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Sunday 21 August 2005 12.00pm
There is an amazing range of knowledge in SE1, so thought I would try.

Someone in my street has had scaffolding up for ages - I am told for over six months. No work seems to being done on the house. The scaffolding has attracted old carpets and more rubbish. And inevitably once something starts looking like a dump more gets added. It is an eyesore. More to the point the houses in our street are listed and in a conservation area. It seems crazy that we can't even choose the colour of our front door, yet there seem to be no powers to ask someone to take scaffolding down.

I have spoken to a really helpful person in Lambeth Housing, who had already seen the mess and wondered about it. There are potentially some building control and Conservation avenues to do with the works carried out on the house, but nothing, it seems, to prevent someone attaching scaffolding and leaving it there, despite the potential risk to the security of neighbouring housing and the visual impact on a listed building and conservation area.

This does not sound right. Surely after six months scaffolding would be seen as a permanent structure or something. So I thought I would throw it open to the experts on the forum. Rabbie, Niall, Northernboy......

Many thanks,


Sunday 21 August 2005 12.56pm
Sarah 2. I assume you have spoken to the owner of the house in question and they have refused to take the scaffolding down?
Sunday 21 August 2005 6.55pm
Is/was this an occupied house or is it falling down awaiting shoring up or underpinning or repointing or replastering or.....any number of things. No 1. question- occupied or empty.
Sunday 21 August 2005 9.42pm
I don't know a huge amount.

The story I get from neighbours is that the owner bought the house about 30 years ago when the house would have cost virtually nothing, but has been letting it out ever since. No one has a contact for him, and I get the feeling that he has never been very popular. There seems to have been a similar problem with a skip about 20 years ago. I understand that the house is in bad condition.

A neighbour now tells me that he saw the builder a couple of weeks back. The reason, apparantly, why he abandoned the job was because he had not been paid. Hence the scaffolding staying up for ages.

I dont really care about the house itself. It saves our house from being the scruffiest house in the street. I am also not too bothered about the planning/conservation side of things, as this is really up to him and the Council. But I completely understand why immediate neighbours are unhappy, as scaffolding presents a real security risk. And it is an eyesore. I am also curious as to what steps can be taken. I understand that in some boroughs you need a scaffolding licence, but not in Lambeth. Surely there must be something to prevent temporary structures becomiing permanent.

Can't think of a prize for the person who is able to answer. Other than the general admiratoin of the forum. Jackie, BMovie...the race is on.

Monday 22 August 2005 10.35am

(As I understand it) a scaffold which is over a public highway (or pavement or footpath) must be licensed by the local authority. Any licence is for a limited period and must be renewed. The scaffold licence should be displayed on the scaffold.

Whilst the erection of a scaffold might indicate some intention to carry out works, its erection might also be in response to a Dangerous Structures notice. In that case, the building may offer some threat to the public (falling masonry etc) and the scaffold (and boards and netting) is erected to protect passersby.

Scaffolds are also relatively cheap to buy, in comparison to the potential cost of works. It may be that the owner erected the scaffold then found out that the works were going to cost far more than they expected. So the scaffold stays and the works don't happen.

An enquiry to the highways inspectors should tell you whether or not the scaffold has a current licence. If it has been in place for an extended period, the highways inspectors may wish to make sure that it is being maintained in compliance with current regulations.


Monday 22 August 2005 11.14am
Thanks Niall. Actually the scaffolding is in the lightwell and so, though adjacent to the highway does not overhang it. As it gains refuse, old carpets and the like so of this is now over the pavement. But not the structure itself.

I understand that there is no knowledge of the works in either building control or planning/conservation, which I assume there would be if it had been deemed a dangerous structure. The house does look as if it has had an absentee landlord for a long time - which it has. The irony is that we could end up in a position that by raising the problem with the Coucil, they will look at the works in relation to the need for conservation area and listed building consents and decide that it is a dangerous structure, thereby requiring that scaffolding stay up....

The solution.....for Jackie to buy it and renovate it.
Tuesday 23 August 2005 12.56am
Companies putting up scaffolding often like to leave it on site after the job is finished (or in this case, even if nothing has been done), for the reason that until they have a further job requiring the scaffolding, it is cheaper to leave it there until needed, than to take it down and store it in their depot.
Tuesday 23 August 2005 7.14am
However, scaffolding is very expensive, a whole building like that must be costing somewhere around 3K a month. The owner must be traceable via the Land Registry. I would, I think, be on to the Council because of the security risk, scaffolding makes a wonderful vehicle for getting up the the roofs of the nearby buildings and running along them. If you want action from ME, Sarah, send pics. Where is it exactly?
Tuesday 23 August 2005 11.12am
The builders are back. They say the scaffolding will be down in a couple of weeks. They mentioned that Lambeth had put a note through the door seemingly mentioning environment issues. I wonder if this was the trigger.

They also said that the accumulated rubbish, including lots of old carpet should have been moved by someone else, but had not been.

I tried to get landlord details out of them, in case there were problems in future. (There have apparently been in the past including a skip that stayed for ages.) Instead it seems as if they work for a letting agency. They would not give me the name of that either. I wonder if it is one of the agents that others on the forum have had problems with.

The builders were actually quite nice. They were pretty open that they had walked away because they had not been paid, and that neighbours had every right to be unhappy. So I thought to warn then that no listed building consent appeared to applied for. They started off by saying that all consents had been granted, but then shifted to saying that the works were only cosmetic. This is really up to the owner/letting agent and Lambeth planning, but am concerned that the builders may be asked to stop work again if there is a problem. If so I hope it happens AFTER the scaffoldiong is down.

Thanks for the help.


Sunday 28 February 2016 6.23pm
Hi Sarah

My friends niece who lives on the four squares has had scaffold up over 4 years. although they are doing new kitchens and bathrooms on their block we been told we are not getting that on our block which is keetons bermondsey. SE16.

But they will be coming to our block in a couple of months putting up scaffold all around it I have been told and I am really dreading it, apparently putting in new windows our blocks and doing outside electrics, we already have new windows and last year when keepmoat did our internal electrics they made a complete mess in our flat and other residents flats that we had to put aside another entire day for another guy to come and put it all right.

But you are right we seem to have no power to say, we do not want this up for months on end, the houses opposite they put up scaffold a month ago now, the lady who lives there told me nothing has been done on their houses and she is now scared of being burgled due to people try to climb up it. It looks terrible. And also blocks out your light as well. With all green stuff going round it so cant open your windows even and no privacy.

Plus the councils moan about budget yet it costs them lots of money each day to rent and have up this scaffold as well...

Its new projects that they have brought out contracts with various companies over like five years periods as a pilot scheme to see if it works or not.

I agree that blocks should be up to standard for residents to live in, and of course I am one of them, but the councils never use good companies, only the cheapest that seem to take forever to do any works.

Oh and hear this, I saw in local paper that keepmoat was offering free sandwitches to students to come and look at the scaffold on some blocks. I bet the residents loved that. I wonder who pays for the sandwitches really...
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