Surbiton Court Flats 1-69

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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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 29 November 2018

  • Correspondence
    • There was a complaint about loud music emanating from a sub-let flat. The Chairman said that the tenants were due to move out imminently.
    • The recycling & refuse area at Surbiton Court No 2 had had old furniture and a cooker dumped there. The Chairman had informed Wallakers, who manage Surbiton Court No 2, who had arranged for this rubbish to be cleared.
  • Insurance
    • The Insurance Director said that the Buildings Insurance was due for renewal. He would be in contact with our Insurers for a quote in December.
    • The Insurance Director also observed that a lux test in the stairwells (suggested in the Electrical Report) was still outstanding, and would be undertaken later this year.
    • There was a query asked about the sources of lighting in Surbiton Court: should the lights in the lamp-posts should be brighter? The Chairman and the Premises Director explained that the light from the standards was augmented to an acceptable level by lighting in the archways, staircases and balconies.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director reported that the gardens were now on the winter schedule: the geraniums had been moved to the greenhouse; the beds would be manured on 14 December; all the bushes around the Court would be trimmed back.
    • The Premises Director drew the Board’s attention to a gate that had been installed in the fence between Surbiton Court No 2’s roadway and the back garden of a house in The Mall. The fence and roadway belong to Surbiton Court No 2, and the residents of The Mall have no rights of way over property belonging to Surbiton Court or Surbiton Court No 2. The Chairman said he would contact Wallakers.
  • Premises
    • Various aspects of CCTV installation was discussed: it has previously been discussed at Board meetings, and at the last AGM in October 2017, Members had agreed that it should be looked into.
    • The Insurance Director asked whether DMS Brickwork had been approached to carry out work to improve the look of the brickwork around the seats in the sunken garden. The Premises Director said that he would contact them the following day.
  • Services
    • The Services Director reported that Neville Aerials had carried out the work to upgrade the FreeView TV aerial and change the settings. The TV channels (from the Crystal Palace transmitter) that had been assigned to new frequencies could now be accessed by all digital TV receivers in the Court.
  • AGM
    • The AGM scheduled for Thursday 18 October 2018 had been postponed. The Chairman would make arrangements with a view to holding the AGM in January 2019.
  • Fire Risk Checks, etc
    • The Safety Director said that he had carried out an inspection of the common parts shortly before the Board meeting. A few small items had been identified, but there was nothing serious to report.
    • The Premises Director submitted a folder containing the paperwork for Fire Risk, Health and Safety. This would form the tangible evidence, if needed, for our compliance with the regulations and the Insurers requirements.
  • AOB
    • The Chairman reported that the Planning Application to convert and extend the existing 3 flats in Surbiton Court Mews into 9 flats had been turned down by Kingston Council on 22 November. The Decision Notice had subsequently been uploaded onto the Council website.
    • The possibility of Surbiton Court being listed with Historic England was discussed.
    • The Premises Director said he would consult architect friends of his for an opinion on the pros and cons of Listing. Other Board members also agreed to look into the subject.
    • The Insurance Director observed that Listing might have relevance to the fact that St Andrews Square is a Conservation Area (the status was granted in 1972 and renewed after a review in 1992).
    • Although the Council had now changed some of the rules about the number of bins (some materials could now be combined in a single bin instead of the need for several), Surbiton Court still lacked the space for extra bins dedicated to recycling. The major drawback with an insufficient number of bins was the need to police them constantly.
    • The Premises Director would be putting up decorative lights in the loggias and a Christmas tree on the terrace. The Gardens Director would be putting up lights on the open balconies.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 21 February 2019

