April 28, 2017

Homewalk House can’t have energy efficient LEDs, because ‘we think £14,000 dimmers are better, says FirstPort’

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A furious resident at Homewalk House in Sydenham, south-east London, is complaining that FirstPort is blocking a proposal to introduce energy efficient LED lighting which could save residents money.

The below is the complaint of John Lillywhite to FirstPort.

We are happy to publish any reply.

Carlex would be interested to learn of other concerns where managing agents / freeholders are resisting energy efficient measures to improve housing stock.

It is a matter that should be raised publicly with MPs immediately.

Legal Department
First Port ret.
New Milton.18th Sept 2015.

Ref. Public Lighting and energy/cost conservation in this building.

Dear Sir/Madam,
N.B Due to the technical aspects, This will be copied to the FP Technical Manager.

To business:-
The public areas in this building are illuminated by very close to 60 light fittings, with (at present) high speed fluorescent (2D) lamps of about 1980 design.

Some weeks ago, a resident proposed that the fittings are upgraded to LED fittings. This would provide significant savings, not only in power usage, but also from a vastly reduced need for lamp replacement. Surely a benefit to everybody.

As for costs, in my time in Facilities Management, the major considerations when assessing projects such as this was Payback. That is the time taken for the expected savings to overtake the project costs. 5 years was thought of as acceptable, 2 years or better excellent.

My anticipated payback for this proposal is about 2 years. Provided that a properly qualified and experienced contractor is engaged after proper invitation to Quote procedures are followed.

At our last Area Managers meeting, when this subject was raised, Mrs Pollard’s rather peremptory response was “We have decided that it won’t be done”.

When questioned she went on to say that “they” ,Who ? Decided, without any reference to us, to add a Dimming system which would have increase the costs to £14,000, at least double the cost of our proposal. Systems which were discredited decades ago.

Apart from the ridiculous misuse of OUR FUNDS, and the unnecessary over complication of simple and effective system. I say that they make the system potentially unsafe, such as if they failed to off at night.

My reason for writing directly to you is a legal one, made after much study of our lease and all support documents as supplied by Peverel, as was. I ask:-

By what right does FP reject , without consultation of any kind with we Residents, an eminently sensible proposal which would be of benefit to all? The reason given, after challenge, was an unnecessary, unneeded, expensive and complicated addition to the scheme; and without presenting any data to support your case. My study of said documents indictees no such right, especially as it is the use of Our Money under consideration. I look forward to a prompt reply.

Sincerely,
John Lillywhite
Homewalk House
cc. FP Technical dept, Mrs Pollard, Mr O’Donnell, Customer Care, , Carlex and any other person deemed appropriate by me.

Comments

  1. Correct me if I am wrong, but one of the reasons for selling off Development Managers’ flats was to raise money to install….LED lighting! The big sales pitch is to save money on the servcie charges. How strange they should be doing the oppoiste at Homewalk House.

    Dimmable lights will suffer a lot of maintenance problems. They always do. LED fitttings with microwave sensors is a much better solution.

    • Insider, what I believe happens is the works are designated to companies who will quote for work and after undertaking the works Pev/Port can add a figure to the contract sum by stating the company is a subcontractor.
      Theses contracts are not required to be within the S20 where there is a need to consult and the £250 max per flat times the number of flats i.e.at Ashbrook Court 28 times = £7000.00.
      This is similar to roof, tree surveys where they add costs to each contract. We recently had a Roof Survey which when I enquired with the company the cost was to be £250 plus VAT, I was then informed by friends that last year these Roof Surveys were charged at £400.00. If the developments have yearly Roof Surveys then 1465 times £400 is £586,000.00? Also recently the Blue Book which was sent to me that was supplied by Peverel Retirement and it explains “What Does The Management Fee Cover”?

      • The Peverel Blue was delivered to House Managers and was the Bible that was considered to be the ultimate statements used by the HM to give residents answers when asked?

