Surbiton Court Flats 1-69

Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 17 October 2019

  • Insurance
    • The Insurance Director had received an email, purporting to be from our broker Clear, stating that they were moving the administration of our Insurance to their affiliated broker Konsileo.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director reported that, with the onset of winter, the geranium plants had been moved to the greenhouse.
    • New Laurel bushes would be planted in the fence along the roadway by the greenhouse in November.
    • Several Board Members had observed that there seemed to be fewer foxes wandering our grounds: hopefully, the residents who had been putting out food for them had desisted from doing so.
  • Premises
    • The Chairman had spoken to DMS Brickwork about the locks on the back gates. The locks would be adjusted them to ensure the gates closed and locked properly.
    • The inspection boxes on the roof, and the doors to the roof were weathering significantly. They would be refurbished over the winter..
    • Work on the hallways would resume next year. Priority would be as follows: staircase 18-20, 42-47 and 66-69. Next in line would be 1-4 and 5-10.
    • The work on the downpipes and general repairs on the exterior of the building had come to an end for this year. A number of cast iron ventilation stacks had been removed as modern lavatory systems no longer required them.
    • The brackets supporting the guttering around Tank Rooms A, D, E and H are to be replaced.
    • The Services Director asked about the additional handrails which had been fitted in entrance 66-69. Mr Shiel said there was also one in entrance 60-65. Both had been installed to assist elderly/infirm residents. They could be removed during the re-decoration and replaced afterwards. The Directors felt that they should retained on Health & Safety grounds, and that in future all the staircases should have such additional handrails fitted.
  • Services
    • Nothing to report.
  • Fire Risk Checks, etc
    • The Fire Risks and Safety Director Nothing to report. The Fire Risks and Safety Director said he would undertake the next inspection in November.
  • AGM
    • Proposed date: last three weeks of February 2020. The Chairman said he would contact Glenmore House to check availability.
  • AOB
    • A resident had been exercising their dog in the gardens and allowing it to defecate on the lawns. the Chairman said that he had had to contact two landlords (last year and earlier this year) about other tenants letting their dogs foul the gardens. Even if the owners pick up the faeces in ‘poop bags’, residue remains on the grass which is unpleasant and unhygienic. It was pointed out that the Handbook does already make clear that dogs must not be allowed to foul or damage the gardens. Mr Shiel said that one landlord had claimed that the Handbook ‘was not clear’. In view of this, and to leave no room for doubt, the Directors agreed that the Handbook wording should be amended.
    • One of the Directors said that he had recently agreed with EDF that they could now install a smart meter in his flat, having turned them down repeatedly over the two last years. This was because the company have now undertaken to install a second-generation (SMETS 2) meter; the SMETS 1 meters are not guaranteed to be transferable if a customer changes supplier. The Director said he would provide feedback on his experience with the installation and use of the new meter.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 12 December 2019

