Page 1

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE HOW TO…

TYPES OF REPAIR

Repairs Handbook

Leaflet 20

09/10

Repairs Handbook 1


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Introduction The Repairs Handbook has been produced to help you report repairs in your home. The drawings match our repairs reporting system to help you report faults correctly. The handbook applies to all homes owned and maintained by Accent Foundation and replaces any earlier handbooks. It does not apply to leaseholders. Residents have helped us to develop the handbook. If you have any queries or comments, please let us know.

TYPES OF REPAIR

This handbook is split into three sections: 1. Repairs & Maintenance Information The first section tells you what to do in an emergency and how to report a repair. It lists which repairs are our responsibility, and which are yours. It also tells you about our customer service standards.

HOW TO‌

What to do in an emergency ........................................................ 4 Useful information ........................................................................ 6 Report a repair ............................................................................... 7 Repairs appointments ................................................................... 8 Response times .............................................................................. 9 Repairs to communal areas ......................................................... 12 Planned works ............................................................................. 13 Disabled adaptations ................................................................... 14 Quality control and customer feedback ..................................... 14 When work is done in your home .............................................. 15 Who is responsible for repairs? .................................................. 17 Improvements and alterations .................................................... 21 Safety advice ................................................................................ 22 Service standards ......................................................................... 25 Feedback and monitoring ........................................................... 26 Complaints ................................................................................... 26 Moving out .................................................................................. 27 2 Repairs Handbook


Doors, windows and locks ........................................................... 30 Drains and waste pipes ............................................................... 32 Electricity and consumer unit ..................................................... 34 Floors and stairs ........................................................................... 36 Garages and gardens ................................................................... 38 Gutters and roofs ......................................................................... 40 Heating and hot water ................................................................ 42 Kitchen fittings ............................................................................ 44 Pipes and taps .............................................................................. 46 Sinks, baths and showers ............................................................ 49 Toilets ........................................................................................... 51 Walls and ceilings ........................................................................ 53

3. How to‌

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

This section looks at the different types of repairs which may be needed in your home. We have included some drawings for your guidance and a list of typical questions, to help you provide us with the information we need in order to get your repairs done quickly and right first time.

TYPES OF REPAIR

2. Types of Repairs

Unblock a bath, basin or sink ..................................................... 56 Unblock a toilet ........................................................................... 57 Take care of your smoke alarm ................................................... 58 Reset a trip switch ....................................................................... 60 Reduce condensation .................................................................. 62 Bleed a radiator ........................................................................... 63 Protect against burst pipes ......................................................... 65

Repairs Handbook 3

HOW TO‌

This section tells you how to carry out simple repairs and maintenance tasks in your home that are your responsibility. These are listed on pages 18 and 19.


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

1. Repairs & Maintenance Information What to do in an emergency This section tells you what to do in an emergency and how to report a repair. It tells you about the repairs that are our responsibility, and repairs, that you are responsible for. It also explains our service standards. If you smell gas Don’t smoke or switch any electrical equipment on or off, including lights. This can cause a spark, which may cause an explosion. Turn off the gas and open the windows. To turn off the gas, use the emergency ON control handle. This can be found by the gas meter. The emergency control handle must be at a right angle to the pipe when switched off.

OFF

Call National Grid free on 0800 111 999. Use a phone outside your home (using a phone inside, even a mobile, could spark an explosion).

If you can smell or see smoke or flames Get everybody out of the house and call the Fire Service on 999. Don’t try to tackle the fire yourself – smoke and fumes can kill in minutes. Don’t go back into the house for any reason, until it’s safe to do so. If you live in sheltered housing, please follow the fire safety advice for your scheme 4 Repairs Handbook


Check all rooms for signs of smoke or fire. Feel around any closed door before opening it. Use the back of your hand to check doors and don’t touch any part of the door that is metal. If you think there is a fire, don’t open the door. If your smoke alarm goes off but there is no sign of smoke or fire, look at the advice on smoke alarms in How to… on page 58.

To turn off your electricity Turn the mains switch on the consumer unit or fuse board to the off position. Make sure you know where the consumer unit or fuse board is. See how to… on page 60

To turn off your water Turn the main stop tap to the right, (clockwise), to turn off the water in your home (to prevent flooding, for example). Make sure you know where the stop tap is, and that you can turn it. See how to… on page 65

STOP TAP

Repairs Handbook 5

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

If your domestic smoke alarm sounds Take your family to where it is easy to escape, in case there is a fire.


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Useful information We advise you to complete the following form, so that you, a friend, or emergency services can refer to it in an emergency situation. Remember to keep this handbook somewhere safe, but in a place where you can get to it easily. The mains gas tap is: The mains water stop tap is: The electricity consumer unit is: (Normally the consumer unit (fuse board) is inside, but the electricity meter could be either inside or outside). The boiler make and model number is:

Your utility companies and telephone numbers: Your gas company is: Telephone:

account no:

Your water company is: Telephone:

account no:

Your electricity company is: Telephone:

account no:

Your Accent Foundation Neighbourhood Team telephone no is:

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Before you contact us Look at the drawings in the Types of Repairs section on page 29 and think about the questions listed.

When you contact us, please tell us: L Your name, address and contact telephone number(s). L As much information about the repair as possible – this will help us get your repair done quickly. L If you have contacted us about this repair before. L When a responsible adult, (over the age of 16), will be at home to let us in. L If you are deaf or hard of hearing, or you have difficulties getting to the door when someone comes to your home. L Any other special requirements.