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 06 September 2018

  • Correspondence
    • A flat had been sub-let without the owners or the letting agents notifying the Board: the Chairman had contacted the agents to ask if they have full-management, also contact numbers and key-holders for emergencies. He stressed how importance it is that owners / agents inform the SCRA Board about changes of tenancy for these and other reasons.
    • local letting agencies had advertised a flat in Surbiton Court No 2 with photographs of our entrance and façade, and wording such as ‘idyllic gardens’ and ‘vast amount of green space’, both of which are inaccurate, misleading and misrepresentative. The Chairman had contacted the owners of the agency, who said they would correct the photos and wording. NB this is not the first time this has happened.
  • Insurance
    • The Insurance Director had now submitted all the requested paperwork to our Insurers.
    • The formation of a sub-committee to deal, on an ongoing basis, with Fire Risk, Health & Safety, Electrical safety, and cold water supply was discussed. Proposed members of the sub-committee would be contacted with a view to organising this.
  • Gardens
    • There was a question whether the various climbing plants, growing up the walls of the building, could be pruned back as there had been a growth spurt since the end of the dry weather. The Gardens Director said this would be done as soon as the plants finished flowering. The wisteria would be included in the pruning exercise.
  • Premises
    • The Chairman reported that the programme of rolling maintenance was continuing with Shane Williams carrying out remedial work around the building.
    • No quote had yet been received to improve the look of the brickwork around the seats in the sunken garden.
    • The problem with the new gates along our boundary with Surbiton Court No 2’s driveway had been corrected and the locks were now working effectively.
    • Much of the immediate work programme work is in the area of the North wall exterior: repairs and repainting to pipework and flues, window frames, and window sills. There were also water stains on the walls to be treated and sundry holes to be filled.
    • Refurbishment of the entrances to the staircases would not take place this year.
  • Services
    • The Services Director raised an issue about the Freeview TV aerial. Around March 2018, there had been changes to the frequencies used by some Freeview channels broadcast from the Crystal Palace transmitter. This was in order to make bandwidth available for new 5G mobile phone services. These changes had not been widely publicised, but the result was that some channels were no longer available to viewers receiving Freeview via some types of communal TV aerial. This includes Surbiton Court.
    • The Services Director had discussed this with Neville Aerials who advised that, to restore the service and ensure that new Freeview channels would be accessible in future, we would need to upgrade our existing TV aerial and change the settings in some of the existing equipment. Neville Aerials had submitted a quote that the Board accepted and the work would be carried out soon.
  • AGM
    • It was confirmed that the AGM will take place at 8.00 pm at Glenmore House on Thursday 18 October. [The AGM was subsequently postponed, a new date was yet to be decided.]
  • AOB
    • CCTV was discussed. One of the residents had undertaken some research and written up his findings. These would be passed to the Services Director for comment.
    • The Chairman commented on the inconsistency of the current signage at the front and back of Surbiton Court. With increased traffic/deliveries/visitors both to ourselves and to Surbiton Court Nos 2 & 3, it needed to be improved for greater clarity and consistency. This applied both to the actual signs and the wording.
    • The issue of a barrier or gate at the main entrance was again discussed. The main issue is the complexity of access and rights of way, and how this could be implemented in a practical and workable way.
    • The Insurance Director noted that a ‘lux’ test had not yet been undertaken. The Chairman said that CF Electrical would be invited back to conduct the test and report.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 29 November 2018

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 12 July 2018

  • Correspondence
    • • Two Notices had been circulated to residents: the first was to remind residents that ball or other games are not allowed anywhere in Surbiton Court, that washing must not be placed in the common parts, and a reminder of the regulations relating to barbecues. The second was an invitation to the Summer Party on Saturday 28 July.
  • Insurance
    • The Insurance Director had received the report from Calibre Environmental Ltd, together with a list of recommendations. The Lab tests had indicated that the cold-water supply system contained no Legionella bacteria. There were a number of recommendations, three of which required action as soon as possible.
    • The Insurance Director proposed a separate meeting of a sub-group of Board members to follow up on the actions and other Health & Safety procedures.
    • The Premises Director was invited to look at, and provide feedback on, the latest draft of a default Method Statement for use by contractors working for Surbiton Court.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director observed that, apart from routine gardening, not much had changed in the gardens. The dry weather had slowed down growth.
    • The Premises Director asked Board members to be prepared to challenge strangers using the gardens, if such people did not appear to live in Surbiton Court
  • Premises
    • The Chairman asked the Premises Director when DMS Brickwork planned to carry out the work to adjust the locks on the new gates and also to inspect the brickwork on the terrace.The Premises Director said he would phone them.
    • The Chairman reported that a number of down-pipes/stacks needed repair. Shane Williams would carry out the work. Shane had already tidied up various other external pipework.
    • The painting of the white visibility strips in certain staircases was still awaiting review.
    • The Insurance Director queried the colour used to paint the replacement flues outside Flats 66-68. He thought the red colour used was obtrusive. The Board agreed that the flues should be repainted with light grey, to match other pipework around the building. Shane would be asked to do this. The Chairman reported that Shane had been going around the building cleaning the extractor fan outlets and covers. Where required, they had also been painted light grey.
    • On the roof, several of the inspection boxes had weathered badly and were in need of attention.
    • The Premises Director raised again the quality and colour of the repointing of the brickwork around the seats in the sunken garden (the bricks themselves are are of somewhat irregular shape possibly ‘seconds’ from the original construction of Surbiton Court). It was agreed that the Premises Director would ask DMS Brickwork to advise on how to improve the appearance
    • Shane had been asked to include the securing of loose cables in his work around the building.
  • Services
    • The Services Director reported that the standard of cleaning of the common parts continued to be acceptable. Crystal Clear had recently cleaned out the bins and the bin areas.
  • AGM
    • Glenmore House had been booked for the AGM on Thursday 18 October.
  • AOB
    • The Services Director suggested that the Fire Risk and other Health & Safety checks should be included as an Agenda item once every quarter. The Secretary agreed to do this, starting with the Agenda for the September meeting.
    • The Premises Director raised the issue of graffiti on one of the walls in the Court. This appeared to have been done in chalk by children. The Chairman had already contacted the relevant letting agent and had asked them to have it removed/cleaned. Alternatively, we could have it cleaned and bill accordingly.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 06 September 2018

