Varnish fiasco traps Falkirk flat residents

Ian Trapp had to force his way out his door
Ian Trapp had to force his way out his door
Share this article

Bungling painters left householders trapped in their homes after varnishing their front doors while they were still inside.

Shocked residents of Falkirk’s high rise flats had no option but to use brute force to get them open - damaging the frames in the process.

The state-of-the-art firedoors, that cost over £700 each, were fitted last year. Tenants, many of them elderly, were sent a letter from Falkirk Council last month alerting them to the fact they were to be varnished and asking them to be ready for the painters to arrive.

But it is claimed the workmen never bothered to knock on doors to let residents know they were there - and carried on with the work.

When the varnish dried, the doors were firmly stuck!

Red-faced council bosses have now ordered repairs to be carried out on hundreds of properties at the multi-storey flats at Parkfoot, Breton and Cornton Courts.

One angry tenant has hit out at the blunder he fears will cost council taxpayers hundreds of pounds to fix.

Ian Trapp (74), who lives in Parkfoot Court, said: “I had to shoulder charge my door to get it open and the beading and seals around the frame came apart. I wasn’t the only one who had to do that to get out. I’ve spoken to others in this block who were faced with exactly the same problem.

“The doors were great when they were fitted. We all appreciated them being installed and I don’t think they had to be varnished anyway. They cost £700 each, but now this mistake is going to cost the council even more money to sort out. They are now carrying out repairs floor by floor, block by block. It’s a shambles caused by workmen who simply didn’t bother ringing a bell or knocking on a door to see if anyone was in and must be costing a fortune.”

Mr Trapp said that some neighbours who have bought their flats from the council but agreed to pay to have the new door were worried about having to pay for repairs.

He added: “If that’s true it’s very unfair. I know workmen are now knocking on doors asking tenants if their door is jammed and fixing it free of charge. I think owner-occupiers should get the same treatment.”

A council spokesman said: “Access arrangements were made with individual tenants prior to the doors being painted to enable the doors to be varnished as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Residents were also advised of the drying time required before doors were to be closed.

“We have encountered a minor issue with the fire seals which have caused the doors to slightly stick. This was always a possibility and we included follow up maintenance work as part of the original painting contract.

“We have since carried out repairs and no owner-occupier has been charged for this follow up remedial maintenance work.”