You can report a repair in the following ways By telephone Dial your neighbourhood team number at any time of day and choose ‘1’ for repairs. For emergency repairs outside office hours and bank holidays, use the same number. If you are using your mobile to ring us, use 0345 (instead of 0845) for a cheaper call. The rest of the number is the same. In person or in writing You can also write to your neighbourhood team. On line Use Housecall, our on-line repairs service at www.accentgroup.org to report routine (non urgent) repairs. Emergency repairs should always be phoned through as above.

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REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Report a repair


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Repairs appointments We use an appointment system for booking time slots to carry out repairs. When you report a repair, we will try to book an appointment to have the work carried out at a time that suits you (unless it is an emergency or external repair). We currently offer appointments in the following time slots: L AM – morning appointment 8am to 12pm L PM – afternoon appointment 12pm to 6pm L ASR – any time through the core of the day avoiding school runs (10am to 3pm) L EVENING – 6pm to 8pm L SATURDAY – Morning 8am to 12pm Sometimes we have to visit your home first to check exactly what work needs to be done and then make a separate appointment to do it, but we will tell you if this is necessary. For urgent and routine repairs, we will send you a repairs receipt confirming the appointment date, which contractor will be carrying out the repair, and details of the repair you reported. Attached to the receipt will be a customer satisfaction questionnaire for you to complete and return to us. You can use this to let us know whether you were satisfied with the service we provided, or where we can make improvements.

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If you cannot keep an appointment we have made with you, please contact us as soon as possible to make a new one. If you are expecting a contractor to visit your home and they do not arrive by the end of the appointment slot arranged with you, please contact us straight away. If you are not in when our contractor visits your home, the job will be cancelled. The contractor will leave a card to tell you they have called. You will need to contact Accent’s repairs service centre to arrange another appointment, not the number on the card left by the contractor.

Response times When you report a repair to us, we will tell you how long it will take to complete. Response times are measured from the date you report the problem to us, and depend on the type of repair you are reporting. Emergency repairs will be responded to within two hours. They will be either made safe, or completed within 24 hours, depending on the nature of the work and whether materials and parts are required. An emergency repair is where there is a risk to your, or anyone else’s, health or safety, or where severe damage will be caused to the property if the repair is not attended to quickly.

Repairs Handbook 9

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

If we cannot keep an appointment with you, we will let you know as soon as possible, and offer you another appointment that is convenient for you.


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Some examples of emergency repairs: L Loss of entire supply of electricity, water or gas. L Loss of partial supply (e.g. no lights, no drinking water). L Loss of entire heating provision in cold weather or where residents are vulnerable due to age or disability, or have children under five. L Loss of hot water facilities where the resident’s health necessitates regular bathing or where residents are vulnerable. L All serious plumbing or gas leaks where there is a danger of damage to the building. L Serious roof leaks and other major structural failures. L Securing the property following incidents of hate crime, fire, domestic violence, police activity, or if the property becomes empty. L Blocked toilet when it is the only one in the property (we may recharge you for the cost of unblocking the toilet). Always report emergency repairs by phone. If the repair is an emergency, you must stay in your home until the contractor arrives (unless it is unsafe for you to do so). Please do not exaggerate the urgency of the problem to get a quicker (emergency) response. This will only make it more difficult for us to deal with genuine emergencies and is not fair to other residents. In an emergency we will try to contact you to get into your home. If we cannot contact you, it may be necessary for us to use force to enter your home. For example, if there is a risk of injury to people, or a risk of damage to the property, or to other properties.

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An urgent repair is one where your comfort or convenience is seriously affected. In certain circumstances these repairs could be treated as emergencies. Some examples of urgent repairs: L Partial loss of electricity power or light. L Unsafe power, lighting socket or electrical fitting. L Partial loss of water or gas supply. L Loss, or partial loss, of space or water heating. L Blocked or leaking drains or soil stack. L Toilet not flushing. L Blocked sink, bath or basin. (We may charge you for the cost of unblocking the sink, bath or basin). L Leak from water or heating pipe, tank or cistern. L Roof leaks or severe dampness. L Insecure external window, door or lock. L Failure of door entry systems or entry phone. L Faulty communal TV aerial. L Damaged stair treads, or loose hand rails or banisters. L Extractor fan not working in kitchens or bathrooms with no other ventilation.

Repairs Handbook 11

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Urgent repairs – these will be responded to within seven days.


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Routine Repairs – these will be responded to within 28 days. These are less urgent repairs that can wait up to a month before being dealt with. Some examples of routine repairs: L General woodwork repairs. L Repairs to doors, windows and floors. L Repairs to external walls, fences or paths. L Repairs to walls, brickwork, slates and tiles. L Repairs and cleaning of gutters and downpipes. L Repairs to kitchen fittings. L Repairs to plasterwork. L Dripping or leaking taps or shower units. L Other minor plumbing works. L Repairs to tiling. L Easing of external doors and windows. L Other minor day to day repairs and replacements.

