St Albans family’s ceiling collapses

Alex Frame with her 3 year old daughter Maisie Ryan in their living room after the ceiling collapsed

Alex Frame with her 3 year old daughter Maisie Ryan in their living room after the ceiling collapsed when the council failed to fix a leak in the bathroom - Credit: Archant

A carer is thankful that no-one in her family was injured after part of the ceiling in her council home collapsed onto the lounge floor where her toddler usually plays.

But Alex Frame, 32, has criticised St Albans district council for dithering over fixing a bathroom leak in her Ladies Grove home, and its slow response in repairing the ceiling which collapsed as a result of constantly seeping water.

Alex, a senior carer at a local home, explained that a pipe in the bathroom, located on the floor above the lounge, began leaking about a year ago.

Problems started after a new bathroom was installed as part of a council scheme to upgrade its homes in the district.

Following a complaint to the council, builders engaged on its behalf initially said incorrect taps had been fitted.

They were changed, but despite numerous visits from inspectors and builders, problems with a constantly damp ceiling were not resolved.

Instead, Alex was given dehumidifiers and at one stage was recommended to use special paint to hide a yellow stain spreading across the ceiling.

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Alex said it was later discovered that a nail had been hammered into a pipe in the bathroom, with water leaking into the ceiling below, making it bow.

Then in the small hours of Friday, October 25, Alex heard a loud bang from the lounge.

She said: “The ceiling fell down. The piece was about 1.5 square metres. I thought, what the hell has happened here? There was water dripping from the beams.”

More than a week after complaining to the council the hole has not been repaired.

Alex said: “I feel let down. They have a duty of care. I pay my rent, so why shouldn’t I be looked after?”

Karen Dragovic, head of housing at the council, said contractors had repaired the leak, made safe the electrics and would fix the ceiling shortly.