Published: 4 May, 2012
• THE recent decision by the Leaseholders Valuation Tribunal (LVT) to refuse Islington Council the right to appeal the tribunal’s ruling will, I am sure, be great news for leaseholders and tenants, since morally it now leaves the council with no choice other than to challenge the contractors with regard to reclamation of leaseholders’ and public monies (Tribunal shockwave, April 20).
So, why has Islington for so long suffered overpriced contracts, disgusting workmanship and unnecessary building works?
The answer is simple. Generally, main contractors do not maintain a directly employed workforce; but, instead, simply fulfill the function of a facilitator, rather than a contractor. They split up the contract into areas such as painting, carpentry, plumbing and electrics, and sub-contract each section to what they euphemistically refer to as specialists or, in plain language, sub-contractors.
These specialists are then free to sub-contract to other specialists, who of necessity (because
so much of the initial cash has now been consumed in management/handling fees) are obliged to employ the cheapest workers they can find to actually do the work.
Consequently, although the council may pay for best quality, which should ensure true value for money, what they usually receive is cheap and cheerful rubbish.
If this council is determined to save public money, it needs to start at the root of the problem: issue smaller contracts so that local builders, employing local labour, can bid for the work, restrict any successive sub-contracting to highly specialised fields, constantly monitor builders and their work, before, during and after completion, and retain a sufficient percentage of the contracted price to ensure the job is completed on time and delivers real value for money.
There is now a very clear case for this council to return to employing a direct labour force to service the borough’s building and repairs requirements.
DR BS POTTER
Chairman, Federation of Islington Tenants’ Associations
Chairman, Islington Leaseholders’ Association
• DR Potter is on the Letters page every week it seems. Give others a chance to express their point of view.
This man does not represent me or the majority of those he says he does.
Give us a break, please.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED