19 MAY, 2015

Client: United House Ltd.
Contract Duration: Round 1 – 2006 – 2009, Round 2 – 2007 – 2011
Contract Value: Round 1 – £2m per annum, Final Account Value – £6m; Round 2 – £1.6m, Final Account Value – £6.5m
Contract Location: Islington, North London


This Social Housing PFI (Private Finance Initiative) Contract was the first in the country and the largest construction contract in its sector in Europe involving the refurbishment of over 7000 street properties. The aim of the project was to address the steady decline of much of the borough’s Victorian social housing stock, caused by years of under-investment.

Gaskell Refurbishments began works on site in January 2006 and, recognising the vast scope of the project, promptly acquired a satellite office and warehouse within Islington in order to service the contract efficiently.


Throughout the duration of the contract, Gaskell Refurbishments took complete possession of up to 5 Victorian terraced properties per week and carried out all works to both the internals and externals of these homes.

In terms of the externals, works included fitting new roof coverings, all masonry repairs, carpentry repairs to windows, doors, fascias and soffits, fitting new rainwater goods, repairs to ornate metal railings and staircases and external decorating. Many of the properties had been converted from large family homes to multiple occupancy dwellings and we were also responsible for refurbishing the communal areas of these buildings. This would typically involve refurbishing communal staircases, installing new electrical systems, plaster repairs, carpentry repairs, fire upgrade works, decorating works and fitting new floor coverings.

If the properties were tenanted then the refurbishment programme would also include the internals. These works would involve the installation of new central heating systems, new electrical systems, the complete renewal of all kitchens and bathrooms, damp proofing works, plastering and carpentry repairs and full decoration works.


The vast majority of these properties were refurbished with tenants in situ and so it was imperative that our workforce possessed both the excellent communication skills necessary to liaise with occupiers, and the technical competence to ensure that works were carried out to the strictest health and safety standards with the minimum amount of disruption to the tenants’ routines.

In addition, a considerable proportion of the properties had significant problems with damp. In order to address this challenge effectively Gaskell Refurbishments organised a training programme which enabled the company to acquire the status of Sovereign approved damp proof contractors. This accreditation meant that we no longer had to rely on outside labour to complete damp proofing works on our behalf, and the handover process of these damp affected properties was therefore greatly expedited.


Our performance on round 1 earned our company an excellent reputation for both quality workmanship and customer care. As a result, we were appointed lead contractor by United House, and in this capacity we ensured that the remaining round 1 properties were completed on schedule.


Gaskell Refurbishments was one of the contractors fortunate enough to be placed on Round 2 of this contract based on our previous performance, level of customer care, quality of work and competitive costing.

On Round 2 the type of refurbishment works detailed above were carried out in a more streamlined manner to assist both contractors and tenants. The opportunity also arose during this phase to deal with any properties which were found to have structural problems in Round 1, and we played a key role in the rebuilding of many of these properties in addition to carrying out various structural repairs to the external fabrics of the buildings.

Towards the end of the contract Gaskell Refurbishments was shortlisted to become one of only two contractors left working on the site to ensure the successful completion of the remaining works; a reflection of our dedication and commitment to United House and the project as a whole throughout Round 1 and 2.


“I had the pleasure of working with Gaskell Refurbishments hand in hand on the PFI Round 1 and 2 contracts in Islington for a period of six years, which covered both external and internal packages. Over that time their performance was to a high standard and they displayed a very good work ethic. Site management was also user friendly, and during the contract period they were always on hand to quickly remedy problems, even out of working hours. I would have no hesitation in using Gaskell Refurbishments again if the opportunity arises.”

– Kevin Adams, Zone Manager, United House Ltd