Friday, 28 June 2013

Update TMO June 27

Dear Ms Sobczak,

thank you very much for the email, and thank goodness for your recollections. I'm very pleased that the hamper will be picked up on Monday morning, I took it out of the original box which was broken and put it into a Marks & Spencer's canvas bag for easy movement. I'm sure somebody can eat it, but in the main I do thank you very much, that I don't want to be compensated or any gestures of goodwill. The only gesture of goodwill I would like is for things to be fixed and put right.

You can regard the whole of what has happened over the last three months as a complaint about the RBKC TMO's office as of now, although the original incidents are understood by me, and Mr Stuart Thompson upheld my complaint, he was the one who said I was getting a hamper in his email to me. Hence my desire, and in fact emphatic response that getting matters right ought not to be rewarded or require an offer of a gift. I don't want to benefit, other than the basics in my flat be serviceable. The more people try to justify what has become a catalogue of errors and mishaps is because people do not get the job done correctly in the first place and then offer half-hearted and half meant if it all meant, apologies.

When it comes to dealing with people and getting the job done, surely it is a matter of common courtesy to treat people openly, honestly fairly and with integrity. The number of people who've come from Willmott Dixon, some more than once, and some who were just given the job without any particular detail is obvious. So the tasking of Willmott Dixon by the TMO repairs Department is at fault. Lack of good communication, has further been demonstrated by the contractor who came to block the mouse holes. I am not unhappy with what he told me and his approach to the problem, however it was entirely different from the report or records submitted by the rodent Department. If one half don't know what the other half is saying or suggesting, is it any wonder that contractors become confused? And it is obvious that there is a knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes people turn up unexpected, and then people just don't turn up either at the time suggested or on the day you have suggested in the past, and then said it was a different day and the contractor could raise no one whilst I was actually here.

I do not think or feel that Stuart Thompson is the right man to handle this complaint. He is part of the problem, and he is probably quite agitated and angry at being challenged. So I do not expect Stuart Thompson to be able to handle this complaint correctly. Robert Black, if I remember correctly, is the person who was supposed to deal with this. It seems to me you are asking "the physician to heal himself." Indeed, in my experience, physicians cannot heal themselves. And if they try, they get into trouble.

If you have read my blog, today you will notice that following the previous contractor coming, he was able to clear up the mystery and provided me with a scientific understanding of water levels and how they rise and fall in the toilet. This is quite humorous and quite serious because it is the first explanation I have received over the years which makes any sense.

I too can get things wrong and end up feeling aggrieved when matters would have been dealt with, had somebody applied common sense and gumption.

Following on from the mouse proofing, the actual state of kitchen cupboards and what is behind them is quite startling. Dirt and grime and rodents with free and unrestricted access for years. Part of the reason why I find this startling is the wind that blows up through these areas and contaminates whatever I keep in the cupboards under the sink and side areas. This is a very unpleasant discovery and something could have been done had people been able to tell me the truth.

As I mentioned in my video, my expectations always have been lowered whenever I have been involved talking to the TMO repairs Department, and any of their representatives. So I'm not expecting anything from them, other than justifications and nonsense. Indeed, the more I can stay out of anything to do with the TMO repairs Department will make me very happy and quiet. And by that I mean I do not expect or have any expectations that the TMO repairs Department are capable of what other people have described as, "going back to basics."

And in these times of austerity, I am not expecting anything ever again. However, because there are other repairs to consider I need to make them known to you and whoever has the capability to deal with them:

The shower room floor needs attention, it is uneven, and has come away from the glued side, wooden fastenings. And there are places where the mastic needs replacing, following previous repairs.

In the kitchen, the window winder needs attention and the mechanism fails to work.

The kitchen sink taps were secured in place with mastic and need attention, because the mastic has worn away over time, and thus causes water to get in under the sink.

It is my duty as the householder to point these things out to you, and this I am doing.

Me and my health:

The consequences for me as an individual with type I diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, and many other problems associated with the disease have been complicated and it seems to me not taken seriously. I did experience an infection and troublesome times because I couldn't wash properly. Make no mistake, I'm very grateful for where I live, and the help I have had, during the years of homelessness, it was a very desolate and mentally disturbing time. When a person cannot care for themselves, I recognise it is very difficult for anyone else to help.