        “What Does The Management Fee Cover” 2007/11
        I was sent a copy of this booklet and the latest booklet which states:

        “Explaining Management Fees” “Your Money Our Management” 2015

        These two booklets have subtle changes which allows duplication of costs for Training, Travel Allowance, Risk Assessments and others.

        The new yellow book from Firstport Retirement has purposely removed the notes that informed us we paid for the “PUBLICATION OF LIFE & STYLE PEVEREL RETIREMENT RESIDENT MAGAZINE”, which is now issue 14.

        This means we have paid for 14 of these magazines over a 5 year period where Peverel were receiving the Advertising Costs, this is being checked as we speak.

        Blue Booklet Revelations

        After receiving copies of the Blue Booklet (from supporters) which has at last provides details of what is included in “Management Fees”
        This booklet produced and distributed to Area Managers had been hidden away and kept at the House Managers Flats

        The Booklets were produced in 2007, again in 2011 and now in 2015.
        The Peverel Retirement booklet show in print

        “What Does The Management Fee Cover”.

        The two Booklets differ from each other in content 2007/2011.
        •Accounts
        •Treasury
        •Credit Control
        •Regulatory Compliance
        •Estate Management
        •Communications

        Compare this with the 2015 booklet
        •Financial
        •Communications
        •Estate Management
        •Regulatory Compliance
        •Treasury
        .Credit Control

        Each of these items have been scrutinised by friends of Ashbrook Court, and a major find of monies collected by Peverel Retirements parent company Peverel Services Ltd will be mind blowing.
        Follow this over the coming weeks, you will be surprised and shocked?

        Posted by chas on 22 September 2015

        This posted on this subject see About Peverel on the web, just go into Google or similar.

        Chas,

        Are you saying that Peverel FP have knowingly double charged residents??

        If Firstport has doubled charged all residents in 1,500 developments, would it mean its illegal?

        This would mean many many many £ millions of duplicate double charging.

        Should the SFO be alerted to investigate to recover £ millions double charged by Firtsport?

        Posted by 22 September 2015

        • The Blue Booklets have been recalled by the Director of Firstport CC who must of been aware of the duplication and could not risk us residents finding it.

          The questions of what was included in Management Fees has been aske since 2007/08 when our Area Manager RC was in charge, he has this year been moved.

          I have no faith in the SFO as they have stated to me that the fraud carried out by Peverel/Cirrus now Firstport/Appello are not considered serious enough as they only made £1.4 million pounds over 5 years.

          I will ask them again if they can add this duplication and advertising Fees together with the Price Fixing as we are aware now that they were cheating as far back as 2005 to 20009 and now the duplication can be found in the Trial Balance/Audit Fees from 2007/08.

          Sebastian any comments or help?

        • Michael Epstein says:

          Chas,
          I can’t find anything in the lease that states the leaseholder is responsible for the costs of publishing the Life & Scam magazine?
          Comparing the booklets, you can see major changes. How is this possible without an agreed change of contract?
          Whilst residents are being charged for Life &Scam magazine, they do not benefit from it (unless they like to know that Maude aged 97, knitted a pair of socks for redundant Peverel/Firstport staff) they might like to know that apart from the self adverts (Kingsborough etc) other adverts are charged at around £1,200 per full page and £800 per half page.
          Guess who gets to keep the profits? Is it a) the leaseholders who have paid for Life & Scam(even though they were not liable to pay?) or b) the financially stricken property management company currently calling themselves Firstport?

        • Michael Epstein says:

          Chas,
          Many thanks for the tremendous work you are doing.
          Would you agree with me that if by any chance anyone were to get hold of an original management contract and publish it Peverel/Firstport would be most unhappy?

          • Michael,
            I do agree as the COP states that there is to be a yearly tender when the value of the tender would be over £100 per flat as at ABC we pay over £12,000 a year for a management that is no longer value for money or of reasonably value.

          • Michael,
            I have been sent an original management contract which is not easy to determine the value why Peverel refused to provide to the courts when asked?

            I have appointed a friend who is a professional who will explain the contract conditions and its value as a contract document?