Repairs to communal areas Residents play an important role in telling us about any repairs that are needed in communal or shared areas such as repairs to: L Lighting. L Lifts. L Door entry systems and warden call systems. L Laundry equipment. L TV aerials. L Damage to fences and footpaths, etc. Our staff check for these repairs when they visit schemes, but if you know something needs doing, please don’t assume that someone else has already reported it. Please report any repairs that need doing to the repairs service centre. We would rather be told several times than not at all. 12 Repairs Handbook


Where maintenance can be planned in advance, we try to arrange for it to be done on a group of homes at the same time to keep costs down. This type of work is included in our Planned Programme and published annually in Your Voice magazine. Examples of this type of work include: L External painting. L Repairs to doors and windows in preparation for painting. L Boiler and central heating replacement. L Kitchen and bathroom replacement. L Annual gas servicing and safety checks. L Electrical testing and smoke alarm testing. L Servicing lifts. L Servicing fire alarms and fire fighting equipment. We may need to carry out a survey of your home before starting these works, but we will let you know beforehand, and ask that you let us have access to your home if we ask you. We will also write to you to let you know about any works that are planned for your home during the next year. Our contractors may also contact you before any work starts. We will consult you on the design and layout of planned works such as replacement kitchens and bathrooms, and central heating systems, and we will ask you to choose from a range of options available. We will explain exactly how we plan to carry out the work, and tell you when the work will start and finish. We will also consult you when the work is finished to make sure you are happy with everything.

Repairs Handbook 13

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Planned works


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Disabled adaptations As part of our planned maintenance programme, we are able to carry out disabled adaptations where these are needed. Adaptations are improvements to your home designed to make life easier if you have a disability or mobility problem. Adaptations fit into two categories: L Minor adaptations include the fitting of handrails, grabrails, lever taps, access ramps and door release systems. L Major adaptations include over bath showers, level access showers and stair-lifts. These are just some examples, but there are many more adaptations we can offer. Ask your neighbourhood team for an Adaptations leaflet, which explains how the adaptations process works.

Quality control and customer feedback We have a team of Quality Assurance Officers who make sure contractors carry out repairs correctly and to a high standard. Accent Foundation carries out approximately 60,000 repairs every year. Unfortunately we cannot check every single repair, but we carry out targeted quality checks, to ensure our contractors are meeting our required standards and deliver value for money.

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You can help us achieve the highest quality of service by returning your customer feedback forms for any work you have had done if we have not contacted you by phone.

When work is done in your home Moving furniture and flooring It is your responsibility to move or protect furniture (not owned by us) and lift flooring (not fitted by us) so that we can carry out repair work. We will tell you if you need to move furniture or lift flooring (carpets, lino, laminate, etc). You should arrange to get this done before our contractor arrives. However, if you are elderly, disabled, or have any special requirements that restrict your ability to lift or move large items, our contractor may agree to move furniture or lift flooring for you, although they will not be able to accept any liability for damage to your belongings should it happen as a result of them helping you. They may also ask you to sign a form to say that you agree to this. Check identity cards All our staff and contractors carry identity cards. You should always check identity cards carefully before letting anyone into your home. Contractors who work on behalf of Accent Foundation will be able to show you details of the work they have been asked to do. The work will be listed either on a works order, or on a hand-held electronic device.

Repairs Handbook 15

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

We send out customer feedback questionnaires for all repairs (emergency, urgent and routine). We also phone some residents to find out if they were happy with the service provided. We do this as a way of double checking that we are delivering the level of service residents want.


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

If you are in any doubt about a person’s identify, don’t let them in, ask them to stay outside, and call your neighbourhood team. If you are particularly worried about ‘bogus’ callers please contact your neighbourhood team, or our repairs service centre. When contractors are in your home Anyone working in your home on our behalf must meet our service standards (see page 25). It is best if you are at home when work is being carried out, so that our contractors can discuss any problems with you. If you cannot be at home, you should arrange for someone over the age of 18 to be there on your behalf. Our contractors will not carry our repair work in your home where there are children under 16 years old, unless a responsible adult is present. We ask you not to smoke when our contractors are in your home. To ensure the safety of your children and any pets you have, please keep them away from the area where any repair is being carried out. Our contractors can refuse to work in your home if they feel they are unable to carry out the repair safely. Sometimes it is not possible to carry out a full repair for safety reasons. For example, our contractors will not carry out roofing repairs in the rain. If this happens we will arrange another appointment with you to complete the repair work.

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As your landlord, we are responsible for most of the repairs in your home. However, there are some repairs that are your responsibility. These obligations are set out in your tenancy agreement. Our responsibilities Inside your home We are responsible for the internal structure of your home, including repairs to water, gas and drainage pipes, the heating system, electrical wiring, power and light fittings provided by us. This does not include bulbs, and florescent tubes. We are also responsible for any fixtures and fittings we have installed. Outside your home We are responsible for the external structure of your home, including windows, doors, gutters, drains, walls and the roof. We are responsible for the main path leading to your front and back door, for any fence or walls provided by us that border a public highway, and for any garages owned by us. Communal or shared areas We are responsible for maintaining any communal areas or facilities owned by us, including common entrances, stairways, lifts, passageways, refuse chutes and electric lighting. We are also responsible for any communal fire alarms, smoke alarms or fire fighting equipment. Your responsibilities You are responsible for keeping your home in good condition, insuring the contents of your home and dealing with any minor repairs. Please read the how to section‌ on page 55, which gives helpful tips for looking after your home. You are expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent damage to the property by fire, frost, burst pipes, or blocked drains and sinks.

