It’s a pipe-dream to have this mess cleared up

Is this Britain’s worst plumbing job?
These pipes in Victoria Barrett’s home in Eliot Park, Lewisham, were installed eight years ago.
They did not have any brackets to attach them to her ceiling – and since then she has had to use gaffer tape and replace it regularly, to ensure they do not fall on her.
They snake from her kitchen, through the hall to her bathroom – but her landlords Lewisham Homes have consistently refused to replace them.
Instead, its officers have told her they have no record of them being installed. Up to eight inspectors have looked at it in the eight years since the pipes were installed. But nothing has been done to rectify the problem.
To make matters worse, the inconsistent supply in the area over recent months has been either too hot or completely cold – so she and her daughter Caprice-Maitai, aged 7, have been unable to use it.
The flat is also full of black damp mould as a result of the poor plumbing. And that is already a danger to her daughter, a pupil of Prenderghast Vale School in Elmira Street – who had to have a kidney removed six years ago because it had cysts. Her other kidney is not fully functional.
The last inspection, by Fola Adesakin in August, says the long, winding black pipe should be realigned, as well as listing other jobs which need to be done such as
redecorate bathroom and renew its tiles
wash down mould
refix trunking in hallway
But nothing has been done.
The property’s boiler was not working when Victoria moved in eight years ago, so a new one was installed. The pipe they put in to supply the shower, though, had no brackets to fasten it to the ceiling.
Full-time Victoria, who is hoping to set up a mentoring company, said: “I don’t know how they can leave it like this. I have to regularly replace the gaffer tape myself because it comes unstuck.
“We are both living in a property with many repairs in which they have failed to sort out. It is not safe.
“The pipes are distorted out of shape and if they break, it will not only be my flat which will be flooded but my downstairs neighbours too.
“We cannot use the shower at the moment because they keep messing around with the water supply and it is sometimes too hot and sometimes just cold – so we have to use the bath.
“All they ever do is look at it, say it should be fixed and nothing is done. That has been the continuous cycle for eight years.”
Victoria’s godfather, Dr Per von Scheibner, a retired archaeologist and former housing association chairman, said: “I have seen hundreds of homes in my housing role and this is the worst plumbing job I have ever seen.
“It must be Britain’s worst plumbing job.
“Maybe even in Europe. I showed it to a German plumber – he just laughed. I sent photos to an acquaintance in the Philippines – a country not known for its high plumbing standards. He was aghast.
“ It is a joke – but not a very good one.
“Victoria needs to get out for the sake of her daughter, whose second kidney is not 100 per cent, so her immune system is compromised. The black mould is also a constant danger for her.
“Their inspectors seem more concerned about the mould Lewisham Homes seem to blame Victoria about the ventilation. They look at the plumbing and just shrug their shoulders.
“They say they have no record of its having been installed – in other words, they blame her for this terrible job too. ”
A Lewisham Homes spokesperson said: “We did not install this pipework and we have not contracted anyone to do this work. We are liaising with the tenant and will make it clear that the pipework needs to be removed.”

One thought on “It’s a pipe-dream to have this mess cleared up

  • 18th November 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Lewisham Homes did numerous inspections and surveys of the flat in question. They were fully aware of the substandard pluming installed by a contractor on their behalf, but elected to ignore it until now. It is not just untrue, but outrageous and defamatory for Lewisham Homes all of a sudden to blame the tenant for the shoddy & plainly dangerous plumbing in her flat. It is a shameful attempt to absolve themselves from any liability for their own shortcomings. In light of Lewisham Holmes’ preposterous insinuation I have advised Ms Barrett to seek immediate legal advise. Dr Per v. Scheibner


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