        • Further to the Blue Book:

          In 07/11 Peverel Retirement Produced a Booklet Your Service Charge Explained and whose code was PR-W-SC-07/11.
          This was supplied to all HM who would quote the information that was written inside.
          As usual with Peverel Retirement the pages were not numbered.
          The middle pages were headed “CHARGES EXPLAINED” Management Fee.
          It then stated that:-
          “This is the fee you pay to Peverel Retirement. It covers the costs of a wide range of activities we have to undertake to efficiently manage your development.

          According to a Peverel Retirement House Manager, “The costs of producing Life & Style Magazine are paid out of “Profits”. As such Peverel Retirement are entitled to keep the revenue from advertising”
          A one page advert cost £1200.00
          Half Page Advert costs £800.00
          The total adverts seen in one of these magazines is 14 full pages and 8 half pages.
          This means that the revenue from the magazine for one year could be as much as £23,200.00 for one issue. They have so far issued 14 such Mags which pro rata they could have received £328,800.00 since they began publishing,
          (All of the 50,000 Residents paid for the production and Distribution)???

          Has any resident received any money from the Adverts???

          The Blue Booklet under the heading Communications states:-

          *Production and distribution of printed information for Residents, including The Welcome Pack
          Our Service Promise
          Peverel Repair Policy
          *Publication of Life & Style, Peverel Retirement`s Resident magazine three times a year.

          Carol Crowe denies this even though the Blue Book was sent to all Peverel Retirement Developments.

          The new Yellow Book has omitted that we pay for the Life & Style Mag but admits to that we pay for the Welcome Pack which we pay for twice when we leave???

          Why was paying for Life & Style mentioned in the original Blue Book???

          If it was really true that Life & Style Mag was paid for out of profits, it would have shown on Peverel Retirement accounts. It never has???

          Why would Peverel Retirements senior managers keep denying the facts???

      • Sebastian I am having problems posting on LKP can you help please?

    • By what right does FP reject , without consultation of any kind with we Residents, an eminently sensible proposal which would be of benefit to all? The reason given, after challenge, was an unnecessary, unneeded, expensive and complicated addition to the scheme; and without presenting any data to support your case. My study of said documents indictees no such right, especially as it is the use of Our Money under consideration. I look forward to a prompt reply.

      Sincerely,

      John,
      Peverel Retirement as was, now Firstport Retirement will prevent you from choosing what you require as it is not in their interest to allow you to prevent them carrying on as they have always carried on.

      I have been informed by a whistle blower that each development is run as a main contractor by a member of staff, designated to each trade, with a List of Contractors to use who allow exchange of benefits from the then subcontractor to the main contractor who is financially better off. The more contracts that Pev/Port decide to undertake the more they benefit. The more the cost the more they make?

      A Main Contractor is usually paid 2.5% of a contract sum simply by using subcontract labour.

      EG
      A Main Contractor used by Pev/Port for replacing windows is tendered and 2 or 3 contractors tender. One of the contractors has to be a contractor that has no links to lets say Pev/Port as it states in COP and ARMA.

      As happened at Ashbrook Court for the replacement of the Warden Call System Peverel/Cirrus used Glyn Jackson who was already a subcontractor was asked to tender knowing the tender price of Peverel/Cirrus. So Glyn Jackson invalidated the COP and ARMA Regulations, at Peverel Retirement and Cirrus knew what they were doing and it was wrong.

      Lists of contractors are chosen because they will enter into tenders aware of the benefits paid by them for the contracts. So the more work they find be it windows, lighting, decorating, painting, tarmac paving slabs, gutter replacing, PVCu replacement, trees surveys, roofing surveys, Risk Assessment etc. the more money is made???

      These items of replacement or may or may not require consultation, but if it does those in charge will do any thing they can to ensure the company benefits, not the development.

      Sebastian has my details.

