Smoke alarms in Jacob's Island - Best Before 2007!
The smoke alarms originally fitted in each flat are mains powered, although they do also have standard 9V (PP3) batteries fitted as a backup. They are not linked to the rest of the building or the concierge in any way.
We all know that the advice is to test the alarm weekly by pressing the button, but I'm sure that most of us only do it rarely, if at all. So I was rather alarmed (!) to check mine the other day, and found that it wasn't working. Worse still, I noticed that the alarm only has a lifetime of 10 years, and the label in mine said "Replace unit by the year: 2007".
The model used (BRK 2002RACE) is now obsolete. Although it could be replaced by any mains-powered alarm (e.g. this FireAngel model available from B&Q), or a combined smoke & carbon monoxide alarm like this one, if you replace the unit with another mains-powered alarm the wiring connector and fixings will likely need to be changed as well - although it's not a difficult job (only two wires to connect, remember to switch the electricity off first!).
Thankfully, BRK do make two models which use the same mains connector, making it a 5-minute job to change over. The BRK7010LBE is slightly more expensive (£37 inc VAT and shipping), but comes with a 10 year lithum backup battery; the BRK7010BE is cheaper (£27 inc VAT and shipping) but has a standard backup battery, which should be changed every 2 years or so.
Since 1st January 2013, the Gas Safe Register (formerly CORGI) regulations have required any registered engineer servicing your boiler to visually inspect the flue which runs through the ceiling void of your apartment.
If the service engineer cannot visually inspect the flue, then they must advise you that the appliance is "At Risk", and will ask you to turn it off (which you can politely decline). Note that they are still permitted to service the boiler as usual.
Why is this important?
A corroded or damaged flue pipe could leak poisonous Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas into your apartment. Carbon Monoxide is odourless, tasteless and colourless, and can be deadly - around 40 people a year die in the UK from CO poisoning.
When Providence Square was built, the flues were concealed in the ceiling voids, and in most central apartments run within the ceiling of the shower room and bedrooms, exiting through the back wall.
What do I have to do about it?
Firstly, we would always recommend fitting a Carbon Monoxide detector / alarm in your flat - these are relatively cheap (similar to smoke alarms) and may well save your life.
We believe there are currently five main options - please let us know if you have any others:
- Do nothing (only if you are a resident owner, not if you rent the flat out)
- Get inspection hatches fitted in the ceiling of your shower room and bedroom, to allow the flue to be visually inspected along its entire length
- Replace the gas boiler with an electric boiler
- Have a Ceiling Void Carbon Monoxide detector fitted - this is a recent development
- Replace the gas boiler with another gas boiler - note that this doesn't solve the problem
The development is now wired up to Hyperoptic, giving you another option for broadband & phone connectivity. For more details, or to order go to https://hyperoptic.com/
Unlike the existing fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband, which uses the phone lines to provide speeds "up to" 76 Mbps for downloading, and about 12 Mbps for uploading, Hyperoptic's system supports speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in both directions. More importantly, the latency (delay) on the link is much lower, making internet connections "feel" much faster.
This means that JIRA residents now have multiple options for broadband:
- Existing ADSL broadband (BT, Sky, TalkTalk, etc) over the phone lines (~6-8 Mbps)
- Fibre-to-the-cabinet (BT Infinity, etc) over the phone lines (38 or 76 Mbps down, 5-10 Mbps up)
- Virgin Media over the TV cables (up to 152 Mbps down / 12 Mbps up)
- Hyperoptic over a new fibre/Ethernet cable (20, 100 or 1000 Mbps both ways).
The downside to Hyperoptic is that their engineers will need to come and route a new ethernet cable into your apartment.
Most of the apartments now have a Hyperoptic cable concealed in the ceiling, just outside your front door. During installation, the Hyperoptic engineers will come and install a cable which then routed to a new socket inside your flat.
The street cabinet in Bermondsey Wall West has recently been upgraded to support high speed fibre broadband (e.g. BT Infinity), which should now be available to all residents of Jacob's Island.
