The Ministry for Housing says it is proud of its refurbishment programme and upgrade of housing stock with its most recent project, the refurbishment of Bishop Canilla House.
A statement from the Government follows below:
This block was originally completed in August 2000, and has from the outset, caused tenants to suffer from rainwater penetration problems as a result of defective and substandard construction. The Housing Department has continuously received complaints water ingress and damp. On this basis this administration decided to proceed with a major refurbishment of this building before it fell into further disrepair.
Accordingly, it was announced by the Minister for Housing Samantha Sacramento MP in her 2017 budget speech.
The major refurbishment works consist of;
- the installation of external wall insulation system
- the replacement of all roof coverings and glass atrium
- improvements to the accessibility of the building to assist those with disabilities and mobility issues
- the replacement of all windows with double-glazing and roller blinds
- the enclosure of all balconies with provision for tenants to install air conditioning units
- the redecoration of all common areas, including the replacement of the floor tiles
- the installation of a sun pergola at the rear patio area
These works will not only improve the building aesthetically, but will also remedy the water ingress problem, particularly through the poorly designed and constructed balcony floors; and the substandard external blockwork construction. These particular defects has led to the decision of enclosing, not only the existing external blockwork facades, but the existing balconies. These works will, in effect, protect the building from the elements in the future. The external refurbishment will also vastly improve the environmental footprint of the building. The upgrading of one of the passenger lifts to a stretcher lift commenced towards the end of 2017 and was commissioned last year. This upgrade to a stretcher lift has greatly assisted medical staff during medical emergencies.
The further refurbishment works which commenced in January last year will take just over a year and the works were originally envisaged to be completed by February 2019. Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions and logistical issues, the projected completion date has been moved to March this year with no added cost to the taxpayer. These works are monitored closely in order to cause as little disruption to tenants as humanly possible.
Once the refurbishment is complete, the block will be upgraded to the same standard as the purpose-built accommodation for the elderly at Charles Bruzon House and Seamaster Lodge.
The Minister for Housing, Samantha Sacramento, said: “Our elderly community are very important to us and we aim to restore and improve the quality of life of the residents of Bishop Canilla House by improving the environment in which they live to the highest standard. As with all major refurbishment works, there may be some temporary inconvenience, but this will be short term and well worth it. Housing officials on the ground are mindful of the tenants and their needs and are monitoring the works closely to ensure that the tight schedule of works is being met with the minimum disruption to them. The images that have been recently circulated in the public domain show the state of disrepair that these homes find themselves in on account of initial bad design and faulty workmanship and it is precisely what these refurbishments works have been commissioned to cure. This refurbishment will include the much-awaited replacement of existing vertical sash windows with the more user-friendly double glazed horizontal sliding windows with roller blinds. The improvements also shows the commitment and continuous upkeep and maintenance so that the building does not once again fall into a state of disrepair.”