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 22 August 2019

  • Correspondence
    • The new owners of a flat had applied to install gas central heating. The installation was approved. The Chairman had met the owners to ensure that the condensation pipe would be routed internally, and the other regulations in the Handbook complied with.
    • There had been complaints that the tenants in one particular flat had persisted in throwing food out for foxes, seagulls, pigeons, etc., despite a circular having been delivered asking residents to desist from doing so. The Chairman had emailed the landlord who said that he would contact them to ensure that they desisted from this.
  • Insurance
    • Nothing to report.
  • Gardens
    • Because of the weather, alternating between wet, then hot dry spells, growth in the garden had been vigorous, requiring considerable pruning work.
    • The cement blocks, formerly located along the roadway between the side gate and the greenhouse, will be moved to the edge of the flowerbeds next to the electricity substation fence. It was hoped the blocks would provide added protection against passing traffic.
    • An ‘Insect Hotel’ had been installed..
    • The Premises Director observed that foxes were still digging up the lawns and making a mess. He had a contact who is a gamekeeper and would seek his advice.
  • Premises
    • The Chairman reported that work on the downpipes and guttering was ongoing.
    • The Insurance Director asked when work on the stairwells would resume. The Chairman replied that work on the entrances would probably not re-start until early next year: he also mentioned that there were other entrances in worse condition than hers, e.g. Flats 18-20 and 42-47.
    • DMS Brickwork had now finished installing new steel and wire fencing and a gate along the back roadway. Red Robin, or laurel, would be planted as a reinforcement as well as an enhancement. This would hopefully improve security and dissuade trespassers onto our back lawns.
    • The Services Director asked that closers should be fitted to the back gates as various residents and non-residents had been leaving the gates open, encouraging trespassers.
    • The Premises Director observed that the brickwork edging the lawns in the central Court needed attention.
    • The Chairman said he would talk to DMS Brickwork about the previous three items, namely: gate closers, fencing the border with Surbiton Court No 3, and the brickwork edging.
  • Services
    • The Services Director said he had contacted Crystal Clear and the ‘tide marks’ had been removed.
  • Fire Risk Checks, etc
    • The Fire Risks and Safety Director reported that the outstanding Tank Room had now been cleared. No inspection had been due in the period since the last Board meeting.
  • AOB
    • The Premises Director said that he had received a complaint from the previous owner of Flat 45 that the procedure for buying and selling flats was not clear. Chairman said that this claim was completely inaccurate: the Handbook on the web site www.surbitoncourt.com outlines the procedure clearly and concisely under “Buying/Selling a Flat in Surbiton Court”. He reiterated that such information is actively disseminated to residents and agents. It is not our fault if residents choose to ignore it.
    • The Gardens Director had been approached by a resident sub-tenant about the lack of recycling facilities. Although the subject is comprehensively addressed in the Handbook, the Board agreed that it should (again) be made an agenda item at the next AGM where it could again be discussed. Sub-tenants with queries about recycling should direct their queries through their landlords..
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 17 October 2019

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 04 July 2019

  • Correspondence
    • Following problems around the Court with foxes and pigeons, the Chairman would would be circulating a note asking residents to desist from feeding and encouraging these animals: if that did not work, pest controllers would be brought in to eliminate the foxes.
  • Insurance
    • Nothing to report.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director reported that the area holding compost and garden waste near the greenhouse had been cleared, with the exception of a few pots.
    • ‘Red Robin’ bushes were to be planted on 05 July under the ash tree along the boundary with Surbiton Court No 2’s drive, close to the path leading to the rear door of Flats 21-26
    • Dead wood in beds along the south-west side of the building would be removed.
    • The box hedge, discussed at the last meeting, had been treated. The spray, bought to treat the box tree infection, would be held in reserve in case of another outbreak..
    • Shrubs outside the entrances to the staircases had now been trimmed back. Because of the weather, however, their growth continued to be vigorous.
    • Two green plant pots, put out along the roadway opposite Flat 1 as an experiment, had already been damaged by passing vehicles.
  • Premises
    • The Chairman reported that work on the downpipes and guttering was ongoing.
    • D Smith of DMS Brickwork had now finished work on the steps leading down to the central lawn.
    • DMS brickwork had submitted a quote to erect additional fencing (steel bollards and wires) along the roadway past the greenhouse and opposite Surbiton Court Mews. A ‘Red Robin’ hedge could then be planted to form a more substantial barrier. This would help deter vehicular traffic from encroaching onto Surbiton Court’s lawns; it would also give more privacy for our residents in flats adjacent to the roadway.
    • The Services Director asked that consideration should be given to extending the fencing next to the gate leading onto Tangerby House’s car park. Trespassers were by-passing the gate by climbing over the low wall immediately next to the gate.
    • Anti-pigeon spikes have been installed on the parapet over a number of flats to deter pigeons. This would be monitored to see how effective it is.
  • Services
    • The Premises Director observed that tide marks were building up at the bottom of the walls in some of the staircases. The Services Director said he would contact Crystal Clear about having the marks removed.
  • Fire Risk Checks, etc
    • The Fire Risks and Safety Director gave a report following his last inspection.
    • The residents of one flat had put their own belongings in an Association cupboard. The Chairman would ask them to clear the cupboard, as they had no right to use it.
  • AOB
    • The Premises Director had found some children picking the flowers and playing ball games that might damage the plants. He would be speaking to the parents.
    • There were comments from members of the Board about Surbiton Court No 2’s waste disposal/recycling compound. Rubbish was strewn around and, in the recent hot weather, there had been an obnoxious stench. It might be necessary to contact Wallakers to arrange for the area to be cleared.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 22 August 2019

