Belfast Telegraph

Housing Executive slammed by Nelson McCausland

By Michael McHugh

Housing Executive contractors claimed for work on more doors than existed on a property, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has said.

Screws were missing on hinges, doors did not fit properly and there were other examples of poor workmanship and overcharging, Mr McCausland added.

Executive chairman Brian Rowntree said he was stepping down last week ahead of the minister's speech but defended his board's actions.

Mr McCausland told the Assembly: "Once again whilst officials will wish to consider this report in detail its overall conclusion is that senior management within the Northern Ireland Housing Executive have not acted quickly enough to resolve the issue of the agreement of the draft reports from the (Housing Executive's) Repairs Inspection Unit.

"In expending so much effort in debating the methodology used in producing the reports, the Housing Executive has failed to focus on the significant findings in the reports.

"Time, that could have been better spent addressing the issues identified, has instead been lost in protracted internal debate."

He said of 12 reports by the Repairs Inspection Unit, two were finalised and of the 10 inspections outstanding, two have been outstanding from November 2011, four from January 2012 and the remaining four were issued on May 9. Eleven of the 12 reports contained a negative rating and highlighted issues of poor workmanship and inaccurate charging.

Mr McCausland ordered the independent report.

It identified failings including:

  • More doors claimed for than existed in the house. New fan fitted in kitchen but the new fan and a non-existent bathroom fan were serviced.
  • Fire doors fitted to a kitchen and living room where they are not required.
  • A door fitted with an excessive gap, extensive work to a front door but screws missing from hinges.
  • Floor tiles poorly laid.

There was also a case of a door having to be rehung as it did not fit properly.

Two new doors fitted to a newly fitted kitchen are off within nine months of installation and a socket for a washing machine is faulty.

Mr McCausland added: "I am very concerned that the findings and the evidence clearly demonstrate there are considerable issues in relation to the Housing Executive's management of response maintenance contracts."

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