Here are some examples of the unforeseen problems/situations that can arise during the NIHE grant process and the role that the GABLE service is required to provide in these cases.

We firmly believe that in many cases if GABLE was not available to assist clients through these difficult situations they would most likely find they are unable to continue or complete the process.

Names have been changed for the purposes of client confidentiality/data protection.

Mr & Mrs Brown

Medical recommendations had been made to build on a ground floor extension (bedroom and shower room) which was required by this elderly couple. GABLE assisted the husband to make a grant application, which had only been approved a very short time when he became very ill and sadly died.

GABLE was able to check and quickly submit documents to change the application to the wife’s name. At the same time, due to a change in working methods between the Planning Service and N.I. Water, it became apparent that a fee of £700 would be payable to N.I. Water before the work could commence. This amount was not included in the grant approval and therefore the client was expected to pay. Due to the death of her husband, she simply could not afford this amount and the work was postponed again. GABLE identified the problem and then followed up on it with both written and telephone contact as well as discussions with the relevant parties, including the Housing Executive, N.I. Water, local MLAs and Councillors.

A satisfactory solution was found within a reasonable time period which resulted in the grant aided work commencing with no additional cost to the client. This case proved to be something of a ‘Test case’ as the solution achieved has been used to resolve several other similar cases involving N.I. Water fees.

Mr & Mrs Gallagher

This case refers to an elderly couple (both over 80), who reside with their adult son who has special needs. Their home is very old, apparently having been constructed approximately 150 years ago.  Recently, the house has deteriorated into a poor state of repair as the family were not in a financial position to pay for the necessary work. The large extent of the work required was reflected in the grant Schedule of Works which in turn had taken the costing well above the Renovation Grant capping figure of £25,000.    With no other family to assist, this couple were unable to proceed with the much needed work due to the excessive additional cost not covered by the grant. Based on previous experience, GABLE met with both the family and the Housing Executive and following discussions a compromise was reached which allowed the essential work to be carried out at a cost the family could afford. Unfortunately, a few days after the work was completed by the contractor but prior to the family having moved back in the property went on fire.  Serious damage was caused to the new roof and the interior of the house.  GABLE supported the clients through this additional crisis until a satisfactory solution was found.

Ms Doherty

GABLE assisted this lady who lives alone (and recently has not enjoyed good health) to apply for grant assistance to provide a much needed medically recommended downstairs extension to her home. The grant had actually been approved and work commenced on site, when the contractor discovered a major problem with existing sewage pipes which prevented any work from proceeding.  As there was no obvious solution, the contractor had no choice but to stop work and withdraw from site.   As soon as GABLE became aware of the situation, an initial site visit was carried out to establish the extent of the problem and this was followed up with further site meetings with relevant departments including the Housing Executive, N.I. Water, Planning Service, Building Control and the Architect firm engaged.   As the issues in this case were complex and any solution would require agreement from all interested parties, it would take several attempts before a solution was found that would allow the builder to go back on site. A short time after work stopped, the client was admitted to hospital for major surgery and she remained there for several weeks. It was during that time that GABLE was able to continue working on her behalf, speeding up the resolution process and relieving the client of any unnecessary stress at a time when she was most vulnerable. Mrs Doherty is now enjoying the benefits of her new extension and is very happy with the work.

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