    • A recent finding of Duplication of Costs that are included in the Management Fee:-

      The Blue Booklet (BB) was a useful part of the contract used by Peverel as it implied that items were covered by the Management Fees that we pay each year. This Booklet was available to Area Managers (AM) and House Managers (HM) and was to be kept in the document safe, at each Residential House Managers Flat (RHMF) this was to be kept with the Invoice Files and other documents for access by residents, (if they knew it was there).
      The BB (and now a Yellow Book (YB)) states on the front: “Your Service Charge Explained” and its purpose was to explain in writing:

      “What does the Management Fee Cover” It states under the heading:

      “Management Fee” – “This is the fee you pay to Peverel Retirement. It covers the cost of a wide range of activities we have to undertake to efficiently manage your development”.
      There are 6 Main Headings and under these headings they provide activities which we pay for. Pev/Post are now stating that this document was a guide only and deny that it is a legal document. To make matters worse they have produced a similar copy which states on the front page: “Our Fees Explained” Inside under a heading: “Explaining Management Fees” “Your Money Our Management” Again this is under 6 Main Headings, where items have been changed and other items removed.

      Has any resident been notified of these changes to a document that implied items are still included and other items of costs, have been removed? This means that Pev/Port charge separately for costs items that were included prior to April 2015. We now at Ashbrook Court pay again for the Training of House Managers every time they are replaced? To date we have paid for 4 new House Managers since 2008/09, a new House manager commences in October so we will have paid out £2,500, costs for training that is included already in the Management Fee, as can be readily seen in both the BB and YB.

      Ask your Development Manager for a Copy?

  2. What a coincidence this subject should come up, recently we had an AM”s meeting where “A Resident’ proposed that we investigate the provision of motion sensors to the communal areas to reduce electric consumption.

    This of course is unrealistically simplistic, because of the technical implications involved.
    Forget Fluorescent – Energy Saving or the continued use of tungsten filament bulbs – they are yesterdays outdated technology, LED is the way ahead.

    However we are to be presented by a FP selected company with a sales pitch as to what we may chose.

    To my mind the only proposal I would consider is one where LED fitments/replacements are recommended. no dimmers, motion or light sensors. This is course subject to an audit by the FP company of comparisons to our past electricity consumption and projected savings – plus examples from other complexes.

    I would appreciate any comments by FP residents who have been subject to this sales pitch in their complex that may help me to interrogate the presentation.

  3. Hi

    to conduct a comparison, you must compare for each solution the following:

    a) installation cost – labour
    b) purchase cost – fittings and bulbs
    c) annualised replacement cost – coct of bulb / life of bulb [in years]
    d) anual electricity cost

    the analysis will usually show that led’s are an expensive waste of time

    on staircases they are usually ILLEGAL because the fittings do NOT come with diffusers which are mandated by the building regulations.

    in one block on one estate i know of a quarter of residents have fallen – one them fatally.

    could peverel first port care … no diffusers and overly bright lighting – now even brighter white led’s.

    happy falling down …

  4. Michael Epstein says:

    These issues tend to raise their ugly head according to the Peverel/Firstport financial position.
    Someone has to pay for the developments that Peverel/Firstport manage “Well”. As ever, it is the leaseholder that has had Peverel/Firstport imposed on them that is expected to subsidise a failing company, who are past masters in liberating service charge funds for their own benefit.

  5. Michael Hollands says:

    It’s exactly one year since ARMA began considering accepting Peverel/First Port into ARMA Q.
    Happy Anniversary.
    No doubt this question of LEDS or Dimmers will set them back further.
    I get the impression from the Peverel/First Port website that the Retirement branch is already a Q member. By lumping all the different companies together one gets this impression.
    I am surprised a professional body like ARMA allows this to happen.

    • Why would a company who has 1465 developments refused ARMA-Q

      • Michael Epstein says:

        An existing member of ARMA (May&Co) based in Fulham, London SW6 achieved ARMA-Q status 30th June 2015. This is the latest accreditation recorded by ARMA.
        It is a year since Peverel/Firstport Retirement applied for ARMA-Q and still no decision has been made.
        Perhaps a reference to planned future posts on About Peverel will help ARMA come to a conclusion!
        It has to be asked, since the Peverel/Firstport companies are run by the same people how can one company be suitable for ARMA-Q and another company not be?