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REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Who is responsible for repairs?


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

We rely on you to report any faults quickly, and to let our contractors into your home so the repair can be carried out within our response time. However, if you are vulnerable, or you have special needs and have no-one to help you we may be able to put you in touch with other organisations that may be able to help. Contact your neighbourhood team to ask what help might be available. Things you are responsible for… L Decorating the inside of your home to a reasonable standard and filling minor cracks or holes in walls. L Fitting curtain rails, pelmets, picture rails and coat hooks. L Getting in if you are locked out (you will need to pay for a locksmith to attend). L Replacing door and window locks, or keys when keys are lost or stolen, or when you get locked out. L Getting extra door or window keys cut and fitting additional locks, windows or cupboards. L Replacing window or door glass, unless you can provide a police crime reference number. L Replacing a door knocker or bell, door chain, handle or letterbox. L Repairing damaged internal doors and adjusting internal doors when you have carpets fitted. L Damaged stair treads, handrails or banisters. L Replacing plug fuses, light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and starters. L Resetting trip switches (see How to… on page 60). L Testing and cleaning smoke alarms, and replacing batteries in battery operated smoke alarms (see How to… on page 58). L Keeping all drains, sinks, baths and toilets in your home free of blockages (see How to… on pages 56 & 57). L Replacing toilet seats and plugs and chains to baths, basins and sinks. L Changing tap washers and de-scaling shower heads. L Connecting wastes and pipe-work for washing machines and dishwashers, and vents for tumble driers. L Replacing clothes lines and posts (except in communal areas). L Keeping gulleys clear of leaves and rubbish. 18 Repairs Handbook


Repairs you must pay for If damage is caused by you, by someone living in your home, by one of your visitors, or by forced entry by the police, you must either do the work yourself, or arrange and pay for it to be done. You may be able to claim for accidental damage through your home contents insurance (refer to page 20). If the damage is caused by a break in or vandalism, we will carry out any work needed to make your home safe, but we may charge you for this, as we can only do repair work when you give us a police crime reference number. For more information contact your neighbourhood team and ask for the Recharges leaflet. Vandalism or Grafitti We need your help to stop vandalism. If you see or witness vandalism, please let us know straightaway. Do not assume that someone else will report it. We treat vandalism and graffiti as anti-sociable behaviour and take this very seriously. We will seek to prosecute individuals who commit vandalism on our properties. Repairs Handbook 19

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

L Maintaining garden paths, (except the main one that leads to your front or back door), and any other garden feature. L Keeping your garden in good order and a general good state of maintenance. L Replacing TV aerials and sockets (unless we supply them). L Fitting, repairing and maintaining any fixture or appliance you own and repairing any alterations or improvements you make. L Keeping your house and garden free of rubbish. L Clearing up and replacing goods after a break-in or theft. L Taking action to reduce condensation (see How to‌ on page 62). L Arranging treatment for pest control problems, such as vermin and insects, (except in communal areas). L Bleeding your radiators (see How to‌ on Page 63).


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Home Contents Insurance We strongly recommend that you take out a home contents insurance policy. By insuring your personal belongings, you will be able to get them replaced or paid for if there is a fire or flood in your home, or if they are stolen. Although we insure our buildings, our policy does not cover wallpaper and decorations, or your personal contents such as furniture, carpets and electrical goods. If your possessions are damaged or stolen, we are not under any obligation to replace or pay for them, even if they were damaged because your home needed repair work, or because of water damage from a neighbouring property. It is your own policy that covers you for accidents or losses like these. Some recent cases A family suffered severe water damage in their home because of a burst pipe. Although the landlord repaired the burst pipe and the damage to the plastering, they had no responsibility for anything else. This meant that without their own home contents insurance, the family would not have been able to replace the items damaged by the water; their carpets, furniture and personal possessions, or even redecorate their home. A resident came home to find that the contents of the freezer had spoiled because the electricity supply had failed. Their landlord was not responsible for spoiled food, and would not have been even if the freezer had failed because of a fuse or circuit problem. The resident needed their own insurance cover to claim for it. How we can help We have arranged a policy with the National Housing Federation, an agency that supports housing providers like Accent and their residents. Fortnightly premiums start from ÂŁ2.84, (ÂŁ2.03 for over 60s), and more savings can be made by paying the premium monthly or yearly by direct debit. For more information, please visit www.accentgroup.org, or contact your neighbourhood team. 20 Repairs Handbook


You must get our written permission before making any changes to your home. We have to make sure that your home is not damaged or made unsafe. In some cases, you may require planning permission or building regulations approval from the local council. An alternation is anything which is an addition or change to the property, or its gas, electrical or water supply. Examples of the most common alterations are: L Installing a shower. L Moving/removing fitted units or doors. L Modifications to central heating. L Plumbing in washing machines or other appliances. L Building patios. L Enclosing porches. L Knocking down walls. L Double glazing. L Extensions. L Extra fencing. L Fitting a gas fire or building a feature fireplace. L Fitting different light switches. L Adding or moving electric points. For more information refer to your tenancy agreement or contact your neighbourhood team and ask for a copy of our Home Improvements leaflet.

