Refurbishing a tower block is not a cheap process. In the past
people have often decided that it would be cheaper to blow a
block up that redevelop it. But in many cases this is no longer
an option and it’s certainly a huge waste of resources to do so.
is here specifically to help people who are planning to
refurbish. It should help decide priorities and also help
develop a rough overall budget. There are of course many
variables depending on the scale of refurbishment, the need to
decant and rehouse residents, the size of the block, etc. Some
basic refurbishment (such as a new coat of paint in common
areas) can be done at very low costs, but this is unlikely to
make much overall difference nor to contribute much to
people will only consider major refurbishment if there is
already some funding available. This is most likely to come as
part of a regeneration programme, most probably as part of the
Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal work. All such funding is
managed by the ODPM – the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, a
large government department which covers all regeneration and
local government work, and has developed the ‘Sustainable
Communities’ plan. There are a range of linked websites,
accessible from www.odpm.gov.uk.
challenge for sustainable refurbishment is to find money over
and above the bare minimum. Much of what is seen as ‘exemplary
practice’ within this website does cost more than doing only the
bare minimum. However these improvements are likely to have
long-term benefits, and some of these will accrue to the
landlords as well as to the residents. Good security, for
instance, has been repeatedly shown to have a big impact on
bring in extra funding may include:
from the landlord
project is really going to be innovative and exemplary, then the
landlord may invest in it. They are likely to need clear
evidence of the long-term benefits.
quite common for rents to rise when security is improved,
especially with a concierge. Experience shows that if people
believe that things will get better they will accept such rises,
but they will need to trust those doing the refurbishment to
covers many possibilities and will often relate to specific
pieces of work. Improving surrounding green spaces may attract
funding from charitable trusts that support environmental work;
basic crime prevention work can sometimes be funded by local;
‘community chest’ style bodies.
residents are well organised with a formal association or TMO
they may be able to access funds that landlords cannot. An
example of this might be the Big Lottery Fund (the main
grant-giving part of the National Lottery). The residents will
need to see how any money they raise is used specifically for
their chosen purposes (as will the funders) and they may need
some advice and support in fund-raising.
from such sources also depends on the criteria of the funders.
For example the Big Lottery Fund looks to fund projects that
help deliver four key outcomes:
People better able to contribute to their communities through
improved life skills.
More people actively involved in their communities and able to
make a difference to their local areas.
Enhanced rural and urban environments, which communities are
better able to access and enjoy.
People and communities more physically active and better able to
make healthier eating choices.
A bid from
a tower block would fit with outcome 3 but will do better if it
can also show that it will help getting people more involved in
managing the block (outcome 2) and if they develop new skills as
a result (outcome 1).
also some specialist environmental funds for greener buildings,
notably those linked to work to minimise CO2 emissions. If the
refurbishment is planning a major energy efficiency programme
then these should be followed up.