        • Michael,
          Can you check the Blue Booklet (BB) and the Yellow Booklet (YB) for duplication and where the Directors have ordered the removal of the Blue Booklets?

          They have replaced BB with the YB.

          These new Booklets are not readily available as they have been kept by those who received them, even though at first glance it would seem they were published for us???

          Will this latest highlighting of duplication be a help to ARMA to confirm that any Peverel/Firstport company is not suitable for ARMA or ARMA-Q, as they have knowingly not mentioned this latest scam which is to be scrutinised by residents from East to West and North to South.

          This of course has been known by Peverel Retirement Senior Managers and with the help of Chris Owens deflected back to us residents without any investigations.

          A copy of relevant pages can be sent to those who supply an email to CARLEX.

  6. Michael Epstein says:

    By “Dimmers” Do you mean lights or Peverel/Firstport management?

  7. Micheal Hollands says:

    I see that First Port have been awarded Silver Accreditation in the Investors in People organisation.
    It appears to be a fairly prestigious award to receive, looking at the Investors in People website they appear a fairy sound organisation. So how did they manage that.
    It is a far cry from what we read elsewhere. Disgruntled staff, bullying tactics and management systems to fleece the residents.
    With two such extreme assessments of this company , it is no wonder that the ARMA Board are taking so long to come to their conclusion.
    .

  8. Michael Hollands says:

    Readers may be interested in an e.mail l have just received from the ARMA Head of Operations.
    It came as a result of me enquiring into the progress of their Regulating Board who are considering First Port Retirement Property Services application to join.
    She states the following.
    First Port Retirement Property Services has, as a condition of its application being considered, to voluntarily submit to a full investigation of complaints received.
    This is now being considered by RH Keith Hill and the Regulatory Board
    The process began at the end of January 2015 and because it is important to follow due process throughout and conduct a full and thorough investigation, the matter is ongoing.

    I think this statement gives all interested parties the opportunity to express their views and give evidence to the Regulatory Board.
    I would suggest that this is followed up and evidence is submitted to the Board as soon as possible.
    There are several ways to approach this subject, and I wonder which would most benefit the resident leaseholders.
    EG.
    1 That the evidence shows that on past and current record this company should not be accepted.
    2 To the contrary, it does meet the standards required and should be accepted.
    3 Despite its failings and behaviour it should be accepted in the hope that with ARMA regulating, things will improve.
    4 That the company should be accepted on the condition that it first fully compensates for past indiscretions.
    Such as for Price Fixing and Sales of Managers flat.
    If accepted into ARMA Q it would at least give one more outlet for dissatisfied residents to vent their complaints.

  9. Michael Hollands says:

    Readers may be interested in an e.mail received from the ARMA Head of Operations.
    This came as a result of my requesting an update on First Ports application to join ARMA Q.
    She states the following.
    First Port Retirement Property Services has as a condition of its application being considered, to voluntary submit to a full investigation of complaints received.
    This is now being considered by RH Keith Hill and the Regulatory Board.
    The process began at the end of January 2015 and because it is important to follow due process throughout and conduct a full and thorough investigation, the matter is ongoing.

    I think that this statement gives any interested parties the opportunity to express their views and give evidence to the Regulatory Board.
    I would suggest that this is followed up and evidence is submitted to the Board as soon as possible. There are several ways to approach this, I wonder which would most benefit the resident leaseholders.
    EG.
    1 That the evidence shows that on past and current record this company should not be accepted.
    2 To the contrary, it does meet the standards required and should be accepted.
    3 Despite its failings and behaviour it should be accepted in the hope that with ARMA regulating, things will improve.
    4 That the Company should be accepted on the condition that it first fully compensates for past indiscretions.
    For example Price Fixing and Sale of Managers flats.