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REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Improvements and alterations


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Safety advice Please help us to keep you and your family safe. Respond promptly to our letters about gas, electricity or other safety issues. Allow us access to your home to carry out maintenance and gas safety checks. Gas Safety Every year, people in the UK die or become chronically ill from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. You cannot see it, smell it, or taste it. However, a few simple safety precautions can protect you and your family. L Make sure air vents in your home do not get blocked (these ensure there is adequate ventilation where gas fires are installed). L Allow our gas contractor access to carry out an annual gas safety check in your home. L Allow our gas contractor access to carry out essential works to the gas installation and appliances. L Report any gas appliance faults to us straightaway. The law requires all landlords to carry out a gas safety inspection every 12 months. If your home has a gas supply, we will arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out the safety check. You must let us into your home to carry out the safety check. If you do not let us in, you could be putting the health and safety of you, your family and your neighbours at risk. We may take court action to gain access to your home, and we will charge you for the cost of this.

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For more details ask your neighbourhood team for a copy of our Gas Safety leaflet and Fitting Gas Cookers in Flats leaflet. Fire Safety L Keep matches and lighters away from children. L If you smoke, put cigarettes out carefully and never smoke in bed. L Do not use portable gas or oil heaters (this is a breach of your tenancy conditions). L Close all doors at night and keep fire doors shut. L Keep furniture and material away from electric fires. L Do not leave candles burning when you are not in the room. L Put a fire guard in front of any open fire. To give you extra time to escape in the event of a fire you can: L Fit smoke alarms on all floors in your home. L Test your smoke alarms and replace batteries regularly (see How to‌ on page 58). L Make sure you can get out of windows and doors easily – even in the dark. L Plan an escape route for you and your family.

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REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

A regular gas service and safety check helps to keep you safe. It also means your heating system will work more efficiently, (which should save you money), and be less likely to break down. When the safety check is carried out the engineer will give you a landlord gas safety certificate, and ask you to sign it.


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Electrical Safety There are around 2,000 electrical shock accidents and about 12,500 fires in UK homes every year which are caused by electrical faults. These dangers can be avoided. Make your home safer: L Do not overload sockets and do not wire more than one appliance into each plug. L Never touch switches or plugs with damp or wet hands. L Turn off and unplug all electrical appliances that are not in use. (This will also save money). L When using electrical appliances always follow manufacturers’ instructions. L Allow us into your home to carry out a full electrical safety inspection of all fixed wiring and sockets. This is usually every 10 years. L Make sure all the electrical appliances you own are checked regularly and repaired by a qualified engineer. Asbestos Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used from the 1950s through to the mid 1980s in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant. Its use has been phased out over the last 20 years and is almost non existent in today’s products. If we know that asbestos is in your home we will tell you. It is sometimes hard to identify whether materials contain asbestos, but if you suspect that there might be asbestos in your home, please do not panic. Leave it alone – it’s safe unless it is damaged or disturbed. But if you have any concerns, please contact us. If you are planning to carry out any alterations to your home, you should always contact us first for permission before starting work. If you think that asbestos is present, or you find it once you have started work in your home, you must contact us straight away. Do not continue with the work until we have checked it. For more information ask your neighbourhood team for a copy of our Asbestos leaflet. 24 Repairs Handbook


We aim to provide an excellent customer service. Our repairs service centre staff will: L Answer telephone calls within 25 seconds. L Be polite, honest and helpful. L Make an appointment for a contractor to call and do the work. L Make special arrangements for vulnerable residents. L Acknowledge your letters within three working days. Contractors Code of Conduct Our contractors will: L Call within the agreed time where an appointment has been made. L Always carry identification and show it to you when they call. L Be polite and respect your cultural beliefs and personal circumstances. L Let you know before starting work on the outside of your home. L Explain what work they are going to do and how it will affect you. L Use dust sheets to protect your belongings from damage, dust and paint. L Wear plastic covers over their shoes. L Keep materials and equipment safe, to avoid injury to anyone. L Tell you how work is progressing. L Take reasonable steps to keep your home and possessions secure. L Try not to damage your garden plants and let you know if this is unavoidable. L Make sure you have water, electricity, heating and cooking facilities before leaving at the end of the day. L Clear up promptly any mess left as a result of works carried out. L Leave a card if you were not in when they called and ask you to make another appointment.

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REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Service standards


REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Contractors will not: L Smoke in your home. L Play a radio or CD player in your home. L Use bad language or behave inappropriately. L Be in your home with children under 16 if a responsible adult is not present. L Use your toilet without your permission. L Receive gifts or payments from you. L Keep keys to your home. L Do private work for you. We expect our contractors to treat you and your home with respect, in return we ask that you treat our contractors and our staff in a similar way.

Feedback and monitoring We ask residents to let us know about the service they received either over the phone, or by returning the feedback form. Residents also help us to monitor our repairs contracts by attending monthly meetings with our contractor.

Complaints We aim to provide an excellent service to all residents. If you are not happy with any aspect of our service, please let us know. Our staff will try to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible, and sort out any problems you might have. We welcome your complaint as a way of letting us know what we are doing wrong. This helps us improve our service to you. For more information please ask for a copy of our Complaints leaflet. 26 Repairs Handbook


We accept complaints from all customers, and you can nominate someone to make a complaint on your behalf. Help and support If you need help to make a complaint, you may wish to get independent advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a local advice agency. You will find their contact details in your telephone book or on the Internet.