And without doubt I do owe my life and well-being to Council officers who recognised my plight and did their best to help me. If it had not been for them, I would have perished. And this is why, when I encounter the difficulties over the last few months that I despair with regard to the attitude and behaviour of some parts of the council.

I am a very fortunate person, having lived through the most difficult times. And if I am encountering problems like these, I am not the only one. Indeed if we did a survey questionnaire, depending on how the questions are posed, the view you would get of the TMO and what it does and how it does it, it would be grim reading. So don't do that because it is a self-serving instrument of consultancy. All that is needed is to pay attention, look at the process, make it work and don't hide from problems, simply solve them. If you run a department properly, operate within budget, you know what you can do now and what you cannot do now.

And with regard to budgets, they are set and if managed correctly, the budget is spent. I noticed in the council newsletter and that umpteen million had not been spent. That is not a good thing to show as an achievement, it is a failure of budgeting and management of the budget.

In many ways the council is tremendous and I take my hat off to those who are good at their jobs and get the job done. I'm alive because of the compassion and support of many people within the Council. And I do not doubt how difficult their job is when dealing with people who are mentally disturbed and suffering and have no way out of their suffering without help.

It is very easy to forget what the council is there to do, that is RBKC, the TMO and all the people who really do help as best they can. And it is easy to become embroiled in internal politics, attitudes and behaviour which are self serving. I am trying to be helpful, even though it seems a painful process, certainly for me, and certainly for other people who need help with the simplest basics. And even if you can't do the basics, it is better to know what you can do and what you cannot do, because there is acceptance and that is recognised not only by your teams, but by the people who are anxious to do their best and be good citizens again.  And others, simply to survive in some cases, and in other cases thrive again in some way..

I also recognise that the lack of communication can lead me into assumptions about people and how they do their jobs. And I can be wrong, and certainly I don't mind being better informed,

With regard,

Donald Oddy

Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 4:34 PM
Subject: RE: Update Complaint ref:84490 - 12 Curran House

Dear Mr Oddy,

Thank you for your email below and for your further emails/video links/blog links received recently.
I note though that the issues of mice proofing works have never been a part of your original complaint case, you raised it with me later and this matter has never been treated as a complaint, however I do appreciate your frustration with the overall experience. I am sorry to hear that you feel insulted by the hamper received from Willmot Dixon, we do recall that you have never asked for any compensation, the hamper was only a good will gesture and not an intention to insult you.

As per your request, we will collect the hamper, can you please confirm if next Monday, 1st July, morning would be convenient?

Our Repairs Manager, Stuart Thompson will respond to your further comments/feedback by Monday 8th July.


Ewa Sobczak
Complaints Officer

Thursday, 27 June 2013

TMO Repairs June 27

July 27, 2013… Seems like a never-ending story and the story changes each and every time somebody comes to do something. It means I can be working from unreliable information supplied as each view of each person helps the story evolve differently. People make assumptions about why I might be reporting repairs. I guess I can make life more difficult by suggesting alternatives which in my opinion might be more cost-effective?

The Carpenter arrives yesterday after 11 o'clock. Promised between eight and nine last week, so the work can be done expeditiously and without too much inconvenience, given my health. Between last week, and today… Last week Willmott Dixon turned up on Friday when I was expecting somebody from the TMO repairs office. Willmott Dixon delivered a hamper, which I had asked not to be delivered, and yet at the time of delivery. I was trying to work out why Willmott Dixon had turned up and not the TMO. The hamper a gesture of goodwill by the contractors Willmott Dixon. I don't believe half of what is said these days, because what is said by different people leads me to different conclusions. And it makes me quite irritated that no one seems to know what the other ones are doing.

The repairs to properties of my landlord are carried out by the TMO repairs Department who contract the work to different companies. Depending on the nature of the complaint or repair and need for timely action is indeed the function of the TMO repairs Department. From March 27 to June 27, from a blocked drain to a shower room problem to rodents getting into my abode, the process, the miscommunications and lack of timeliness has been very frustrating. And still, the TMO repairs Department do not seem to be able to offer anything in terms of truthfulness about what has happened and is happening.