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 31 May 2018

  • Correspondence
    • The Technology Director reported that the slow broadband issues observed in a number of flats had been resolved without the need for Virgin Media to access the roof.
  • Insurance
    • The Insurance reported that all the actions recommended by Covea, our Insurers, and the follow-up, were progressing well:
      • The Fire Risk Assessment procedures had been drafted and the actions identified had either been carried out or were in progress.
      • Professional samples had been taken from the cold-water systems (tanks and supply pipes). These had been sent to a Lab to be tested for Legionella bacteria. The results were expected soon.
      • A quote from for remedial work on the electrics in the common parts had been accepted and would take place on 19 & 20 July 2018.
      • The Insurers had been informed of the above. Their response was awaited.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director observed that, due to recent rain followed by warm weather, everything in the gardens had been growing very quickly.
    • The large bushes around the Court were being pruned back. The new Sopora Japonica Pendula tree had also undergone some light pruning.
    • All the summer plants earmarked for the back of the Court had now been planted.
  • Premises
    • The Chairman informed the Board that work was about to start on replacing the leaking down-pipe outside three of the flats.
    • DMS Brickwork had been contacted about the new gates that had been installed at the access points to Surbiton Court No 2’s driveway. The locks on both gates were not engaging, possibly because the adjacent steel posts had ‘settled’ in a way that increased the gap between the latch and strike plate. The problem would be fixed shortly.
    • The pointing in the brickwork around the recessed seats in the sunken garden of the inner Court had been repaied. There was some concern that the light colour of the mortar used was not in keeping with other brickwork in the Court. Various suggestions were offered as to how to remedy this.
    • The Premises Director observed that some of the paving in the areas at either end of the sunken garden needed repointing to avoid trip hazards developing.
    • On the roof, several of the inspection boxes had weathered badly and were in need of attention.
    • The Premises Director commented on the standard of painting of the white visibility strips that had recently been applied to the stairs on the internal staircases. He observed that the edges of the strips were not clean, straight lines (this may have been due, in part, to the paint having been applied in damp, humid, weather). In addition, the paint was wearing badly not long after application. It was agreed that the strips would be repainted more neatly with better-wearing paint. If undertaken soon, the current spell of warm weather might help to set the paint more quickly and effectively.
    • The Premises Director also reported that pieces of tile / stone appeared to have broken off the stonework above the arches on the terrace. They could constitute a hazard if they fell onto residents sitting on the terrace below. The Chairman said he would ask DMS Brickwork to check the arches and their surrounds, and quote for any remedial work.
  • Services
    • The Services Director reported that the standard of cleaning of the common parts continued to be acceptable. Crystal Clear had also recently cleaned the garage doors.
    • Thames Water had, after a very long period (18 months) of inaction, finally replaced a leaking valve outside the entrance to Flats 18-26.
  • AGM
    • It was agreed that this year’s AGM should take place on Thursday 18 October.
  • AOB
    • It was agreed that this year’s annual gate closure would be on 7-8 July. The Secretary said she would ask Wallakers to inform the residents of both Surbiton Court No 2 and Tangerby House.
    • The Premises Director suggested that a paper circular should be sent to residents. It would include a note about the date of the summer party, a reminder about not hanging washing out so that it was visible from the common parts, the prohibition on ball games, etc.
    • The subject of barbecues was discussed and it was agreed to allow them on the terrace, subject to the guidelines in the Handbook. Residents could also continue to hold barbecues in the outer gardens, again provided they followed the Handbook guidelines. The wording in the Handbook would be amended accordingly.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 12 July 2018