Moving out You must contact your neighbourhood team as soon as you decide to end your tenancy. They will give you the necessary forms to fill in and provide any help you may need with this. They will also tell you what you need to do about reading your meters, clearing your home and returning your keys. Before you move out we will inspect your property and tell you about any repairs you need to do before you move out. We will charge you for the cost of any repairs that you do not attend to before you leave. Ask your neighbourhood team for a copy of the Recharges leaflet for more information.

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REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

Complaints about our repairs service can be made in the following ways: L Telephone the repairs service centre. Ring your neighbourhood team and choose ‘1’ for repairs when you hear the prompt. L Fill in the complaint form attached to the complaints leaflet. L Write to the repairs service centre, or to your neighbourhood team. L Speak to any member of Accent staff. L Visit our website: www.accentgroup.org. L Email: complaints@accentgroup.org.


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This section looks at the different types of repairs which may be needed in your home. We have included some drawings for your guidance and a list of typical questions, to help you provide us with the information we need in order to get your repairs done quickly and right first time. Doors, windows and locks ........................................................... 30 Drains and waste pipes ................................................................ 32 Electricity and consumer unit ...................................................... 34 Floors and stairs ........................................................................... 36 Garages and gardens ................................................................... 38 Gutters and roofs ......................................................................... 40 Heating and hot water ................................................................ 42 Kitchen fittings ............................................................................ 44 Pipes and taps .............................................................................. 46 Sinks, baths and showers ............................................................. 49 Toilets ............................................................................................ 51 Walls and ceilings ......................................................................... 53

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TYPES OF REPAIR

2. Types of Repairs


Doors, windows and locks Before you contact us to report a repair, look at these drawings and read the questions. CYLINDER RIM LOCK

DOOR & FRAME

cylinder

closer

keep

snib

door pull

casing or architrave MORTICE DEAD LOCK

TYPES OF REPAIR

glass or panel

dead lock

frame

lever handle

keep sill or threshold

weatherboard

top fanlight

WINDOWS

MULTIPOINT LOCK

locking handle

stay sill

sliding sash 30 Repairs Handbook

casement

pivot


What is the problem?

If there is a problem with a window: L Is the faulty window upstairs or downstairs and in which room? L What type of window is it: casement, sliding sash, or pivot (tilt-and-turn)? L If the window frame is loose or jammed, is the frame made of wood, plastic (uPVC), or metal? L If the glass is cracked or broken, is the glass plain, obscured or wired? L Is the window latch broken? See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Replacing door and window locks, or keys when they are lost or stolen, or when you get locked out. L Getting extra door or window keys cut, and fitting extra locks to doors, windows or cupboards. L Replacing window or door glass, unless you can give us a police crime reference number. L Fitting a door knocker or bell, door chain, handle or letterbox. L Repairing damaged internal doors, and adjusting internal doors when you fit carpets or laminate flooring. L Keeping trickle vents in modern double-glazed windows open, and cleaning them regularly.

Repairs Handbook 31

TYPES OF REPAIR

If there is a problem with a door: L Which door is it: front, back, side or patio? L Is it made of wood, plastic (uPVC), or metal? L Is it sticking, not closing properly, or damaged? L Is the handle broken? L If the lock is stiff or not closing properly, what type is it: cylinder rim (Yale or Union), mortice, or multipoint?


Drains and waste pipes By giving us as much information as possible about the repair, you will help us to get it done quickly.

vent pipe S TRAP soil pipe toilet waste pipe

TYPES OF REPAIR

bath & basin waste pipe

P TRAP

hopperhead

downpipe

BOTTLE TRAP

sink waste pipe

open gully grid

inspection chamber cover back inlet gully grid 32 Repairs Handbook


A blocked waste pipe is not an emergency, and we only treat a blocked toilet as an emergency if there is no other toilet in your home for you to use. You must try to clear any blockages yourself (see How to‌ on page 57). If something like a nappy, condom, tampon, cotton bud, toy, toilet freshener or a build-up of fat has blocked the pipework and we have to clear it, you will be recharged for this. We recommend that you keep your waste pipes and drains clear by flushing and cleaning them regularly. Remove any leaves, hair, food build-up etc, and then use hot soapy water to flush through the pipework. Your responsibilities L Keeping all drains, sinks, baths and toilets clear (see How to‌ on pages 56 and 57) L Clearing blockages and repairing leaks from your washing machine or dishwasher. L Keeping gully grids clear of leaves and rubbish. Also see: Gutters and Roofs on page 40 for information on problems affecting the guttering, roof or chimney.

Repairs Handbook 33

TYPES OF REPAIR

What is the problem? L If a waste pipe is blocked or leaking, is it the waste pipe for the bath, basin, sink, shower or toilet? L If a drain is blocked, is it also overflowing? Where is the drain? L If you live in a block of flats, are any other flats affected? L Is a gully blocked? Is a grid missing? L Is the gully grid round or square? Is it made of metal or plastic?


Electricity and consumer unit (fuse board) Safety First – see Safety Advice on page 22. If water is leaking on to electrical fittings do not use or touch them – phone the repairs service centre immediately. Never touch switches or plugs with damp or wet hands. Never tamper with the electricity company’s fuse, meter or seals. Before you contact us to report a repair, look at these drawings and read the questions. CONSUMER UNIT

TYPES OF REPAIR

single switch

double switch

single socket

double socket

immersion heater switch

cooker switch

test button

mains switch

34 Repairs Handbook

trip switches


What is the problem: L Is there any light or power at all in any part of your home? L Are other homes nearby also affected? L Is there light or power in some parts of your home? L Have you checked the trip switches, and reset them if needed? L If a wall socket is loose or broken, is it a double or single socket?

