What to do in emergencies
If you smell gas, turn the gas off at the mains. Telephone Transco. Report the matter to the Co-op office or contact the Maintenance Co-ordinator. Do not turn the gas back on until it has been repaired.
IF IN ANY DOUBT, OR YOU SUSPECT A GAS LEAK, TELEPHONE THE TRANSCO GAS EMERGENCY SERVICE: 0800 111 999.
If you have a burst pipe, turn the water off at the stop cock. The stop cock controls the water supply to the house and is usually under the kitchen sink. For any water repair, contact the Co-op Office or Maintenance Co-ordinator. If you cannot contact anyone, for repairs inside the house call an emergency plumber on the Co-op’s builders list. In Cambridge:
- Cambridge Water deals with the supply of water and maintains supply pipes up to the stop cock in the street.
- Anglian Water deals with sewerage and is responsible for maintaining the public sewers in the street.
For repairs to water mains outside the house, call Cambridge Water on C. 403000. For repairs to sewerage pipes outside the house call Anglian Water on 0345 145145. For outside pavements and roads flooded because of blocked gullies ask for the Highways Dept of Cambridge City Council on C. 457000.
If the water supply fails, telephone Cambridge Water. First, check with your next door neighbour, as the whole area may have been cut off. This will be Cambridge Water’s responsibility.
If the electricity fails, or if you receive an electric shock from any fitting, turn off the electricity at the mains. To arrange for a repair, contact the Co-op Office or Maintenance Co-ordinator straight away. If no one is available, contact an emergency electrician who is on the Co-op’s approved list, and provide a 24 hour service.
If all the electricity has gone off, check that it is not a power cut!
A laminated notice giving information on what to do in an emergency will be provided to each house. This information will also be included in the member’s handbook.
The Co-op is responsible for the exterior and the structure of Co-op property, as well as installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity. Basins, sinks, baths, toilets, central heating and fitted heaters are also the responsibility of the Co-op. The Co-op is also responsible for all fittings supplied by the Co-op.
The Co-op is responsible for ensuring that all repairs are carried out in a professional and safe manner, and that no injury or damage is caused due to the Co-op’s negligence.
It is a condition of membership that individual Co-op members are responsible for reporting repairs to the Co-op. Co-op members should be prepared to help with maintenance work.
Individual Co-op members are responsible for ensuring that there is no damage to Co-op property due to negligence or abuse. Damage resulting from negligence or abuse should be paid for by the members responsible.
Do it Yourself: work done by Co-op members, Co-op tools
The Co-op encourages members to undertake their own repairs, except in the areas of gas, electricity and water, where work must only be done by members with the relevant skills and qualifications.
In other cases, repairs still have to be reported to an authorised by the Maintenance Co-ordinator. Co-op members will not be paid for work, except in cases of emergency in which case the contractor will be paid, or the member reimbursed for payment to the contractor. N.B. Members are not allowed to be paid for maintenance work done under Co-op rules.
Co-op tools: are stored by the Maintenance Co-ordinators from whom they must be borrowed. Any member borrowing a Co-op tool must sign for it and return it. The Co-op will not supply drill bits. Tools must only be borrowed for use on Co-op property.
All tools must be signed in on return. Tools can be borrowed for a maximum of 72 hours. On return, the Maintenance Co-ordinator will check them for damage etc. It is importance that tools are returned on time. Any member damaging Co-op tools will be charged for repair/replacement.
There are four categories of repairs:
- EMERGENCY REPAIRS: Will be dealt with within 24 hours. These include:
- Any damage to a property that affects the health or security of the occupants (e.g. dangerous electrical fittings, blocked drains etc.).
- Any repairs resulting from a burglary which affect the security of the occupants.
- Any damage arising from incidents of harassment (racial, sexual or other).
- Any part of the external structure which is a danger to the public.
- ESSENTIAL REPAIRS: Will be dealt with within 5 working days. These include:
- Problems that cause serious inconvenience and/or damage, such as leaking pipes, damaged guttering etc.
- PRIORITY ONE REPAIRS: Will be dealt with within 15 working days.
- PRIORITY TWO REPAIRS: will be dealt with within 30 working days.
- EMERGENCY REPAIRS: Will be dealt with within 24 hours. These include:
A general guide to different catagories is as follows:
Exposed wires or dangerous electrical fittings, e.g. water penetration to mains head.
