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Case Study: The Bridge Centre

Health & Safety Risks

The Problem

Health & Safety Risks to Consumers and the Tenants

The Bridge Centre is a mixed use shopping centre comprising of eight commercial units and two residential apartments. The complex is laid out in two blocks and is situated in the heart of Clarinbridge, Co Galway. The buildings, which extend to over 2,787 sq m (30,000 sq ft), were developed in the mid 2000’s.

On our first visit to the site it was immediately obvious that the property was in a state of considerable disrepair. The external common areas were substandard posing many Health and Safety risks to consumers, the tenants and their works.

Immediate Action Taken by Winters Property Management

The pathways originally finished with a cobble stone had subsided in many areas, which presented a trip hazard to all users.

The external guttering was overgrown with large weeds emanating from the facia and soffit.

The entrance vehicle gate to the centre was hanging from its hinged and many of the tenants signs were precariously close to falling.

Most notably upon the first site visit was an alarming smell of raw sewerage emanating from the foul sewers and treatment plant.

It was clear to us, that there was a large capital expenditure outlay required in order to deal with both legal, licensing and Health and Safety complexities within the centre. An initial estimate was €400,000.

Planning

The initial work included writing to all tenants both residential and commercial to advise that Winters Property Management DAC were the appointed Management and Letting Agent of the centre.  Subsequent to that individual tenant meetings was held by Winters, to deal with queries in relation to leases, break clauses and all other tenant concerns.

All utility companies were then contacted to arrange setting up the relevant communal supply accounts in the name of the Receiver.  Winters also reviewed the insurance cover needed and the policy was then placed.

Actions

Outcome

The Bridge Centre when taken on by Winters Property Management was a property with flawed title, no proper mapping or drawings for the scheme or each unit. It had substandard Health and Safety systems and a non performing treatment plant.

Within seven months the property was turned around with compliant Health and Safety systems, a licence for the treatment plant with an onsite caretaker employed to maintain the new system. Leases for each tenancy are now in place, and tenants are paying their annual service charge. The latter is due to the introduction of a fair and equitable service charge budget which levied on tenants based on accurate site mapping and the provision of good quality services.

This secures the future running of the development as the service charge schedule is now included in the new leases. From an initial budget estimate of €400,000 the final costs of the work will be €250,000.

Winters Property Management have experience in dealing with Waste Water Treatment plants in similar condition and have also had to operate where owners were reluctant to engage with the relevant Local Authority. We have found that this approach while common ultimately leads to delays and in many cases the expenditure of large amounts of money on unnecessary works as the Local Authority was not satisfied to the works conducted.

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