We will arrange for a NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) registered engineer to carry out a full electrical safety inspection at least every ten years, to inspect all fixed wiring and sockets in your home. Make sure you know where the mains switch on the consumer unit or fuse board is in your home. If your electricity goes off, check that you have credit on the meter or that you have paid your electricity bill. If you call us out when you have no credit on the meter, or when you have been cut off by your electricity supplier because you have not paid your bill, we will charge you for the cost of the call out. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Replacing plug fuses, light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and starters. L Resetting trip switches (see How to‌ on page 60). L Testing and cleaning your smoke alarms, and replacing batteries in battery-operated smoke alarms (see How to‌ on page 58). L Allowing us into your home to carry out safety inspections. If you do not let us in, you could be putting your health and safety at risk, and we may take court action to gain access to your home.

Repairs Handbook 35

TYPES OF REPAIR

Repairs Service Advice Maintenance and repairs to your meter box are the responsibility of your electricity supplier.


Floors and stairs By giving us as much information as possible about the repair, you will help us to get it done quickly.

STAIR PROFILE stair tread

backboard nosing bracket moulding

riser

TYPES OF REPAIR

handrail or balustrade

handrail or balustrade banister panels

skirting

baluster or spindle stair post or newel post banister rails

36 Repairs Handbook


What is the problem?

If there is a problem with the stairs: L If the handrail is loose or damaged, is the handrail part of the banister or attached to the wall? L Is a stair tread or riser loose or damaged? L If the stair nosing is damaged, is the nosing made of metal or plastic? L Are the damaged stairs in a communal area? We will tell you if you need to lift your flooring (carpets, lino, laminate, etc.), so that we can carry out repairs work. When we replace floor tiles we try to find a colour match. If we cannot find an exact match, we will provide tiles that are a similar colour. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Lifting flooring not fitted by us so that we can carry out repairs work. (You should arrange to get this done before our contractor arrives). L Repairing or replacing any flooring you have put in (carpets, lino, laminate etc), and removing any gripper rods and tacks you have put down. L If you lay carpet using carpet tacks, only use very small tacks to avoid damaging pipes under the floor. Repairs Handbook 37

TYPES OF REPAIR

If there is a problem with your flooring: L Is the floor made of floorboards, chipboard or concrete? L Are any floorboards loose or damaged? L What is covering the floor: lino, carpet, laminate, plastic or quarry tiles? L Is the flooring damaged, frayed, lifting or cracked? How big an area is a problem? L Is the damaged flooring in a communal area? L Is the skirting board loose or damaged?


Garages and gardens Before you contact us to report a repair, look at these drawings and read the questions. UP-AND-OVER GARAGE DOOR

TYPES OF FENCE torsion spring wheel

pivot arm

track post and wire

TYPES OF REPAIR

frame

ranch style or post and rail

palisade

post

gravel board close board

locking mechanism

larch lap or waney overlap

GATE LATCHES

sneck

38 Repairs Handbook

automatic


What is the problem?

In your garden or yard: L If the fence is loose or broken, how much of it is damaged? Is it made of wood or wire? Where is the damaged fence? L If a fence or gate post is loose or broken, is the post wooden, metal or concrete? L Is the gate sticking or is the catch broken? L Is the path uneven? Is it made of paving slabs, concrete or tarmac? L If paving slabs are broken or loose, how many are damaged? Are they square, rectangular, or another shape? L If there is a problem with outside steps, how many are affected? Are they made of brick, concrete or metal? If damage is caused by a break-in or vandalism, you should report it to the police and get a crime reference number. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities: L Replacing lost keys or broken locks for garages and sheds. L If it is not possible to lock your garage or shed, you are responsible for the security of all items stored inside. L Repairing and replacing wooden sheds or outbuildings. L Maintaining garden paths, (except the main one that leads to your front or back door), and any other garden features (patios, ponds, ornamental walls, etc). L Replacing clothes lines and posts (except in communal areas). Repairs Handbook 39

TYPES OF REPAIR

If there is a problem with your garage: L Is the garage door jammed? Is the frame damaged? L Does the door go up-and-over or is it hung from the side? Is the door made of metal or wood? L If the roof is damaged or leaking, is the roof pitched or flat? L You may need to tell us where the garage is and how to find it.


Gutters and roofs By giving us as much information as possible about the repair, you will help us to get it done quickly. TILES

GUTTERING stop end

plain

profile or interlocking

ridge tiles

union outlet

TYPES OF REPAIR

union gutter

union clip

gutter angle

hopperhead

swan neck downpipe bracket PITCHED ROOF branch

downpipe tiles or slates

ridge tiles

shoe

gutter bargeboard fascia

40 Repairs Handbook


What is the problem?

If there is a problem with the roof: L Is the roof flat or pitched? Is the roof leaking? (If water is leaking into your home, place a bucket under the leak). L Are any roof tiles or slates loose or broken? Are the tiles plain or profiled? L Has any part of the chimney come loose or fallen down? L Is the chimney shared with the property next door? For most types of gutter and roof repairs, we will need to put up scaffolding. When using scaffolding, sometimes it is not possible to carry out a full repair for safety reasons, for example when the weather is very bad. If you want to put up a satellite dish, you must get our written permission first. We will tell you if you need to remove a TV aerial or satellite dish you have put up, so that we can carry out repair work. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities: L Keeping gully grids clear of leaves and rubbish. L Maintaining and replacing TV aerials or a satellite dish you have put up.