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 09 May 2019

  • Correspondence
    • One of the tenants had emailed enquiring about recycling. The Chairman had replied.
  • Insurance
    • Nothing to report.
  • Gardens
    • Foxes have been seen around our grounds and gardens, attracted by food and water being left out. Despite the Handbook specifically asking residents not to do so, and circulars having been sent out in the past, certain residents persisted in doing so. Food left on the lawns attracts other vermin, is unhygienic, and a source of mess and disease. The Premises Director asked whether it was time to send round another circular to all residents about this.
    • The Gardens Director reported that bushes were being planted to fill gaps in the hedge bordering Surbiton Court No 2’s driveway. More ‘Red Robin’ would be purchased and planted to replace these gaps.
    • Dead wood in beds along the south-west side of the building would be removed.
    • The Gardens Director also reported that a fungal infection of Box trees and hedges was rampant nationwide, and the hedge around the patio of Flat 66 appears to be affected. We would try to treat it with a special spray, but if this was not effective, it would have to be replaced by another species of plant that was not susceptible.
    • Geraniums and begonias had been purchased and would be planted out in the following week.
  • Premises
    • Plans for purchasing and installing the shed were in progress.
    • D Smith of DMS Brickworks had been contacted about refurbishing the arches on the terrace wall. Mr Smith had found no loose stonework and thought superficial remedial work might only make things worse. He recommended that no action should be taken.
    • Repointing work on the steps down to the central lawn was still outstanding. The Premises Director said he would contact DMS about this. He would also ask him to make good any brickwork that had been damaged by delivery vehicles manoeuvring in the central Court.
    • The iron down-pipes were being stripped and repainted. Work in the central Court was now complete and work had now begun on the pipes on the outer walls of the building. Window sills and window surrounds would be attended to at the same time.
    • Now the weather was warming up, refurbishment of the staircases would resume, starting with the entrance to Flats 18 – 20.
    • The Premises Director reiterated his recommendation, made at previous meetings, that the white painted edges to the treads on communal stairs should be re-done using a hard-wearing oil-based paint.
  • Services
    • The Services Director had asked the cleaners to clean around the back doors, particularly on the outside and around the lights above the doorways.
    • The Premises Director had observed more residents of neighbouring flats cutting through our grounds. It appeared that some even knew the combination for the door locks. The locks would be re-programmed and residents would be circulated with the new combination.
  • Fire Risk Checks, etc
    • The regular inspection of the common parts had been put on hold until the remaining tank room had been fully cleared.
  • AOB
    • The Secretary said that the annual gate closure would take place in June. The date had yet to be determined.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 04 July 2019

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 28 March 2019

  • Correspondence
    • The Chairman had received a Letter of Engagement from PB Associates, incorporating current Data Protection legislation. This had been signed and returned.
  • Insurance
    • The Chairman said that he had now apportioned the Insurance premium between Garage Owners account and the General Maintenance account.
    • Our Insurers had confirmed that they held a copy of the Reinstatement Valuation for Surbiton Court.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director reported that the greenhouse and the area around it had been cleared. The gardeners had transplanted some plants/shrubs to fill in some of the emptier beds. Additional plants, such as roses, would be purchased and planted out soon.
    • The Premises Director reported that, on 03 April, DMS Brickwork would be starting work on the steps at both ends of sunken garden, repairs on the terrace arches and re-pointing the brickwork around the seats in the sunken garden. He asked the Chairman to speak to DMS Brickwork about the keystones above the arches. The Chairman said he would do so.
  • Premises
    • The Premises Director presented details of the CCTV system to be installed. He said he would notify the Board of the dates when the installers could carry out the work.
    • The Premises Director went on to comment on the white paint used to highlight the edges of stair-treads in all the staircases. In many cases, the paint was not wearing well.
    • Finally, the Premises Director said he had spoken to Wallakers about the loose paving stone in the path outside Surbiton Court No 3.
  • Services
    • The Services Director asked whether members of the Board had any issues with the standard of cleaning. The Chairman wondered whether the cleaners had cleaned in staircase 66 – 69. The Insurance Director said that she had observed them doing so, but dust and debris from the ongoing work in the flats on that staircase had soon obliterated the cleaners’ handiwork.
    • The Premises Director asked asked that the cleaners should clean around the back doors, particularly on the outside and around the lights above the doorways.
  • Fire Risk Checks, etc
    • The Chairman reported that Tank Room C had been partially cleared and would be fully cleared over the next few months.
  • AOB
    • The Services Director asked the Board to consider an upgrade to the surbitoncourt.com web site to make it officially ‘Secure’. A web browser (like Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) would then identify it as such, prefixing its URL with ‘https’, instead of ‘http’. The Board agreed that this upgrade should go ahead.
    • The Premises Director said he wished to contact the Council again about the state of the bins and paving stones in St Andrews Square. The Board agreed that he could do so on behalf of SCRA.
    • The Premises Director drew the Board’s attention to the fact that charges for on-street parking in the Borough will soon be increasing substantially.
    • Board members were asked to look out for trespassers in the grounds of Surbiton Court, especially now the weather was improving.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 09 May 2019

