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November 20, 2011 at 11:35 am #482imported_postModerator
AGM Any other Business
Having missed this years AGM,I was unable to ask the following questions and wondered what the general consensus would have been?
Having just noticed the Reserves Breakdpwn which accompanied the 2010 Annual Accounts,I was concerned to see an item under major works for the Gull wing stair canopies for £4.900
This item involved cutting 8 holes in the roofing impregnated timber boarding at a staggering cost of almost £500 per canopy! The only materials involved were supplying some sealant to the edges of the new openings and the cost of the replacement saw blades. Considering the National average wage is circa £25k this works out at 1 weeks labour for 1 man per canopy!
What protocol was used in appointing the contractors,who are the same ones used for a variety of maintenance projects here,in particular, were competitive quotes obtained for such a major expenditure?
As this item was provided to supply natural rain water to the planters at the top of the stairs and for no other reason, when you add this to the recent increases to the Garden budget,along with the replacement mower the original having been stolen as it was left unattended in the open garaging,the Garden Maintenance is rapidly becoming the most expensive single item in our costs.
The gardens were originally designed as a low maintenance scheme yet with the increasing amount of allottment style provision appear to becoming labour intensive and requiring much equipment in recent years to maintain.
Have the board considered obtaining quotes for contractors to perform this function to establish any possible cost savings?
Another item I was concerned to read in the Annual report was the intention to fell the trees between the East and West wings following a site survey. The damage caused by the now mature trees to the dwarf walling apart from the raised planter by the steps to the Wibbly Wobbly is minimal and is also occuring where no such tree roots are present due to the heavy clay the site sits on and is a consequence of heave and subsidence due to the varying weather conditions ie drought and heavy rain.
The walls have stood for almost 15 years and the cost to repair most of the sections of brickwork affected should not be a major expense and if this logic is taken to its ultimate conclusion, we would need all the trees in Rope street felling for the same reasons.
I am concerned this item has been considered to further increase the allotments in the area which seem to be a particular interest to our present gardeners.
As I was unable to raise these issues last week would appreciate a brief summary of the minutes of the meeting to be made available on the website for all to see if thats possible in the interests of transparency.
Other residents input through this medium would be welcome on this and any other matters that those who were unable like me to attend the AGM.
November 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm #1220imported_postModerator
I think I should respond to this and look forward to what others have to say. In your order.
- The cost of cutting the holes in the canopies was unexpectedly high because they are made of high density cement particle and plywood, which together were very difficult to cut, requiring a lot of diamond jigsaw blades. I would estimate fifteen to twenty hours per canopy plus materials (two part epoxy edge sealing)
- Competitive tendering is often difficult to arrange for small jobs. RMG have a number of tradesmen on their books and should use their bargaining power tokeep daywork rates as low as possible. As you know, we have a contractor who does most of the small jobs on the estate (Ricki Lewis) and there is a considerable advantage in not switching contractors because familiarity with the scene here is vital to management of small jobs.
- The stolen mower has been replaced under insurance.
- Garden maintenance costs are on a par with internal cleaning costs, less than general building maintenance. There are no 'allotment style areas' we have planted fruit bushes and trees and a few potatoes which can hardly be said to be high maintenance. The new equipment we have is mainly for mowing the lawns and taming the bushes, not for the fruit trees. We pay our gardener around ten pounds an hour and she is pretty skilled by now. Outside contractors could deal quickly with things like leaf collection but I have been unable to find one who could provide the skills to look after our plants.
- I heartily agree with you about the trees in between the blocks. We have made an allowance for reducing the crowns by thinning and spending a certain amount on repairs to the brickwork each year.
Some of these matters were actually discussed at the meeting. I would be happy to meet anyone who would like to discuss further.
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