When the handyman came round, actually I should say the contractor, thought to be a carpenter by me, turned out to be helpful and yet programmed to deliver a different solution to the one offered. I spent quite considerable time clearing out areas in the kitchen so that the Carpenter could then fill in and make good holes in cabinets and cover-up the voids behind them. When the Carpenter came, he said, "what I need to do is find out where they are coming in, the mice, and block up the holes which cause them access." I was happy with this because that seems to be the right thing to do. So he went and got his tools, wire wool and some cans of expandable filler.

Meanwhile, with the quick discussion with the contractor about what appeared to be leaks in the toilet, I realised that there was a principle of physics, which had an impact, and to which I was totally ignorant in scientific terms, "Bernoulli's principle applies to the concept of fluid dynamics, and states that an inviscid flow – one without resistance or interference – can only be produced when an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs at the exact same time as a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the potential energy of the fluid. Any imbalance between these two properties results in interference in the substance's fluidity." So I am now very uncertain about previous comments to do with leaks from the soil pipe!

And then the contractor blocked up the holes which previously would have been concrete and brick with wire wool and expandable foam. All very good. If it works, I will be delighted to have less of a rodent problem.

I took some photos, it seemed an appropriate thing to do. Where once there was brick and concrete, and as a layman what looks like asbestos covering the floor, there is now wire wool and expandable foam. Although the building does not seem to be falling down, the option of wire wool and expandable foam instead of brick, concrete and what looks like asbestos, the solution may well be okay?

What I learned so far from yesterday's visit? Since I have been here, the rodents have had access through all the backs of the cupboard's in voids in the wet room, the toilet and kitchen. And that the extent of the holes in the kitchen cupboards was far more of a problem than I ever imagined. What it means for me is that for several years rodents have had access. And by the time I get to see the evidence, and have contacted the TMO about it, the problem has manifestly been bigger and more extensive than is obvious. I do commend the pest control Department for their part in this, putting down bait to kill them off, at the same time the access points and the holes for the rodents have been exposed for quite a few years prior to my living here.

I really am gratified to know the science behind what seemed to be a leak in the toilet, even though there is oxidisation on the copper pipes as can be seen in the photographs. And what suspiciously looks like asbestos in the floor behind the WC does concern me.

The backs of the kitchen cupboards are exposed, the pipework coverings on pipes from the boiler still have quite wide gaps. The toilet? And the bathroom/wet room floor has come off to a degree and the side wood panels/flooring are not glued correctly. Progress. I guess?

What happens next?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


RBKC TMO Failure To Communicate

July 18, 2014: update on flat 12 Curran House repairs and renovations.

1. Rewiring

The flat has now been rewired, the full rewire took 3 1/2 days to complete. The Electrical contractors did the very best they could, however the limits to which they can feed wires through the floors/walls was hampered by the kitchen units being installed over conduits which affected other areas that as well. As a consequence loss of space in cupboards. And conduits were put in when wires could not be pulled through. At first they are unsightly. And just like other people I have to live with it.

The inspection by the supervisor after the installation was perfunctory and superficial. I don't have a problem with the inspection if that is what it was meant to be. However, as the system was previously assessed by professionals as in need of rewiring, I would have thought part of the inspection would include an assessment and testing of the system which had been installed. So as far as I know, the electrical installation has not been signed off, so it is not certified or certificated in anyway.

I also understand that the main contractor employs subcontractors to complete the work on an ad hoc basis wherever they can get access. There is no accountability in this process as far as I can see, except of course for the TMO. The contractors were very affable, hard-working and did the job specified. It does not mean that the job has been done correctly and to the standards required by law, because it has not been tested.

2. Walk-in shower floor and leaks

Currently Keith Noble is overseeing the issue with the walk-in shower in my flat, which seems to be leaking into flat six below. As this issue has been going on for several years, and that previous surveyors from the TMO, who have valiantly argued that the walk-in shower is perfectly all right for a least a couple of years, it seems to me that the walk-in shower in my flat, not only seems to be an ongoing problem, it has become very expensive.