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 21 February 2019

  • Correspondence
    • A resident had written to enquire on the progress of CCTV, which had been discussed at the AGM as well as at previous Board meetings. At the last Board meeting (29 November 2018) it had been discussed in depth and the Directors had been awaiting quotes for the installation (see Premises).
  • Insurance
    • The new Insurance Director had been through the paperwork and wondered if the cost of rebuilding the block may be due for an increase. The Chairman pointed out that the last Insurance valuation had been undertaken by the Association’s Surveyors Bartholomews in October 2014, and submitted to our Insurers. NB This is also a condition of the Lease.
    • The Chairman said that he had yet to apportion the Insurance premium for the Garage Owners and transfer it from that account to the general maintenance account.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director said this was a quiet time of year for the gardens. The main activity had been tidying up; approval was now required to order a skip for garden waste/debris, to which the Directors agreed.
    • The Premises Director reported that he had seen some of the small children kicking over and stamping on the crocuses. He had spoken to two of the parents.
    • The Gardens Director reported that two cats had been using the Japanese Pagoda Tree as a scratching post and were damaging the bark. With the Board’s agreed to the expenditure of £10 on a protector for the tree trunk.
  • Premises
    • The Premises Director had now received a quote from DMS Brickwork for re-pointing the steps at both ends of sunken garden, repairs on the terrace arches and re-pointing the brickwork around the seats in the sunken garden. A a separate quote would be needed to improve the look of the keystones at the top of the terrace arches.
    • The Chairman reported that the lamp standards and the lights on the pillars at the entrance to Surbiton Court had been cleaned and repaired. The metalwork had been treated with Hammerite paint.
    • The roof had now been jet-washed. The gullies and the hoppers on the down-pipes had been cleaned out . Repainting of the roof was due this year.
    • The Premises Director opened discussion of CCTV by describing the equipment he thought would be required. This would comprise:
      • A number of 4K cameras to cover the areas in front of the archways and the garage area. The cameras would include infra-red lights to illuminate these areas at night. Additional cameras could be purchased and connected as the need arose.
      • An 8-port Network Video Recording (NVR) unit to which the cameras would be connected by ‘category 5’ ethernet cables. The maximum length of a single cable was 90 metres. The cables would also supply power to the cameras (‘power-over-ethernet’, PoE).
      • The NVR would be fitted with sufficient hard disc storage to record 30 days’ worth of video from all the cameras. Once the disc filled up, the oldest recordings would be overwritten automatically.
    • There followed discussion as to the best place to keep the NVR and associated equipment (a screen, keyboard and mouse).
    • The Premises Director said he would obtain a quote to set up the equipment and install the cabling. He would also provide a detailed specification of the equipment he was recommending.
    • The Director for Services and Safety asked about the aesthetics of the cameras and protecting them from the effects of dust and the weather. The Premises Director replied that the cameras would be covered by transparent, hemispherical glass domes.
  • Services
    • The Services Director reported that there had been no recent issues about the standard of cleaning.
  • Fire Risk Checks, etc
    • The Safety Director said that he had carried out an inspection of the common parts on 23 January. The only issue identified was temporary storage of contractor’s equipment in some of the tank rooms.
  • AOB
    • The Premises Director commented on the state of the paving on the footpath at the front of Surbiton Court No 3. Some slabs were loose and could constitute a hazard. He would report the matter to Wallakers, the managing agents for SC3.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 28 March 2019

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