Mom’s anger at kids being unable to breathe in a ‘death-trap’ high-rise has turned into a construction site
Children “struggling for breath” in a high-rise building that has been a construction site for over a year.
Work to install balconies means families cannot open their windows, while retrofitting of sprinklers following the Grenfell fire tragedy has damaged walls and tiles in newly decorated homes, residents claim.
Apartments at Loweswater House, King Nortonwere called “death traps” and “everybody wants out”.
Local residents also say they have suffered from leaks and mold, BirminghamLive reports.
The angry residents said: “You don’t have a circulatory system, the children don’t have air in the bedrooms”.
A mother on the ground floor described her apartment as a “death trap” as she said there was no escape in the event of a fire.
Other parents told how they kept the curtains closed amid a “lack of privacy” that allowed builders to see inside their homes from outside scaffolding.
Some said they believed the work, which began in April 2021, would be completed within a year and would have no impact on their lives, they said.
But now, 14 months later, they have been told they will “endure” another eight weeks of disruption.
The problems started when balconies were put back onto the high-rise.
Some locals claim that works have caused water leaks in their homes.
“That’s my ceiling, there’s a bit coming down now,” says Amy Moore, pointing to a swollen, cracked kitchen ceiling with bits of plaster falling from it.
“It’s just hanging like that. But this crack came after the builders showed up, it started to swell.
“As you can see, water comes through the light, you can see it on the lightbulb. It looks like the ceiling is coming down around the light.”
The leak also runs into a gas cabinet that houses electrical plugs, she explained.
She said: “Now black mold is growing between the pipes. Water has also started to pool on the toilet floor.
“It drips through and every now and then I see a puddle coming through the baseboard. There is no point in spending more money on renovation only to have wasted it.”
The black mold in her room and in her nine-year-old daughter’s bedroom got worse as the work went on, she claims.
Brown liquid leaked through their windows “because they’re not safe,” she adds.
“I am asthmatic. I do not sleep. I get up for about two to three hours just having trouble breathing or coughing,” Amy said.
“We are seated in her living room where a blanket has been hung to block the window to give her privacy as the builders can see inside.”
Pointing to the balcony ceiling, she added: “You can see the ceiling is falling down there too. I can’t get out to open any of the windows.
“It’s so warm out there because it’s so closed. It’s pretty muggy in here because I don’t have proper airflow.
“It is not good. There was a fly infestation out there on the actual balcony, they came in through small gaps.”
Also, whenever it rained, water seeped through the bottom of the balcony door, she claims.
Heading back down the hall, Amy, who suffers from fibromyalgia, explains the “struggle” of having to use the stairs for nearly a week when the elevator broke down amid construction.
Her daughter also has physical problems.
She added: “I was in so much pain I couldn’t sleep.
“When she gets to the top floor she’s in so much pain, she curls up in bed and doesn’t want to move for the rest of the day.”
Birmingham City Council said the lift is now back in service.
The floor covered with factory dust will “walk on everything” in their houses.
The mothers point to broken glass in a hallway door that was said to have been left shattered on the floor before it was cleaned up – a danger to their young children.
Another large window in the hallway overlooking Kings Norton was boarded up with boards stuck in it, resulting in an infestation, Amy claims.
She adds: “There was an infestation of flies, maggots, ladybugs, the whole bunch. There were three dead birds behind it because they didn’t control it.
“We mentioned it to them, we said they were kind of letting an infestation in. They wouldn’t listen until they ripped that down and saw it.”
She added that she has complained to her liaison officer about the series of issues on numerous occasions, but she “isn’t listening to us”.
“I suffer from poor mental health anyway,” she continued.
“So living in this apartment just depresses me even more. I’m trying to get out, which is a struggle in itself, and they’re making our home worse.
“It gets me to the point where I just want to leave and not come back. I had the impression that it would be done in less than a year. They said it wouldn’t cause any problems in our lives – and it has. “
Mum-of-two Toni O’Connor said her youngest was also “stricken with asthma” due to the lack of “fresh air” on the block.
She explains: “She was coughing up her guts, I had to take her up the stairs because the lift wasn’t working and I didn’t know what else to do, it’s stagnant, I need fresh air.
“You are not allowed on the balcony. You don’t have a circulatory system, the children don’t have air in the bedrooms. I really think it’s the dust on her chest.
“Every kid on this block is miserable – huh? Every woman I speak to, I ask them how their child is, and they say they’re on antibiotics.
“That never happened to me before. My kids have never been down, only this year since all the dust, chaos out there. It’s horrible.”
She also claims that “orange leaches” came through cracks in her walls, which she has to wipe down every day.
She added: “I spent a lot of money in my apartment. I’ve really tried to make my apartment look nice, I’m trying my best.
“I tried to renovate last year, they came and did it as soon as it was done. They did that to my tiles.
“I decorated my whole kitchen myself and they decided to come in and tear down my wall.”
She too had leaks and says builders left an opening in her closet open and rocks fell into her laundry basket from outside.
Tired of the idea that the work would go on for eight more weeks, she said: “Everyone wants out, everyone wants their home and their privacy back. Everyone was happy and well before the works.”
Kerrie Bigg, 27, a mother of three, shared how she couldn’t get air into her baby’s room.
Her little one, who had a rash of red spots on her face, also had a cold that hasn’t changed since the construction work, she claimed.
From her ground floor apartment, she said: “I can open the handles, I push the windows and they don’t move because the scaffolding is right next to the window. I can’t breathe, none in the children’s room.
“Look at my poor baby’s face. She has a cold she can’t get rid of, it’s been at least two or three months now. Something is wrong with her; there is something in the air.”
Being on the ground floor is “like being in prison,” she says. “There is no fresh air, nothing. If there’s ever a fire and you can’t get out the front door, I’m stuck here.
“I can’t get out of the windows, I can’t get off the balcony, I couldn’t push out the scaffolding. It’s a death trap, it literally is,” adds Kerrie.
Her wallpaper was scratched by construction workers and scum is left on her new wallpaper.
She said: “I haven’t redecorated long and I haven’t even finished it yet. I can’t be a **** anymore.”
Birmingham City Council apologized for the “disruption and inconvenience” as it promised to look into every single complaint and ensure any problems are resolved.
A statement from the agency said: “We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused by the ongoing refurbishment work on the tower’s exterior roof and balconies.
“All balconies, including doors and windows, are closed off for security reasons until all work on the outside has been completed.
“We understand that this is uncomfortable in this hot weather, but it is necessary to ensure the safety of the climbers carrying out the work. The elevators have been restored and are now operational.
“In relation to tenants’ individual complaints, each one will be looked into and we will ensure that the contractor liaison officer works with the tenant to resolve any issues.
“Any further refurbishment work required on the properties will be carried out after the main works have been completed.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mums-fury-kids-unable-breathe-27271731 Mom's anger at kids being unable to breathe in a 'death-trap' high-rise has turned into a construction site