Case Study: raising the roof

Name: Ballingdon Grove

Location: Sudbury, Suffolk

Property: 11 units across a Grade II-listed former country house.


Ballingdon Grove is a small country house, listed at Grade II, the earliest phase of which is a double-pile house of the late C17 or early C18 although it has an historic front range pre-dating 1700. The property was owned by the Allen family who operated the nearby Ballingdon Brickworks which, at its height, transported over 3 million bricks a year. The works supplied Suffolk White, red facing and ornamental bricks to projects such as the Royal Albert Hall and the South Kensington Museums in London. Ballingdon Grove itself included a large amount of Suffolk White bricks. The Grove has, at various points been a home for those with learning difficulties, a nursing home for the elderly and a hotel.

Block Management UK took on management of Ballingdon Grove in 2015 and found the property had accumulated a number of internal and external issues contributing to declining flat values. For example, one flat's sale had recently fallen through, at approximately 77,000.

A particular source of concern was the roof. A large number of leaks had been experienced over several years which ultimately stemmed from the mismatched nature of a converted roof and a historic lack of maintenance.

Initial works

Splits and fractures in the lead had lead to water ingress and machine-made clay tiles had suffered frost damage. A poor standard of repair in other areas included oversized bays with insufficient falls, up stands and steps, poor quality lead cladding, incorrectly-fitted chimney flashings and incorrectly-formed valleys. There was even a suspected bee's nest in the top of one chimney that may have made the brickwork damp.

It was agreed that the works were to be performed in three phases to make best use of access scaffolds and avoid any double tiling.

Existing slates were stripped off and set aside for re-use. Felt and battens were extensively replaced, box gutters reconstructed along with other works such as flashing to all top and side abutments. All main roofs were stripped back with boards checked before re-felting and tiling.

All gullies were fully rebuilt and re-lined, a valley was re-worked to improve flow and reduce standing water, significant woodwork repairs were carried out to the original clay tiled roof along with installation of insulation.

Further works

In addition to the roof renovations, in the last 24 months there have been in excess of 100 maintenance jobs at Ballingdon Grove. These maintenance works included the instruction and management of:

  • adoption by Anglian Water of the management of the waste pumping station, leading to a considerable saving in future maintenance
  • severe bee infestations and mole treatment
  • repair of a burst pumping station sewage pipe, 5-year EICR periodic electrical inspection
  • repair on a leaking laundry room overflow
  • tree reduction works completed by a tree surgeonrepairs to leaking outside tap
  • repairs to several faulty washing machines
  • repairs to faulty steps/paving
  • installation of a salt/grit binrepairs to the communal doors
  • various communal lighting repairs
  • Health & Safety/Fire Safety risk assessments and remedial works


The roof works themselves started in late July 2017 and completed mid-November 2017. The process of investigating the roof, sourcing quotes, working with listed buildings, and issuing the legal paperwork (not to mention collecting funds) had been ongoing for at least 18 months prior to project start.

Since the work has been completed, there have been no reported leaks and responses from the residents has been positive.

Informal discussions with local estate agents subsequent to the works reveal that property prices have changed dramatically now that the roof and redecorations have been addressed. Suggesting that the ceiling rate for flats within the building has risen to an excess of 145,000.

To see Block Management UK Ltd at work watch the recent business case study video that our communications partner Vodafone made about us.

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(01/09/2018 00:00:00)