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 26 April 2018

  • Correspondence
    • Electrical Inspection Reports & Legionella testing – see "Insurance"".
    • HyperOptic had sent letters to residents inaccurately claiming that they “had completed their survey” and “were working with the building management”. The technology Director said he would post a Notice on the website outlining the correct position.
  • Insurance
    • Our Insurers had highlighted two areas requiring formal inspection and reporting by qualified experts. These were: :
      • The condition of the electrics in the communal areas and
      • Testing of the cold-water systems (tanks and supply pipes) for Legionella bacteria.
    • The electrics in the common parts had been inspected and the report received. In fact, the ‘Report’ consisted of 12 separate reports, one for each staircase/entrance, as each is on a separate circuit, plus the circuits for the garage area, gardens and entrance. The items that need to be addressed had been classified as follows:
      • C1 (Danger, Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required) – none
      • C2 (Potentially dangerous. Urgent remedial action required) – 38
      • C3 (Improvement recommended) – 45
      • F1 (Further investigation required without delay) – 4
    • A quote for remedial electrical work had been received.
    • A local firm had been invited to quote for a test and report on our cold-water tanks (and the related system of pipes and valves) for the presence of Legionella bacteria. The results would be kept on file for comparison with the results from any future (re)inspection.
    • The Legionella testing would include:
      • Inspection of the cold-water storage tanks in the tank rooms, along with the associated pipes and valves
      • Photographs of the above
      • A risk assessment
      • A report, with recommendations. A schematic showing the layout of the system would also be provided.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director reported the preparations for the Summer were now underway: the geraniums had been taken out of the greenhouse and planted out. Plants for the beds next to the terrace would be put in in two weeks’ time.
    • The Gardens Director was still unhappy about the work on the Ash tree at the back of the Court, next to Surbiton Court No 2’s driveway. Photographs showed that the tree was looking lop-sided and any work there might have been was unfinished. Copies of the photos had been sent to the tree surgeons and attempts made to contact them, so far without any result. The Chairman said he would write formally to them for a response. If none was forthcoming, he would contact the Kingston Council’s Tree Preservation Officer, as the tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order.
    • 10 small and 2 larger Red Robin plants would be planted as supplements to the existing red robin hedge along Surbiton Court No 2’s driveway.
  • Premises
    • The Chairman • Mr Shiel drew the Board’s attention to a leaking down-pipe outside three of the flats. He asked for their opinion whether this pipe should be replaced by one in cast iron or plastic (painted a suitable colour). Cast iron has several disadvantages (cost, susceptibility to corrosion, etc), so the Board opted for plastic.
    • With the approach of Summer, planning had started for work on the next staircase refurbishment. The Chairman was currently obtaining estimates for the work.
  • Services
    • The Services Director would shortly be leaving Surbiton Court, so a new Services Director would need to be appointed. On behalf of SCRA, The Chairman thanked thanked the outgoing Director for his contributions towards the running of the Court and wished him and his wife well in their new home.
  • AOB
    • The Technology Director alerted the Board to new Legislation: The ‘General Data Protection Requirement’ (GDPR) which comes into force on 25 May 2018. Although SCRA will need to comply as an organisation, he did not think the requirements were likely to be onerous in our case.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 31 May 2018

