Frequently asked questions
What work will be undertaken to my block?
The project will include the installation of a thermal fabric wrap called External Wall Insulation (EWI), renewal and refurbishment of your balcony, concrete and structure repairs to ensure the integrity of the block is preserved and new double-glazed windows to your flat and communal areas.
When will work start?
We will commence work when the government advises that it is safe to do so. Subject to planning, the work will commence in the summer of this year and is planned to finish in the summer of 2022.The blocks will be improved in a phased manner to reduce disruption and to keep everyone safe.
What is External Wall Insulation?
External Wall Insulation (EWI) is a system of thermally efficient and attractive wall insulation, offering both energy efficiency and exterior protection to structures. Insulation is fitted to the outer walls of a building, covered with specialist render cladding and finished in a colour and texture of your choice, ensuring aesthetic appeal is striking and durable. The system can be applied to new construction projects or as part of a refurbishment on either high or low-rise buildings to deliver high performance insulation that is guaranteed to conserve energy and eliminate condensation related issues.
Is External Wall Insulation safe?
Safe and reliable products and systems are our top priority. The product that we intend to use has been independently certified and fully compliant with Building Regulations. This includes structure and fire regulations, using independent fire institute laboratories and structural engineers to test and evaluate our EWI system, ensuring the highest levels of performance.
The chosen EWI system, Soltherm 75, is A2 fire rated and has also been full scale fire tested. The system utilises mineral wool insulation which has a fire rating of A1, meaning it is non-combustible and will not contribute at all to the spread of fire.
Are windows and doors being replaced?
We will be installing new UPVC double glazed windows and balcony doors to all residential flats as well as the windows in communal areas. For safety reasons, during the construction works all balcony doors will be securely locked to prevent resident access to the construction site.
What will happen to our balconies?
If not already installed, we will be installing a Balcony balustrade system with Galvanized mild steel handrail and surround with sand blown toughened glass insets. The balustrades can be front fixed or top fixed using quality fixings. All balconies will comply with building regulations in relation to fire and safety.
Will materials be stored on site?
Storage of all materials will be in containers but to minimize the impact on the surrounding areas we will encourage our supply chain to reduce any excess materials stored on site.
Will the work impact on our security?
All external works will be accessed either using scaffold or mast climber platforms set up on all sides of the building. We will ensure ladders will be removed at the end of each working day so as to discourage anyone from attempting unauthorised access at night or over weekends. Scaffold fans will be erected above the front and rear entrances to the blocks which will add additional protection to members of the public and residents whilst the work is underway.
Access will be restricted to the scaffold/mast climber areas by 2-metre-high security fencing inside the existing low-level fencing line.
Will the landscaped areas be protected?
We will use our best endeavours to protect mature shrubs and plants around the perimeter of the building but should any be damaged they will be replaced on a like for like basis when the works are complete.
Will I feel the difference once installed?
Yes – the effects are instant. You will not require the heating on as long or as often and there will also be noise reduction benefits. The effects will also be felt in the summer months with your property less susceptible to temperature fluctuations.
How can I get involved?
We will be advertising our consultation and involvement programme soon, but most of this will be undertaken online.
We will be organising an Energy Efficiency Day during the construction period. Representatives from SMS and Soltherm will be available to give advice and support to you on how to live in your home comfortably after the works have been completed. You will be able to benefit from advice on how to heat and ventilate your new warm homes, help with heating regimes and given bespoke benefits of saving carbon to pass on to friends and family within the community.
Who do I Contact?
You can submit any questions or queries via your TMO or on the Facebook group.
Will there be any job opportunities?
We are working with Walsall College to finalise our Employment and Skills Plan to ensure it captures the local community needs. By working together Watmos and SMS, will identify opportunities across the main phases of the contract, giving consideration for the appointment of local labour to our supply chain as well as providing training opportunities to local residents. Advertisements of job opportunities will be published in local publications and on the Watmos website.
I am a Leaseholder, who do I contact to understand how my home will be included in the project?
If you are a leaseholder and would like further information please contact your TMO Manager. All information relating to leaseholders will be regularly updated on this FAQ page.
What will happen to my TV and satellite reception?
Privately installed satellite dishes will be removed and given to tenants when work begins on your floor. You will not be allowed to reinstall your dish once the block refurbishment has been completed but you will still be able to receive TV and Satellite via the communal TV and satellite system. Watmos are in the process of reviewing and upgrading the communal TV satellite systems.
How do I contact the Tenant Liaison Officer (TLO) on my estate?
You can contact your TLO via email or phone (TBC)
Will there be any down time with my Sky TV reception?
Watmos are undertaking the installation of a new system in advance of our work starting so there should be no interruption of the Sky service.
Is the insulation being used the same type that caused the tragedy at Grenfell?
Our system is totally different from the cladding system applied at Grenfell.
What colour will my block be?
Following the consultation the chosen colours for the blocks are as follows:
I am a lease holder, how do I find out the breakdown of costs?
You need to speak to your local TMO office.
Why has access to my balcony been restricted and the door locked?
Access to your balcony has been restricted as they are being refurbished or replaced, and are classified as a construction site. They will therefore not be safe to access while construction activities are underway.
The balconies are not classified as a mean of escape or rescue in the event of fire.
These FAQ’s will be updated regularly and will be made available in hard copy upon request.
Click here to read the project overview page and related material