£3.4million Blackburn project nears completion

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Bowland House before the works started

Despite the best efforts of the Omicron variant and Storm Barra, the Bowland House project is almost complete.

The Blackburn tower block is undergoing a £3.4million refurbishment to completely renovate the building, inside and out.

By the end of 2021, the internal fire stopping works had been completed, as well as new windows, flat entrance doors, smoke and heat detectors and hot water cylinders installed to every flat.

The installation of the new sprinkler system, and evacuation alarm systems, is complete and these systems will be commissioned shortly.

Decoration of the communal areas is progressing well and new floorcoverings have been installed on all landings.

We had hoped the majority of the scaffolding would have been removed before the Christmas break, but the high winds and excessive rain during resulted in delays to the installation of the External Cladding System which meant the scaffolding being left in place until this work is complete.

However, the sides where the scaffolding has been removed can be seen in all its glory from Blackburn town centre and the new external render – which has significantly improved the external look of the building (as well as improving the thermal efficiency of the flats) has resulted in lots of positive comments from customers and visitors to the scheme.

Before the work starting, there had been a number of long-term voids in Bowland House but this is set to be a thing of the past.

Amina Bhaimohmed, the Neighbourhood Service Manager (and potential future Masterchef contestant) has said that there is now a waiting list of potential customers who have expressed a desire to be considered for tenancies as and when flats become available.

A number of customers have provided extremely positive feedback about the works, especially in regard to the improvements in the water pressure thanks to the new cylinders and the installation of the winter gardens, which have enclosed what had previously been open balconies.

In addition to providing additional space, the winter gardens has also removed a long-term problem relating to pigeons nesting on the open balconies

As referred to in previous blogs, a significant amount of the works undertaken at Bowland House were directly related to improving the fire safety of the project.

These works were extremely intrusive and, as a consequence, customers were without a bathroom for several days whilst the fire stopping work was undertaken.

So receiving such positive and complimentary feedback regarding the works, and the performance and attitude of Casey’s operatives whilst they have been working in our customers’ homes, has been very pleasing.

Just before Christmas, Mel Irlam (Assistant Site Manager, Casey) and Nicola Campbell (Customer Liaison, Casey) donned their festive gear and attempted to deliver a Christmas gift to every customer. In addition, Casey entered all customers into a raffle and four lucky winners received a Christmas hamper

Throughout the project, we have tried to develop a "one team" approach. There hasn’t been Great Places and Casey, or Assets and Neighbourhoods, there has just been one team working together to deliver the best possible outcome to Great Places’ customers and I believe this approach has been essential to the success of the project.

Subject to reasonable weather conditions, we now expect the works to be completed in March 2022.

When finished, Bowland House will provide the most sustainable, affordable and secure accommodation in any high rise in Blackburn or the surrounding areas.

The works that have been undertaken will guarantee the future success of the project for many years to come.

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