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 08 March 2018

  • Insurance
    • The Insurance Director reminded the Board that our Insurers would be conducting their survey of Surbiton Court on 15 March. He highlighted the documentation that he had been looking at, notably: Fire Risk, Health & Safety, etc.
    • Fire Risk had recently been addressed with the circulation of a new Fire Safety Notice to all flats and a corresponding page on the website.
    • All but two of the SCRA cupboards and tank rooms had recently been inspected for hazards and flammable materials. The Insurance Director had prepared a short list of actions.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director reported that the tree surgeons had attended the previous day and undertaken work on the Maple and the Acacia in the central Court. Work on the Ash tree at the back of the Court, next to Surbiton Court No 2’s driveway had not been carried out entirely satisfactorily. The tree surgeons would be asked to come back and attend to it properly.
  • Premises
    • The Premises Director reported that DMS Brickwork had now installed the extra bollards. Wires would now be strung horizontally between them. He asked whether there should be a single wire or two running parallel to each other. The Board agreed that there should be two. The gates had been ordered and were being fitted with combination locks and buffers (to prevent noise when closing); after that, they would be installed at the entrances to the footpaths at the back of the Court.
    • The Insurance Director reported that he had recently attended a meeting of the Safer Neigbourhoods group. He had learned from them that there had been several thefts of lead recently from buildings in the area.
  • Services
    • The Services Director reported that the regular cleaning of the common parts continued to be satisfactory.
    • The Technology Director reported that he had recently been contacted by HyperOptic, a provider of broadband services, who were looking to install their own cable infrastructure in the area (optical fibre to the premises). This would be independent of the existing BT and Virgin cabling. They were asking Surbiton Court and the management of other blocks of flats in the area to sign Wayleaves permitting them to go ahead with surveying, planning and installing their cabling and other infrastructure. (UPDATE - for reasons given elsewhere on this site - see Notices - 16 April 2018, it was decided not to go ahead with HyperOptic's proposal.)
  • AOB
    • None
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 26 April 2018.

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Summary of Board Meeting held on Thursday 25 January 2018

  • Correspondence
    • By chance, the chairman had met a potential tenant who said that the letting agent had told them that the gardens could be used for ball games. They was completely unaware of the Handbook or website. There had been an exchange of emails with the owner of the flat who had said that he always ensured that his tenants complied with the Terms of the Lease. The flat has subsequently been let to new tenants: they also said that they had not been informed of the Handbook or website.
      [Note: It is the duty of flat owners and letting agents to make sub-tenants aware of the existence of the Surbiton Court Handbook and the website.]
    • One of the Estate Agents had erected a lettings board on the wrought iron at our front entrance. The chairman had emailed the manager to have it removed. The manager apologised and said that the Agent's team would be reminded that sales or lettings boards are not permitted anywhere in Surbiton Court.
  • Insurance
    • The Insurance Director said that our current insurers wished to undertake a survey of Surbiton Court and a date had been arranged for 15 March.
  • Gardens
    • The Gardens Director requested authorisation for the hire of another skip for the garden waste that had accumulated over the winter. The Board agreed.
    • Work would soon take place on cutting back the bushes and trimming the edges.
    • The wisteria adjacent to staircase 36 – 41 had now been moved back in place and secured. The plants had been moved away from the balconies and columns over the summer to facilitate the renovation and refurbishment work. The Gardens Director added that there are plans to install a trellis behind the wisteria to help support the plants.
    • A quote had been received to erect additional steel bollards along our boundary with Surbiton Court No 2’s driveway and to install off-the-shelf wrought iron gates with combination locks. The work includes threading wires through the bollards to create more of a barrier and the installation of steel gate posts to which the gates would be secured.
    • Some of the French drains were being invaded by plants which might cause problems later. The Gardens Director said that some French drains had been cleared, but that in other places the concrete boards marking the side of the drains were missing making it difficult to stop the plants from spreading. The chairman thought that the boards did exist, but that soil had overtopped them and should be scraped away.
    • The Gardens Director informed the Board that Kingston Council were meeting on 06 February to consider the application for remedial work on two of our trees. Once approval was granted, the work will be undertaken (probably later in February).
  • Premises
    • The Premises Director observed that the water-based grey paint that had been applied in staircases 42-47 and 66-69 during recent redecoration was not wearing well. He suggested that a better paint should be applied (possibly oil-based). He would look for alternatives and advise the Board.
  • Services
    • The Services Director reported that the regular cleaning of the common parts over the last month or so had been satisfactory.
    • The chairman asked whether there were still problems with lights going out sporadically on staircase 60-65. The reply was that it still happened occasionally.
  • AOB
    • The Premises Director said he intended to write on behalf of SCRA to Kingston Council about the state of bins, rubbish and uneven pavements in St Andrews Square.
    • The chairman drew the Board’s attention to plans by Kingston Council to develop the riverside area from Canbury Gardens down as far as Ravens Ait. The Council were holding consultation meetings on Wednesday 31 January and Saturday 03 February. The consultation period as a whole would run until 18 March 2018.
  • Next Meeting
    • Thursday 08 March 2018.

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