Friday, 26 November 2021

Ben Jonson House - Water Tank Works

From the BEO:

Ben Jonson House - Water Tank Works

Guardian engineers will be carrying out further works to the water tanks in Ben Jonson House on 2 and 3 December, following recent legionella testing.

There will be no disruptions to residents water supply as operatives carry out this work. There are other works going on to tanks where water supply will be disrupted, residents affected will have received written letters.

Any further questions please contact Steven Murray, the Project Manager, by email or 020 70293915.

Thank you for your cooperation in this regard.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Big trouble with 4thUtility - or how we lost the Internet for a few days

  In August this year 4th Utility took over from VFM as the guardians of the fibre network on the estate.

Last week, from midnight to 04:00 on Tuesday 16th November, 4th Utility undertook some maintenance work.  The time window was planned well in advance, but the maintenance did not go at all as planned; everyone on the estate who uses the 4th Estate fibre service lost their connection to the Internet for a number of days.

What was expected to be a significant but straightforward maintenance task turned into the complete replacement of server room equipment which in turn required the replacement of every router on the estate.  To their credit, 4th Estate quickly realised the magnitude of the issue and asked their Manchester based staff to get on a train to London right away, and to take along replacement server gear and hundreds of new routers.

It turns out that we really do depend on the Internet these days.  Some were unable to watch the film they wanted to see, some were unable to work, some even lost valuable work.  People certainly wanted to get back online as quickly as possible, hundreds of residents queued to get their new router at noon on Wednesday:

At the head of the queue was a desk where 4th Estate staff (Brand Ambassadors!) were handing out new routers and noting which flat got which device.

Over the next day most new routers were connected.  Mostly residents were able to unplug the old and connect the new by themselves, for some a house call from the 4th Estate staff was needed to get things going.  4th Estate staff manned their desk on the highwalk from Wednesday to the following Sunday

The cause of the problem was something like this:  The equipment inherited by 4th Estate has been serving residents for some time and was very much in need of an upgrade.  The maintenance planned for the 16th of November was to keep the current equipment going a little longer while the larger upgrade was rolled out.  The manufacturer of the current equipment felt that the plan, yanking out and replacing some of the equipment, was safe because the service should just fall back to secondary systems ... but what happened instead was the a total failure.

Given the total failure the easiest thing to do would be to install like-for-like replacements of the broken systems, but the nearest were in Dubai!  So, 4th Estate decided to bring forward the larger upgrade and replace the broken kit with brand new server room systems and replace every connected router too.  Quite a task.

Now that the Internet service is restored for most, if not all, 4th Estate customers I'm sure "lessons have been learned" (again).  The biggest for me is to have a fallback plan for our Internet connection (e.g. a mobile hotspot and a data SIM) and of course to make sure all our valuable data is backed up.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

House Group AGM - 2022-01-11 19:15

The Ben Jonson House Group have given notice that the next AGM at 19:15 on 11th Jan 2022 to be held in the Golden Lane Community Centre.

The email address for the house group is

The attachments to the notice attachments are:

The notice from the house group committee:


Dear All,

Attached please find the minutes of our last committee meeting.

Our next meeting will be the AGM on 11 Jan 2022 at 7.15pm. As the Lilac Room is not available, it will take place in the Golden Lane Community Centre.

We have a line-up of 'celebrities' for you, namely:
  • Chair of the Barbican Residential Committee, Mark Wheatley,
  • Chair of the Residents' Consultation Committee, Christopher Makin
  • Chair of the Barbican Association, Adam Hogg
  • Alderman David Graves
  • Common Councillor Mark Bostock
Please make a note in your diaries, it will be a chance for your to put your questions to some of the people who manage and champion our Estate.

The Committee would like to offer simple hospitality for everyone on the evening; Jane, who is very good at organising these things, will not be available.

Could you help on this occasion? Just drinks and nibbles.

Please get in touch on the above email if you can. It would be much appreciated.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Service Yard Carbon Reduction Works

From the BEO:

City of London Carbon Reduction Works

We have been informed that the site storage unit is to be delivered 12 November and temporary barriers or ‘traffic’ cones will be placed across the area (shown by dotted lines in the image) where the storage container will be placed. This is to prevent vehicles parking in the space allocated for the storage unit before it is delivered.

The site welfare, storage container and skip locations, once in position will remain in position until the end of the project, which is scheduled to complete March '22.

Please download the newsletter with information regarding the upcoming City of London Carbon reduction Works.

