The Cascade Walk homes on an old garage site between Embleton and Algernon Roads are not likely to be completed until the early part of 2024. Here Mike Basquill, development manager at London Borough of Lewisham, explains what caused the delay to the work on the four three bedroom homes.
In early 2022 it was noted that the value of work completed on the site was radically reducing.
Progress on site had been slow, and three applications for extensions of time were lodged and rejected.
The grounds for seeking the extensions were new services and existing service diversions, foundations design and party wall agreements, all of which were contractual obligations and not provisional items.
The project has been unprofitable for Claritas. Market conditions resulting from Covid-19, Brexit and the Ukraine war caused inflationary pressures in the construction sector of about 25 per cent in three years.
There was also some poor contractor project management, particularly around the budgeting for ground stabilisation on this challenging site.
In July 2022 it came to the attention of the delivery team that Claritas were going to ‘hibernate‘ the site, ostensibly to give them time to replace the services of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing subcontractor, the original one having become insolvent.
Unfortunately It doesn’t appear that Claritas made any serious efforts on this front although it came back to LH with a request for a contract sum increaset before they could agree to return to site.
This was extremely contentious for Lewisham Homes and for the Lewisham council once it had taken on the development function.. A risk management mechanism which would protect the Council could not be agreed with Claritas.
In June 2023 it became known that Claritas had gone into receivership.
So at the moment there is no work taking place on the site. Without site management Lewisham has repossessed the site.
Work is now under way to procure the removal of the scaffolding and temporary buildings from the site, which can then be tidied up, and the houses then made secure.
Security oversight previously managed by Claritas will be replaced.
There has been surprisingly little deterioration of the four houses during the last year, but there is still almost 100 per cent fit-out of the houses to be achieved.
There also needs to be external soft and hard landscaping, highways work, service connections, and finishes.
We have had extensive discussions with the Employer’s Agent, who sits between client and contractor, regarding the completion of the work.
The agent says that there is approximately six months of construction work before completion can be achieved.
Finding a replacement contractor will take about three months, so completion of the works is not expected before the early part of 2024
All work stops on Cascade Walk family homes
It has all been very quiet on Cascade Walk in Ladywell for several weeks. Now we know why.
All work has stopped on the four new council homes in the Walk, which links Embleton and Algernon Roads in Ladywell after Kent building firm Claritas went into liquidation owing more than £9m to creditors, according to Building Magazine.
The site forms part of the Building for Lewisham programme which aims to build new council housing on spare land or land occupied by garages on council owned sites.
The programme is run by Lewisham Homes, a not for profit organisation set up to improve housing in the borough. The four family-sized council homes replace 13 garages on the site.
Work on the four homes stalled some time ago as Claritas ran into difficulty. It has blamed cash flow problems and soaring building material and labour costs.
These are no doubt problems which will afflict other development projects in Ladywell and the rest of the borough.
Delayed Lewisham Homes project set for completion in April 2022
Lewisham Homes, a not-for-profit organisation set up to improve housing, is building new social homes across the borough as part of the Building for Lewisham programme.
It already manages 19,000 homes on behalf of the council and aims to help create and support sustainable and diverse communities throughout Lewisham.
Some 2,300 Lewisham families are currently living in temporary accommodation, of which over 700 people stay in nightly paid accommodation.
One of Lewisham Home’s latest projects is Cascade Walk, which will link Embleton and Algernon Roads in Ladywell.
Lewisham council have given its latest update on the completion date for their scheme to build four new council homes between Algernon Road and Embleton Road, writes a local resident Rick.
The new houses are to be called Cascade Walk and aim to be completed in April 2022.
The site forms part of the Building for Lewisham programme to build new council housing on spare land or garages on council owned sites.
As well as new homes, Cascade Walk will include a stepped path between Embleton Rd and Algernon Rd with new planting as well.
The original target completion date for Cascade Walk was December 2019. Initial delays and then Covid-19 meant that work did not start until winter 2020 with a revised completion target of November 2021.
The completion date has now been pushed back to April 2022.
The council and its contractor Claritas have blamed supply chain issues for the further delays, but admit that the complexity of the project and the introduction of terraces on which each of the houses sits have also caused delays.
Overall, Lewisham have struggled to spend the budgets it has allocated to the Building for Lewisham programme.
Half-way through this financial year, the council has only spent a quarter of the Building for Lewisham programme and only spent half the budget allocated in the financial year 2020/21.