening News has asked to see this report, which is understood to relate only to improvement work done in December.

Pictures taken by Mr Steele show the condition of the wiring when he first discovered it in November, four months after the electrician came to fix the lighting. It appears to show that the junction box – a box containing the flat's wiring – has been removed and left on top of his water tank lid in a cupboard.

‘Dust raining down’

Mr Steele, who has been a tenant in the Dalry flat for 27 years, says he was also hit by rubble falling from his water-damaged bathroom ceiling when part of it collapsed as he showered - and he made a complaint after workers failed to turn up to fix it in July.

A wooden strap was initially put in place but the ceiling collapsed again.

The complaint was upheld by CRE managers who apologised to him for a "prolonged series of service failures" including workmen not leaving calling cards when he was not at home, and ensuring appointment letters reached his address.

Mr Steele said: "Dust raining down during the use of the shower was constant and it became a serious concern when they asked to test for asbestos."

He said in December, a year on from the flood, workmen eventually came round to fully repair the bathroom ceiling.

Mr Steele also said he was satisfied with the work done by electricians in December.

This picture was taken in November 2019 and the junction box appears to have been removed.

But a second complaint made by Mr Steele, concerning the previous condition of the wiring, was not upheld by CRE who said they could not explain why it was outside of the junction box and that they did not leave any electrics in an unsafe state.

Mr Steele added: "It wasn't an act of God.

"The wiring was left sitting on top of the water tank. There were metal pipes resting on a cardboard lid and I could have easily just put my hand up and touched it.

"The water tank cupboard is right outside my bedroom door and, if a fire had started, I would not have been able to get out.

Mr Steele took this picture in November 2018 just after the flood, which affected the water tank cupboard containing the junction box.

"The whole thing is completely unacceptable."

A Castle Rock Edinvar spokesperson said: "We take our customer’s concerns very seriously and have liaised with him to address them as effectively and efficiently as possible.

"We can confirm that an Electrical Installation Condition Report verifies that the work carried out by our repairs team at his home last year meets the national safety standard for electrical installations."

A NICEIC spokeswoman said they working with Mr Steele to understand the issue fully in line with their formal complaints procedure.

The improvement work done in December, which Mr Steele is now happy with.