Repairs and maintenance

Content owner : home.ownership@knh.org.uk Last updated : 05/03/11

How we do repairs

Keeping our blocks of flats in a good state of repair is a major undertaking. We do this in a number of ways using a wide range of specialist contractors and other organisations.

Our contracts with these organisations meet the council's financial regulations, which are in turn, regulated by the District Auditor.


Types of repairs

There are three major types of repair:

Day-to-day or responsive repairs

These repairs are covered by a long-term contract which sets out prices and timescales for doing repairs when they are needed. An example of a responsive repair is a door that needs repairing or a leaking roof.

At present these works are done by Building Services on a three year contract, which can be extended by two years at the discretion of the council to delay the costs of re-tendering the contract.

Cyclical maintenance

This covers a variety of work that has to be carried out on a regular basis, such as painting or the regular servicing of lifts, security, and fire safety equipment that is done every year.

These works may be carried out under the current long term repairs and maintenance contract or they may be tendered from lists of contractors who have been 'approved'. The contractors have to show that they are registered for tax purposes, that they comply with Health and Safety regulations and that they meet employment legislation.

They must be qualified to do the work and have a record of successfully completing the type of jobs for which they are being considered. They also have to show their latest Annual Accounts and must have sufficient liability insurance to cover them should things go wrong.

These checks are done to ensure that contractors have experience and are reliable. A contractor who fails not only inconveniences our customers, but can also cause expensive problems if their work goes wrong.

Major works

This covers works that are planned and are of a high value, such as pointing, replacing roofs, windows or other structural works.

This would also cover any repairs to the structure of the building.

These works may be carried out under the existing long term repairs and maintenance contract or by contractors chosen from an approved list.

Occasionally we have to do specialist work for which we employ approved specialist contractors, for example, damp proofing, waterproofing cellars or removing asbestos.

These contractors are chosen for their specialist skills and experience. They are called preferred contractors, or, if the work forms part of a larger contract, they are said to be nominated contractors. The main contractor must use them for that type of work.


Tendering for works

Once works are identified by our staff, and providing we are not using contractors under the current long term repairs and maintenance contract, a list of approved contractors is drawn up. Each contractor gets a description of what we require and is asked to give us a price or estimate for the works. They are usually given a period of 21 days time to send us a price to do the work. These prices (called tenders) are opened by senior officers of KNH and Kirklees Council.


Who is responsible for repairs?

We are responsible for keeping the 'common parts' of your block in good repair. This means we will look after the structure of the building including shared landings and hallways (lighting, controlled door-entry systems and so on). Although we are responsible for organising the maintenance, each leaseholder is responsible for paying their share.


Gas appliances

KNH is not responsible for safety checks of your gas appliances or the associated flues installed in your home. However at times we may require access to check flues that may be shared with other properties in your building. Therefore you must allow us access so that we can carry out these safety checks.


Gas servicing

To maintain your gas appliances in a safe and economical condition we strongly recommend that you arrange for all your gas appliances to be checked annually by a suitably qualified Gas Safe Registered gas engineer.

KNH, in conjunction with their preferred contractor, can offer you a range of gas servicing packages.



District heating

KNH is responsible for the annual servicing, maintenance and renewal of the district heating boilers, for which a service charge will apply. It is your responsibility to maintain your radiator valves cylinder filters and inter-connecting pipes. We may need to check this has been done and so may need access to your home.


Repairs we are responsible for

Repairs we are responsible for include:

Structure:

  • roofs, drains, gutters and pipes on the outside of your home;
  • all walls and floors forming the external boundary of the dwelling;
  • internal structural walls;
  • outside entrance doors (but not the front door of individual flats);
  • window frames and sills (not including glass);
  • outside paint work;
  • paths and steps (back and front);
  • boundary fences where the leaseholder has not purchased any land;
  • chimneys and chimney stacks;
  • stairs, passages and landings;
  • garages and outbuildings, including drying areas.

Installations, fixtures and fittings:

  • shared water pipes, water tanks, gas pipes and electrical wiring;
  • light fittings in shared areas;
  • controlled door-entry systems;
  • decorations in shared areas;
  • refuse chutes;
  • fixtures or fittings in the staircase, passages and landings;
  • lifts;
  • any communal heating systems.

