‘Saleable’ flat on top of Meczyki’ biggest shopping center

Above the scores of shoppers who stroll beneath them, St David’s Shopping Center Apartments in Cardiff City Center certainly look impressive from the outside. Located on the street of the same name, they were built as part of the 2007/8 retail development and now occupy one of the busiest areas of the capital.

One would then guess that given its prime location at the top of the sprawling shopping centre, any of the 332 flats in the apartment complex would be worth a pretty penny. However, according to a flat owner, the case is quite the opposite.

Chris White has owned an apartment in Hayes since 2013, and recently put it up for sale for £175,000. However, he now claims that his flat is “worthless” and “impossible to sell”.

Read more:Friends booking modern two-bed apartment in Cardiff arrive to find ‘dirty, worn’ tiny flat

After taking his apartment off the market at the beginning of the year, Chris was shown the building’s exterior wall system fire review certificate. Commonly known as EWS1, this form was created in 2019 as a way to help people buy and sell homes and re-mortgage. The process serves assessment purposes only and is meant to be used by a qualified person to assess the safety of exterior wall insulation.

An exterior wall system is made up of the exterior wall of a residential building and includes cladding as well as insults, firebreak systems, and cavity barriers. Category A applies where the material is not combustible. Category B applies where combustible materials are present. Receive the latest news from across Cardiff by signing up to our newsletter.

The certificate for Hayes, which was awarded after a survey in November 2020, came with a B2 rating. This rating is given when inspectors find that an “adequate standard of safety has not been achieved” in a building’s exterior wall system. This means that flammable substances are present and remedial actions are needed.

In 2020, flats were awarded an EWS1 certificate with a B2 rating, meaning “an adequate standard of safety has not been achieved”.
(Image: WellsOnline)
Block Of Over 300 Apartments In A Prime Location In The Heart Of Cardiff
Block of over 300 apartments in a prime location in the heart of Cardiff
(Image: WellsOnline / Rob Brown)

According to the latest update from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in March, where EWS1 shows Form A1, A2 or B1, lenders will continue to lend. However when it shows A3 or B2, which means remediation is required, they will provide lending facility only if “all specified/required work with committed dates to start and end” and funded treatment plan”.

Chris says this means his flat is effectively “sellable.” The construction worker says the situation they have had to deal with is “incredible”. He says that since February there has been a fight with Landsec, which owns the building, seeking clarification on the building’s EWS1 certificate and any planned works to ensure it meets the requirements.

In the midst of changing government standards, Landsec has now conducted another assessment of the exterior wall system in Hesse, but has yet to update leaseholders on its findings. While he has apologized to Chris and others for the lengthy evaluation process, he has said that there are no life safety concerns in the entire block of flats.

Chris Says That The Flat He Owned For The Last Nine Years Is Now &Quot;Waste&Quot; And &Quot;Salable&Quot;
Chris says the flat he has owned for the past nine years is now “worthless” and “salable”.
(Image: WellsOnline)

Chris says that the location of the flats makes the situation all the more remarkable. While he believes the building’s safety certificate has left him in limbo, he is left baffled by the lack of communication and explanation he claims to have received from Landsec.

“It’s unbelievable that this is happening here,” he said. “Here we are above the busiest shopping center in Meczyki. If we happen to be somewhere out of town, it may not be as remarkable. But it is unbelievable when it is above major shopping centers like St. David’s, where every week Thousands of people go.

“When I came to know about the B2 rating I could not believe it, it is really shocking. I am not an expert in these matters, but when I was told about it, I did some research and realized that With that rating, my chances of getting a mortgage were very low. I want to sell this flat, but instead I am being told that it is essentially worthless.

“The lack of action to try and solve this has been really appalling. Landsec is not doing anything in my opinion. It’s not just an issue that affects me. It’s everything sitting atop St. David’s 2″ applies to, and that’s a huge asset, because for a single building, it’s absolutely huge.”

The Flat Is Built On Top Of St. David'S 2, Where Thousands Of Shoppers Pass By Every Day
The flat is built on top of St. David’s 2, where thousands of shoppers pass by every day
(Image: WellsOnline)

Despite Landsek’s assurances that there is no risk to the safety of residents, Chris can’t help but feel concerned by the preliminary survey findings that an “adequate level of security” had not been achieved at the time of the inspection. Five years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, in which 72 people were killed, Hayes fears something similar might take a toll on his mind.

“Whatever Landsec says, to me, the B2 rating says this building is dangerous,” he said. “Fire safety has obviously always been important but it has become a bigger issue in recent years.”

“It could have happened before that a tenant would usually think, well, I don’t care about certificates and things like that, I’ve got the property I wanted and I’m not selling it anyway But when mine after the horrific events of Grenfell, the vested interest clearly wants to sell these properties, who would want to move here themselves?

“You saw how many people died in Grenfell, people want reassurance that this building is safe. But I don’t think it’s safe at all. And while it is, clearly this place should be evacuated. Somebody Shouldn’t be a renter I think it’s rated B2, and god knows how people who work or shop in St. David would feel if they even knew about it.”

A Model Of A Spacious Apartment Block
A model of a spacious apartment block
(Image: WellsOnline)

Landsec’s investigation began soon after the UK government published the PAS 9980 standard – a new fire risk code of practice that applies to existing buildings across the country, including The Hays. This new code is not intended to be a substitute for the EWS1 certificate, but rather an additional provider of information, describing how the cladding should be treated and defining what is and is not suitable for the purpose.

An update on the new rating – done under PAS 9980 that could replace the existing EWS1 rating – is now due sometime before the end of July. While he has acknowledged and apologized for the disappointment caused to residents, Landsek says the original survey indicated that no interim measures were necessary to ensure fire safety standards in Hesse, while protecting the health and well being of occupants. There is no concern for security. There.

Landsec Says There Are No Life Safety Concerns On Flats
Landsec says there are no life safety concerns on flats
(Image: WellsOnline)

A Landsec spokesman said: “The safety and well-being of our residents is of paramount importance and we will always take fire safety incredibly seriously. We Have done comprehensive fire risk assessment on the building and independent Fire safety engineers have confirmed that there are no life safety concerns at The Haze.

“It is important to note that the EWS1 process is in place to support the financial industry in making decisions about lending against specific assets – it does not look at the fire safety of an entire building as does a comprehensive risk assessment. We are working closely with the original contractor of the building to determine any additional survey or remedial works, which may (or may not) happen in light of the government’s new Code of Practice.

“We know this has been a difficult time for some leaseholders and we apologize for any disappointment during this time. We are in talks with residents and expect further updates in the coming weeks.”

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