If you are unsure of any activities being undertaken by the team, wish to raise any questions, or report concerns please contact PSDS Helpline:

Water tank work - from 29th Nov

From the BEO:

Cold Water Storage Tank Works - Ben Jonson House

Smart Managed Solutions working with City of London Corporation will be carrying out urgent works on the cold-water storage tanks over a two-day period, between Monday 29 November - Tuesday 14 December.

Residents affected will be sent a letter with precise dates and times of the disruption.

On day 1 there will be disruptions to properties between 10am - 4pm.

During this time, we will require you to NOT use any of the bathroom and bathroom fed services, this includes washing machines or dish washers ‘fed’ from the bathroom facilities.

On the second day engineers will carry out non-disruptive remedial completion works from 10am to 4pm.

Residents may wish to store a bath full of water for flushing the toilet on the day of disruptions. This will include opening/turning on of any bathroom taps between 10am until 4pm and the flushing of toilets from 10am – 4pm. Due to the nature of the work involved this may overrun, but you will be informed by our operatives.

Mains drinking water will not be affected.

Every effort will be made to keep noise levels to a minimum during the hours of 10am – 4pm

SMART operatives will visit a number of properties once the work is complete to ensure services have resumed as normal.

Following recent Government advise relating to COVID-19 all engineers will be wearing the correct and necessary PPE. Communal areas that workmen have to access with be sanitised before and after use.

If you require any further information please contact the Project Manager, Steve Hope on 07577 967907, Smarts main office on 01268 206188 or the City Project Manager.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Join the Garden Advisory Group

From the chair of the RCC, with preamble from the chair of the Ben Jonson House Group:


Barbican Gardens in the news

From the Ben Jonson House Group chair:

Dear All,

For many years the Garden Advisor Group has worked with the BEO to maintain our gardens to the highest possible standard.

It's a labour of love and not only brings joy to the residents, but also to the many visitors, who come specially to the Estate, to enjoy the colour and variety of planting.

The gardens get noticed by the press as well, and when I saw a copy of Garden in the dentist's waiting room a few years ago, I forgot all about the impending pain!

The RCC is keen that the GAG continues with this good work and as part of the campaign to Make the Barbican a Better Place, the Chair has asked me to circulate his note below.

Kind regards,
Chair Ben Jonson House Group

From the Residents Consultative Committee (RCC) Chair:


Click to read the flyer

Dear Neighbour,

Please help create a Better Barbican by volunteering to join the Gardens Advisory Group (GAG) that works with the City Gardens team and residents to enhance the presentation and future development of the Barbican's hard and soft landscaping. This includes the Speed and Thomas More private gardens, plus the planted podium raised beds and planters.

Membership is for three years and residents with specialist knowledge and experience are particularly welcome.

The GAG's work covers six key areas:
  1. Strategic – including details of any future plans for the landscape in the Estate including making recommendations for changes to the Residents' Consultation Committee (RCC)
  2. Quality – contribute to establishing standards for new projects and the on-going maintenance of the current gardens
  3. Operational – see that the agreed quality outcomes are delivered day-to-day and oversee active contribution from residents and other volunteers.
  4. Encouragement – encourage residents to 'green' their personal space on balconies and patios by use of troughs and pots as well as involving them in the communal areas by, for example, resident planting days.
  5. Links – provide a means for links with organisations with a common interest in managing, developing and promoting the Barbican landscape.
  6. Communications – ensure that information about the development of the Barbican landscape is communicated to all residents, that details of how residents can contact the GAG are published in appropriate places and prepare quarterly reports to RCC.

If you would like to know more, or would like to volunteer, please email by Friday 5 November stating:
  • Your name
  • The skills/knowledge you have to offer
  • The areas of the working party's activities to which you aim to contribute
  • That you will take the Minutes on a rotational basis
  • If you are a current/prior member of this or another Barbican Working Party
Current and prior members of the GAG are welcome to apply as their valuable knowledge will complement the fresh perspectives brought by new members. Decisions on membership will be made by residents delegated by the Barbican Residents' Consultation Committee.

Thanks for helping to create a Better Barbican.

Chair Residents' Consultation Committee

Barbican Podium Phase 2 - Oct Newsletter

 It seems that we are to have newsletters for the Phase 2 podium resurfacing works:

Click to read the newsletter

On the bright side, the newsletter confirms that the Yellow Shed is still in the crosshairs.

And drainage gets a mention too, but only to say that there will be a survey as part of the phase 2 works vs. not even starting the tile replacement until the drains are fixed.