More than 400 affordable homes are now considered ‘unsafe’ after a balcony collapsed onto the street below, a resident has revealed.
Matt Lismore shared a shocking photo of large pieces of timber and other debris scattered onto a pavement in Barking, East London.
He said the collapse happened on Saturday night at the Gascoigne East estate, a £81million development built by Paris-based engineering company Bouygues on behalf of Barking & Dagenham Council’s affordable housing company, BD Reside.
He tweeted: ‘Yesterday evening a balcony collapsed onto the street in my apartment building, just 4 years after construction.
‘All 414 properties are now considered ”unsafe” and we will need to erect scaffolding across the entire estate to keep ourselves and the public safe.’
Matt Lismore shared a shocking photo of large pieces of timber and other debris scattered onto a pavement in Barking, East London
He said the collapse happened on Saturday night from a balcony on the Gascoigne East estate
The Gascoigne East development replaced the 1960s era ‘Gascoigne Estate’ and was intended to create a ‘welcoming, well designed neighbourhood for residents and the wider community’, according to a publicity blurb.
But Mr Lismore, a Labour activist and investment banker, said it had been bedevilled by problems for years.
He shared an email he sent to Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, on May 24 last year to ‘express serious concern about the management and build quality of the development’.
‘The main issues are around building safety, build quality and propensity for defective equipment/infrastructure, poor building management and very slow repairs.’
Specifically, he noted how ‘several balconies have fallen off onto the property below’ and ‘no attempt has been made to survey whether other balconies are at risk of falling’.
Mr Lismore posted a photo on Twitter of a ‘smaller, partial collapse’ in summer 2021. The image showed what appears to be sheeting hanging down onto the balcony below.
He said he met with the head of MyPlace, the council’s managing agent, in August and was told ‘there were no issues with the balconies and that I was categorically wrong to assert there was’.
‘Surely the managing agent would have contacted the developer once they became aware of the defective risk to life balconies?’ he asked on X.
Mr Lismore alleged a series of issues with the build quality of the balconies, including the use of ‘cheap and ineffective metals’, ‘a wood type that rots when exposed to moisture’ and a ‘drainage system that wasn’t fit for purpose’.
MailOnline has contacted Bouygues, Barking & Dagenham Council and BD Reside for comment.
It is only the latest account of poor build quality on new housing developments.
It is only the latest account of poor build quality on new housing developments. Some of these have been shared on a dedicated Twitter account, Hate Newbuild. This one shows a back garden with wonky fences
The Twitter account often shares design failures spotted by members of the public in new build estates across the country
Some of these have been shared on a dedicated Twitter account, Hate Newbuild.
One recent image shows a rectangular block of red brick houses with six-foot high timber fences marking out the back gardens with a seemingly random assortment of lines.
Instead of a series of straight lines dividing the gardens equally between each house, the fences squirrel from one end of the terrace to the other, randomly weaving in and out.
Others feature houses where some fittings may have fallen off, or others where design features make the completed properties look odd.
In one case, a broadband or telephone communication box was built blocking access to a parking space.
In this case, a decorative cover above the windows has fallen off due to the use of an incorrect adhesive. The architect wanted it to look like the widows were installed below a stone cut lintel
Another reveals a flat’s balcony that had been built away from the window and patio door of the apartment.
Others show a garage door blocked by a newly installed lamppost while many properties listed feature crumbling walls and rising damp.
In many cases, taller buildings have had ‘fake brick’ cladding installed which has been photographed disintegrating after a few years exposure to the elements.