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BCoT's refurbishment of derelict house in May Street is criticised
A BASINGSTOKE college, which spent three years refurbishing a derelict house, has admitted that the project still requires more work after the standard of some of the revamp was criticised at an official opening event.
As previously reported in The Gazette, Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) officially opened the house in May Street, Brookvale, at a launch event on May 8, when professionals were invited to view the work the students had done to update it.
Alan Dilly, head of construction at BCoT, in Worting Road, said that the project had given students “site experience so when they do go out and find jobs, they will be much more employable”.
But not everyone was impressed.
Andrew Mole, who has an apprentice at BCoT, and runs his own business, which includes fitting bathrooms and kitchens, described the work as “atrocious”.
He added: “I’m not blaming the young people involved. I feel it’s an absolute failing of the college.”
Mr Mole identified various errors, including wonky piping and bad plumbing, and felt that a lack of care had been taken which could instil bad practice in the students, such as a new bath being used to store rubble.
He added: “In the lounge, there’s a massive window. You want to open a window, but the only ones you can open are the ones at the top. There’s no TV socket. Where would the TV go?”
The building had been empty for more than a year when BCoT bought it for £175,000 in 2010.
But Mr Dilly said that the house was unlikely to make a profit for the college because of the money spent on materials. It will be marketed for sale for just under £300,000.
Mr Mole said: “They should have used it to make a profit to put back into the college, and then used that money to buy another property for the next set of students.”
He believes that BCoT should have only allowed the “most gifted and trusted” students to carry out work inside the house.
But Mr Dilly said that the project was about letting the students “have a go”.
He added: “Everything has been done correctly, but perhaps not to the industry standard of finish.
“The students are on a journey of learning and they aren’t going to get that level of finish at the start of their course.”
He admitted that more work needed to be carried out to bring the property up to standard before it could be marketed for sale.
Asked why the college held an official opening before the project was complete, he said: “We set that date some time ago, but with the bad weather, we got behind and didn’t get everything finished.”
Mr Dilly added that a building control officer from the local authority would carry out an inspection once the project was finished, and he was confident that the work complied with regulations.
Anthony Bravo, principal at BCoT, said that higher level students would finish off the project, and he hoped that the house will go on the market at the end of the summer.
He added: “Each room has a list of things that need to be done. “We had the launch day but we fully understand the house isn’t complete. The purpose was to give the students experience.”
Mr Bravo said that he would invite Mr Mole back to look at the house when the project is completed.
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