Repairs you are responsible for

  • All repairs to the inside of your flat, including your front door but not the door frame, glass in your windows and all fixtures and fittings, but not the window frames;
  • any damage to the common parts or services caused by you, members of your household, or your visitors;
  • chimney sweeping.

How to report a repair which is our responsibility

The booklet 'Care and repair of your home' provides information that is relevant to all tenants, including leaseholders. It gives an indication of the relative priority of various jobs and tells you how to report repairs or faults in your communal areas.



What you can expect from our contractors doing planned or cyclical repairs

Before work starts the contractor will:

  • Give you at least three days written notice before work starts on our home or communal area.
  • Tell you about any disruption the works may cause.
  • Advise you if there are any health and safety issues.

The workmen will:

  • Show you an identification badge with a photograph before entering your home.
  • Wear a company uniform or suitable working clothes.
  • Work only between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday (unless they agree special arrangements with you).
  • Not cause offence or harass you.
  • Work as quietly as possible and not play a radio.
  • Be polite and courteous.
  • Not smoke or drink alcohol while working.
  • Keep any inconvenience to a minimum.
  • Take account of any special needs.
  • Take precautions to protect furniture carpets and fittings - and provide dustsheets if necessary.
  • Not use your electricity gas and water.
  • Make sure that at the end of the working day you have electricity, gas, hot and cold water or provide you with an alternative should this not be possible.
  • Make their own arrangements for refreshments and toilet facilities.
  • Not use your equipment for cleaning up afterwards.
  • Make sure they have cleaned up after the work by removing all rubbish and making sure your home is safe and secure at the end of the day.

You can help by:

  • Supervising children and pets while work is taking place.
  • Allowing the contractor to carry out the work without interruption.
  • Removing any ornaments and valuables from the work area.

Making sure you get a good service

The cost of repairs will normally be shared between you, other leaseholders in your block and KNH. It is important that we all get value for money from the repairs service. If the job is not done properly, or is not done when it was supposed to be, please let us know as soon as possible. Don't wait until you get your service charge bill to tell us, as it is more difficult for us to put things right once a period of time has elapsed.


Repairs to your own flat

You are responsible for repairs to the inside of your flat, including your front door and the glass in your windows. You should make your own arrangements to get someone to do the repairs for you.

If you, or someone you have employed, is carrying out repairs inside your flat, you must make sure that no damage is done to shared services or the structure of the block. You will be liable for any damage caused and you will have to pay to have it put right.

If you are in doubt about work you intend to carry out, contact the nearest KNH office and explain the situation.

You must not do repairs on landings, stairways or other shared areas e.g. roof, fall pipes, gutters etc. You would not be covered by our insurance if you had an accident or caused damage. If you, your visitors or members of your household cause damage to shared areas, you will have to pay for the repairs.



Doing your own alterations

As a leaseholder, you have the right to improve your home, but you will need written permission from us before starting work. This is because we have an investment in the block and a responsibility to the other tenants. We will not refuse permission unless we have a good reason. You may also need to get planning permission and building consent before starting work.

We do not need to know about minor work such as decorating, but we do need to know about any alterations that could affect walls, windows, doorframes, plumbing and electrical services.

The window frames belong to the landlord. You must not replace your windows unless we have given you permission in writing.

What sort of alterations do I need permission for?

  • Any addition or change to the structure or services in your home, including fixtures and fittings such as heating and kitchen units;
  • aerials or satellite dishes, or any permanent attachment to your outside wall.

How do I get permission?

You will need to say exactly what you want to do and include a drawing or plan. A building surveyor may need to visit your home to see what you intend to do before we make a decision. There is a fee of 50 for approving the alteration. We will give you an answer within six weeks of receiving your request. If we refuse permission we will tell you why.

You have the right to appeal, which you must do so in writing to your nearest KNH office. We only refuse permission for a good reason. If you go ahead with work after we have refused permission, you will be in breach of your lease.

The permission we give you is not the same as planning permission. You are responsible for getting any necessary planning permission or building regulations approval. If you do something without permission, we have a right to put things back as they were and charge you for it.


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