Serious roof leak or damage through water penetration
Badly leaking water or central heating pipes
Glazing where security or danger to life is involved
All external doors that cannot be made secure
No staircase lighting
Over heating of switches or socket outlets or flickering lights
Broken or cracked WC pan
Leaking flush pipe
Clear blocked drain or waste pipe
Remake joint of WC pan or soil pipe
Repair soil pipe
Replacement of faulty ball valves
Non emergency roof leaks
Repair loose banisters, balustrades or stair treads
Non emergency glazing
Repair or replace external waste pipes
Replace water storage tank
Refix or replace wash basin
Replace waste trap
Attend to faulty stop valve or drain off cock or tap
Extraction or ventilation system
Replace sash fasteners or cords
Replace hinges on internal doors
Replace rotten or defective flooring
Clear blocked gutters
Fix or repair bath panel or framework
Fix or repair loose kitchen units or worktop
Replace WC seat
Replace wash basin, bath or sink unit
Repair tiles or surround including making good silicone sealant
Pointing to reveals of door or window frame
Fixing of air bricks or air vents
General flooring repairs
Ease or adjust external doors and repair or replace frame
Replace or renew zinc \lead roof fittings
Patch repair plasterwork to internal walls & ceilings
Rebed and point joints to ridge tiles
The Co-op will elect a Maintenance Co-ordinator (s), at the appropriate AGM. They shall implement the Co-op’s maintenance policy. They shall report regularly to the Co-op.
The Co-op shall also have a Maintenance Group, to provide support for the Maintenance Co-ordinator(s). The Group shall meet on a regular basis.
The Maintenance Group shall also organise work done by Co-op members, particularly in the area of carpentry and joinery, glazing, painting and decorating.
Work such as gas, electrical and plumbing work shall not be done by volunteers, as this could invalidate the Co-op’s insurance.
All repairs shall be reported immediately to the Co-op Maintenance Co-ordinator(s) in writing preferably by the Member concerned. Repairs should be reported on the Co-op’s Repairs Report form.
The Maintenance Co-ordinator(s) shall take responsibility for ordering all repairs. They can delegate this responsibility and the following authority to place orders to a Co-op worker. The worker with this delegated authority must liase closely with the Maintenance Co-ordinator.
For works costing up to £150, the Maintenance Co-ordinator shall have authority to place orders. A written estimate must be obtained before work starts.
For works costing £150 to £500, the Maintenance Co-ordinator shall have authority to place orders. At least two written estimates shall be obtained.
Works costing over £500 shall be agreed at a Management Committee Meeting. At least two estimates shall be obtained for works up to £1,000; and three estimates for works over £1,000. The authorisation for such works shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
Major works costing over £2,000 will go out to tender, using the system approved by the Housing Corporation.
Using outside consultants (surveyors etc.) must be authorised by a Management Committee Meeting.
Emergency Repairs: If an emergency arises that requires an immediate response to render the problem safe or secure, the obligation to receive written estimates in advance of work beginning may be waived. In certain such situations the Maintenance Co-ordinators may authorize contractors to effect emergency repairs on the basis of a verbal estimate. A written estimate should be received as soon as practicable, with an estimate for further work to resolve the problem permanently.
Paying for Repairs
The Maintenance Co-ordinator and Treasurer shall be responsible for paying invoices. Works costing under £50 may be paid on the authorisation of the member that the work has been satisfactorily completed. For a job costing over £50, the appropriate Maintenance Co-ordinator shall inspect and authorise payment.
The Co-op member who reported the work should sign the Repairs Report on completion of the work, and return it promptly to the Office, but only if they are satisfied with the standard of work.
The Invoice from the builder and the original estimate (where appropriate) shall be passed to the Treasurer. The Treasurer shall check these against the original work order, and will authorise payment of the invoice when satisfied that all the paperwork is correct.
The Co-op shall receive a report each quarter on the maintenance budget.
Planned and Cyclical Maintenance.
The Maintenance Co-ordinator shall annually inspect all the houses and flats. Repairs arising from the inspection (unless urgent or emergency) shall be ordered as part of the cyclical maintenance work to be done to that property during that year.
