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Hackney Council tenants dismayed builders' 'botch job' will take at least a year to put right

PUBLISHED: 15:44 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:25 13 December 2018

Bridport House in Bridport Place, on the edge of Hoxton Park. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Bridport House in Bridport Place, on the edge of Hoxton Park. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Emma Bartholomew

Test results have revealed bricks were never fixed correctly to the outside of Bridport House - finally solving the mystery why the council tower block is defective seven years after construction.

Cracks in the brick work at Bridport House. Picture: Michael JonesCracks in the brick work at Bridport House. Picture: Michael Jones

Social housing tenants are now furious it will take Wilmott Dixon at least another year to sort out the crumbling brickwork, as they painstakingly remove bricks and install fixings behind them to make sure they don’t crack in future.

Horizontal movement joints will also be added on each brickwork panel to allow for the movement of seasonal expansion and contraction of the frame.

In August the council had to dispel rumours the wooden-framed building, which is built on top of a massive sewer, was falling down.

The report compiled by three structural engineers and an independent engineer – which Wilmott Dixon has refused to share with the Gazette – has apparently found no structural problem at the heart of the cracking brickwork.

Cracks in the brick work at Bridport House. Picture: Michael JonesCracks in the brick work at Bridport House. Picture: Michael Jones

The award-winning eight-storey block in Hoxton which borders Shoreditch Park opened to fanfare in 2011 as the first council housing built in Hackney for four decades – but tenants have been plagued with problems.

They are dismayed the defective building will be swathed in even more scaffolding until 2020.

One of them, Michael Jones, told the Gazette: “This was a botch job and it has been going on and on and on, and this is just sickening. It isn’t just the brickwork - there is the heating and the issue with the lift.

“We say pull the block down or put us into one of the new places over the road, but they just won’t have it.

Bricks have been removed for investigative work at Bridport House. Picture: Emma BartholomewBricks have been removed for investigative work at Bridport House. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

“It’s bad workmanship that’s caused it, and there was no overlook on the building.”

Hackney Council has changed its processes to make sure new homes are built according to “stringent requirements”.

A spokesperson said: “On other council projects, like the homes currently being completed on the Colville Estate, the council now employs a dedicated inspector – called a clerk of works – to check that new homes are built according to our instructions.”

Responding to why it took so long to find a solution, they state: “It is difficult to permanently fix a complex building problem if you’re not sure what’s causing it.”

Tenants have been promised compensation based on the time they will be unable to access their balcony or garden.

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