Reports of faults with at least five balconies on the Gascoigne Estate in Barking have been flagged
A balcony built by construction company Bouygues UK on behalf of L&Q collapsed into the street on Saturday (11 November), just four years after the block was built at Weavers Quarter on the Gascoigne Estate in Barking.
Parts of the Weavers Quarter balcony collapsed into the street.
Credit: Matt Lismore
The council is now inspecting a further 70 balcomies to ensure that they are safe, a Barking & Dagenham Council spokesperson said.
Paris-based Bouygues was awarded the construction contract to build the first phase of the Gascoigne Estate redevelopment, consisting of 421 homes, in August 2015. The overall redevelopment is set to deliver 1,575 new homes.
The original scheme was built for L&Q, before it was sold to Barking & Dagenham Council’s housing company B&D Reside.
Matt Lismore, chair of the residents’ association and a tenant at Gascoigne Estate, said the façade had fallen off the balcony into the street, revealing “worn bits of wood”, which he suggested had been worn down by moisture.
Lismore said that another balcony partially collapsed into the balcony attached to the property below during the summer of 2021.
In one case, Lismore said that there had been reports of screws falling off balconies. His view was that galvanized screws had not been used, meaning they had become rusty and fallen off.
He said that Barking and Dagenham’s property management team came out to replace the screws, but that concerns about the balconies’ safety remained.
He added that on some properties, metal capping had fallen off the roof edges.
Bouygues has not confirmed what materials were used to construct the balconies’ deck boards, joists and frames.
The £41.5m contract entailed Bouygues constructing 190 homes as part of phase one of the Barking and Dagenham regeneration scheme.
The regeneration scheme was designed by Levitt Bernstein and Allies + Morrison were the masterplanners for the redevelopment.
In a statement, Barking and Dagenham Council said that the leader of LBBD council, Councillor Darren Rodwell raised concerns in a letter to the Managing Director of Bouygues about the balcony facades on Weavers Quarter estate in Barking.
In his letter, Rodwell wrote: “In September, L&Q, the original development agent for the scheme, served a defect notice on Bouygues about the soundness of the balcony facades. I understand that Bouygues have accepted this notice, but not yet liability for the work. I understand Bouygues have already completed repairs to some balconies on the estate. I expect all remaining inspections to be carried out at pace so that work can be completed to make good the remaining balconies.”
The council spokesperson added: “On the evening of 11 November, the underside of a balcony’s facade on the Weaver’s Quarter estate in Barking collapsed. Thankfully no one was hurt. Although it did not affect the structural integrity of the building, it was a horrifying experience for the people living there and represents a risk to people who may be passing by.
“The estate was built by Bouygues on behalf of L&Q. Under the [section] 106 Agreement, the council also owns properties on the estate via our housing company Reside. The management of these properties sits with Reside.
“Following further reports from residents that they were concerned about balcony safety - investigations were carried out by Reside and L&Q in consultation with our building safety team.
“We are currently in discussions with Bouygues to impress on them the need to take urgent action on the concerns raised. We will continue to work with Bouygues, L&Q and Reside to address any ongoing resident concerns.”
Bouygues has been contacted for comment.