We have a "fibre-to-the-cabinet" (FTTC) service - this means that the broadband connection uses very high speed fibre optic links from the BT exchange to the green cabinet in the street. The existing phone lines only have to carry the broadband signal from your flat as far as the green cabinet - since this is much closer than the Bermondsey telephone exchange (where the broadband signal terminates for existing ADSL/broadband services), much higher data rates are available.
A full list of service providers offering fibre broadband is at http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/buy-it-now/
A new Router/BT Home Hub is needed, to support the high speed (VDSL) link to the street cabinet; this should be provided by your broadband supplier.
It's still not clear whether Virgin Media fibre broadband is available - Virgin (formerly NTL) use their own cable TV network to deliver the services (rather than the phone lines), and there is not enough bandwidth/capacity in the in-building cables to support broadband.
First impressions is that the service appears to be much more reliable, and certainly significantly faster. If you are a heavy data user, or regularly use "catch-up TV" services like BBC iPlayer, you should definitely see an improvement.
Jacob's Island Concierge office (24 hours)
Consort (Managing Agents)
Customer Services 08451 947044 (lo-call)
Consort Property Management
Chairman: Colin Hartridge-Price, 89 Providence Square, London SE1 2EB
Residents of Providence Square, Providence Tower and Springalls Wharf enjoy the following facilities:
- 24 hour on-site concierge and security service
- Secure, gated access, with contactless entry cards / proximity fobs and entry phone system
- CCTV throughout the public spaces of the development, recently upgraded
- Award-winning communal water gardens
- Private Gym and sauna facilities, accessible from the basement car park or concierge area
About the TV services in Jacob's Island
Most buildings in the Providence Square development are now fed by an communal Integrated Receiver System (IRS, basically a shared aerial & satellite dish) which was installed across the majority of the development a couple of years ago.
This allows you to receive any digital broadcast TV service you choose, from a variety of providers. Some, like Freeview or Freesat, are subscription-free. Others, like Sky or Virgin Media, require you to pay a subscription. All services now allow you to receive HD programs, and you can also buy TVs or external boxes that record programs to Hard Disk, replacing your old video recorder.
There are five important things you need to know that are specific to our systems in Providence Square:
Providence Square is easily accessible by foot along the South Bank of the River Thames, approximately 5 minutes downstream (East) of Tower Bridge, through the picturesque Shad Thames, past the lively riverside bars and restaurants of Butlers Wharf, and across the historic St Saviours Dock by footbridge.
This is the block of open land between Bermondsey Wall West and the Thames River Wall, directly opposite the main ABC blocks of Providence Square. It is bordered to the east (downstream) by Providence Tower, and is bordered to the west (upstream) by Reed Mills.
Who owns the Public Open Space?
The land itself is jointly owned by two of the Freehold companies - Providence Tower and ABC - which are in turn owned by a subset of the residents. The reason for the joint ownership is that the land adjoins (and primarily affects) both of these groups of residents.
Who manages the Public Open Space?
The Public Open Space is managed by our Managing Agents as part of the development.
Could the Public Open Space ever be built on?
There are several organizations and companies involved with the Providence Square / Jacob's Island development, which may appear confusing at first glance, or if you are new to the development. This article aims to explain and demystify them !
The summary is that the residents of Providence Square, Providence Tower and Springalls Wharf have now obtained both the Freehold and the Right to Manage for the property - these are major milestones achieved by JIRA, which have now put us in almost complete control. As a result, the development has (on average) one of the lowest service charges in the area, despite delivering a high quality of service and maintenance.
This great article from Modern Archaeology magazine, published in the March 2012 issue to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth, charts the excavations carried out by the Museum of London on the Jacob's Island site in 1996, prior to construction of Providence Square.
It's a fascinating history of our corner of London, illustrated with plenty of colourful images and references, and gives an excellent perspectives on the rise, fall, and subsequent rise of the Jacob's Island area.
The full article shows artifacts recovered from the site of Folly Ditch, and pictures showing the foundations of one of the former mills on the site.
Courtesy to the editors of the magazine, a full PDF copy of the article, including the images and more details of the finds, is available to JIRA members after logging in to the website.