The following work shall be done on an annual basis:
- Checking and cleaning of gutters
- Maintenance of fences and boundary walls
- Inspection and cleaning of drains
- Servicing of internal fans
- Servicing of gas boilers and cookers
- Inspection and repair of windows and doors
The following work shall be organised on a 5 yearly basis:
- External repainting
- Repainting of internal communal areas. The Co-op will supply paint, and the work shall be done by the members of each house.
All void rooms shall be inspected when a member moves out, and repairs organised before the room is re-let.
The Co-op shall not be responsible for the decoration of members’ rooms. These must be kept in good condition. The Co-op has a trade account with a local supplier and will provide free enough silk or matt emulsion and gloss paint to decorate a room. The Co-op’s “paint rep” organises getting the paint, tinting etc. The work shall be done by members living in the house.
The Co-op will keep a list of reputable builders, and review it annually, usually at the AGM.. Any builder who fails to provide a good service, or fails to abide by the Co-op’s policies will be taken off the list. However, before this is done, the problems experienced with the builder should be discussed with them, and they should be given a chance to remedy the faults the Co-op is concerned about.
All builders will receive a copy of this repairs and maintenance policy. They should also be issued with an anti-discrimination statement by the Co-op, which they should be asked to sign and abide by. Breaches of this policy will result in removal from the Co-op’s contractors list.
All contractors should be able to produce on request from the Co- op:
- A Tax exemption certificate (if appropriate)
- Public liability insurance
- References (trade and bank)
- VAT registration number (if appropriate)
- NIC\EIC membership for electrical work
- CORGI membership for gas work
For contractors with over 5 staff:
- A health and safety policy
- An equal opportunities policy
All contractors should be sympathetic to trade unionism, and should not use “lump” (casual) labour.
The Maintenance Co-ordinator shall inspect work done before authorising payment. Should a member be unhappy with repairs they must report this to the Maintenance Co-ordinator before payment.
Once a repair has been reported, should the Co-op fail to organise the repair as outlined in this document, the member should raise the matter with the Maintenance Co-ordinator who should ensure that the matter is remedied. Section 12 below covers member’s contractual “Right to repair” under their Tenancy Agreement.
The Co-op will not take responsibility for repairs ordered outside this system, except in cases of extreme urgency, where the immediate ordering of the repair prevents further damage to Co-op property.
The Maintenance Policy is a document of the Co-op, and as such can be added to or changed only through the democratic process of the Co-op.
The Right to Repair compensation scheme
This scheme is a contractual right that the Housing Corporation expects Registered Social Landlords to grant to tenants. The scheme is referred to in the Co-op’s current tenancy agreement.
The maximum cost for a repair eligible for this scheme will be £200.
If a member reports an emergency or essential repair to the Maintenance Co-ordinator or Co-op worker, the Co-op will issue a work order describing the repair and naming the contractor who will be doing the work and by when it will be finished. The member should co-operate with the contractor in providing access.
If the Co-op fails to carry out the repair within the set time scale, i.e. 24 hours for an emergency and 5 working days for an essential repair, the member should inform the Co-op that the repair has not been done. The Co-op should then issue a further work order and give a copy to the tenant.
If the repair remains outstanding after the end of this second period, then the member shall be entitled to compensation. The compensation will be £10 plus £2 per day (up to a maximum of £50) for every day the repair remains outstanding after the end of the second period.
A Maintenance Co-ordinator, or, in the absence of a Maintenance Co-ordinator, a Committee or General Meeting, must authorise all payments under this scheme.
Monitoring the Repairs Service
The Maintenance Co-ordinator shall report every quarter to the Management Committee about the Repairs Service. The Management Committee shall be responsible for monitoring the Repairs service.
If less than 90% of the repairs are not being done within the target times, the Co-op Co-ordinators will investigate, and report back to a Management Committee Meeting.
The Repairs system
Once a repair request has been received in the Co-op Office, the Maintenance Co-ordinator or Co-op worker shall issue a work order, having inspected the repair if necessary, and established that it is the Co-op’s responsibility.
A copy of the work order shall be given to the house, and a copy kept on file. Once the invoice has been passed for payment, the office copy of the repair order shall be put on the property file.
A record shall be kept of all orders placed on each property, to include expenditure, and expenditure committed.
In the case of major works, such as roofs, damp proofing,etc., copies of guarantees relating to the work shall be kept on the property file.