For several months in 2013, due to holidays, getting the incorrect resources/replacement parts, unqualified people trying to do a job they are not able to do, last year was particularly difficult for a disabled person like me and the conditions I have. Some of which are caused by stress, distress and anxiety. The complaints I've made and shared with Robert Black, Nick Paget Brown, Tim Rees and everybody else has failed to yield any response. I was interviewed yesterday about the responses that I have received from the council and the TMO, and I suggested that the best word to use was "indolent “and to elaborate the word is described with these synonyms "lazy, idle, slothful, loafing, work-shy, shiftless, apathetic, lackadaisical, inactive, inert, lifeless, sluggish, lethargic, listless, languid, torpid, slow, slow-moving, dull, plodding; slack, lax, remiss, negligent, good-for-nothing; informal bone idle." Of course I could be wrong?

3. Gas boiler bar pressure: the T Brown engineer who has been coming regularly to up the bar pressure in the gas boiler, suggested that I might try reminding the repairs department about the leak which may be in the system. And that the solution to the problem is a solution which can be put in the system to repair pinhole leaks. I don't know why this issue is ongoing because a very affable man from T Brown said he would get the job done. Unfortunately, whatever the solution may be, available on Amazon prime with next day delivery, is eluding the company presently.

4. Repair to kitchen window: I'm delighted to report that after several months of waiting for new parts, the kitchen window winder and the kitchen window are now repaired.

5. Pest control: I'm saddened and yet accepting that as a consequence of the rewiring, the mouse runs are now open again. I am sure the pest control officer will be around in the near future to put down more bait. All the work done to pest proof or mouse proof is to no avail.

6. Damaged carpet: when taking out and installing the third new walk-in shower floor, the shower floor engineer managed to get some sort of bitumen type substance on my carpets in the hallway outside the walk-in shower. And also managed to get same substance further down the corridor to the kitchen, and also in the WC on the linoleum.

7. Damaged draining board: although I'm delighted that my window winder in the kitchen now works, the first engineer knelt hard and bent the draining board. Fortunately for me Mr Noble had managed to get somebody in to bash out and then reseal the draining board. Although I advised the window winding engineer that the draining board would not take the weight of a human, after they had gone, having fixed my window winder, unfortunately the draining board was damaged yet again, and it does not drain properly and the drawer beneath will not open correctly.


Damage to property which is owned by the TMO RBKC seems to be ongoing.

Damage to my carpet

Time served by me waiting for repairs, which now is in the months, and years, it seems to me that indolent is a good description of how the TMO RBKC operate. I like all the people who come here, they are affable and try to do what they can with what they have. Unfortunately all the reasons for the current problems are managerial, operations systems and procedures which do not work in the way intended.

What to do? My job is to report and share what is going on. It is not my job to have to bring matters to your attention which ought to be routine and regularly resolved.

In a commercial world, the conduct of the council and TMO would not be acceptable.

We can love people, like people and even get to know people when they come and do what they can with the tools that they are given. And this is an expression I use quite a lot: "I can like and love people, at the same time I can hate their behaviour."

Complaints department: whenever I have tried to get some understanding and sense of what will happen, the complaints department start that process with a 10 day to reply policy. I can imagine there is a 10 day lag because if I am experiencing these problems, I'm sure I'm not the only one. Until of course the worst case scenario happens: service users believe that the council and the TMO are useless and simply don't care. Once that is firmly established as a principal in the service user, the TMO and RBKC continue to be indolent. Of course I could be wrong?

I am truly disappointed and feel very let down by the ongoing repairs never seemingly ending. And that renovations are simply not followed up in the way any commercial organisation would need to as a matter of compliance. And the health and safety issues…?

I'm not sure how accountabilities and responsibilities work within the TMO and the RBKC. At the same time I do feel I ought to check with your ombudsman. In order for me to do this I do need to know who I ought to identify as responsible and set a process in motion which is acceptable under your systems and procedures which are very vague

Slideshow Repairs