Repairs Handbook 41

TYPES OF REPAIR

If there is a problem with the guttering: L Is part of the gutter or downpipe loose or broken? Is it leaking or blocked? L Is the damaged gutter or downpipe at the front, back or side of your home? L Is the damaged gutter or downpipe made of plastic (uPVC), metal or concrete? What colour is it? L How many storeys or floors high is the building where you live?


Heating and hot water Safety First – see Safety Advice on page 22. If you smell Gas call National Grid free on 0800 111 999. Before you contact us to report a repair, look at these drawings and read the questions.

THERMOSTATIC VALVE

WALL MOUNTED CENTRAL HEATING BOILER

RADIATOR

TYPES OF REPAIR

bleed screw or air release valve

ROOM THERMOSTAT

pilot light inspection window

timer ELECTRIC STORAGE HEATERS

GAS FIRES

input and output controls

42 Repairs Handbook


What is the problem? L Is the central heating not working? Or is there no hot water? L If you live in a block of flats, are any other flats affected? L Is your heating system gas or electric? Do you have central heating, storage heaters, or another type of heating system? L Is a water pipe or radiator leaking? L If a radiator is warm at the bottom and cold at the top, it may need bleeding (see How to‌ on page 63).

If your home has a gas supply, we will arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out a gas safety inspection every 12 months. If you have prepayment meters, please make sure that there is credit on both your gas and electric meters when the engineer calls to carry out the safety check, otherwise it cannot be done. We treat entire loss of heating or hot water as an emergency in cold weather. If you are an elderly or vulnerable resident or have children under five, we treat it as an emergency at any time. Make sure you know where the mains gas tap is in your home, and check regularly that you can turn it off. If your heating or hot water goes off, check you have credit on the meter or you have paid your gas and electricity bills before contacting the repairs service centre to report a problem with your heating system. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Servicing and repairing your own electrical appliances. Only use a qualified electrician. L Servicing and repairing your own gas appliances. Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer. L Testing and cleaning your smoke alarms, and replacing batteries in battery-operated smoke alarms (see How to‌ on page 58). Repairs Handbook 43

TYPES OF REPAIR

Maintenance and repairs to your electricity and gas meter boxes are the responsibility of your electricity and gas suppliers.


L You must allow us into your home to carry out safety inspections. If you do not, you could be putting your health and safety at risk, and we may take court action to gain access to your home. L Take action to reduce condensation in your home (see How to‌ on page 62), and protect against burst pipes (see How to‌ on page 65).

Kitchen fittings By giving us as much information as possible about the repair, you will help us to get it done quickly. handle

drainer

TYPES OF REPAIR

seal

sink top taps

worktop

plinth pull strip

door hinge drawer front

base unit

P TRAP WITH WASHING MACHINE CONNECTION

44 Repairs Handbook

edging strip

support leg

shelf drawer runner

wall tiles

end panel


If you want to install a washing machine, dishwasher or tumble drier, and there is no water supply, wastepipe or vent connections fitted, you must get our written permission to get these fitted first. When we replace a kitchen unit, part of a unit (such as a drawer or door), or section of worktop, we will try to find a colour match with the other kitchen fittings. If we cannot find the exact colour, we will provide replacement parts that are similar in colour. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Keeping all sinks and drains clear (see How to‌ on page 56). L Connecting wastes and pipework for a washing machine or dishwasher, and a vent for a tumble drier. L Clearing any blockages in appliances you own, such as a washing machine or dishwasher. L Replacing knobs or handles on kitchen cupboards. L Repairing any cupboards you have added. Also see: Pipes and Taps on page 46 for advice on water leaks and tap problems. Sinks, Baths and Showers on page 49 for information about blockages.

Repairs Handbook 45

TYPES OF REPAIR

What is the problem? L Is a cupboard loose or damaged? L What type of cupboard is it: a wall or base unit? Is it a single, double or corner unit? L If part of a unit is damaged, is it a door or drawer? L Is a cupboard hinge or catch broken? L Is a worktop loose or damaged? L Has the sealant strip come away from the tiles? L Are any splashback wall tiles cracked or broken? How many tiles are damaged? What shape, size and colour are the tiles?


Pipes and taps Safety First If water is leaking on to electrical fittings do not use or touch them – phone our repairs service centre number immediately. Before you contact us to report a repair, look at these drawings and read the questions. cold water storage tank

WATER SYSTEM

overflows

TYPES OF REPAIR rising main

hot water cylinder 46 Repairs Handbook

boiler

cold water hot water


stop tap

gate valve

service valve

modern with handwheel top TAPS

high neck with crosshead

mixer with handwheel top

What is the problem? L Is a pipe leaking or has it burst? Is a tap dripping or is the fitting loose? L If you live in a block of flats and water is leaking into your home, is it coming from the flat above? L If there is no water, do your neighbours have water? Also see: Sinks, Baths and Showers on page 49 for information about blockages.

Repairs Handbook 47

TYPES OF REPAIR

standard with crosshead tip

lever


Make sure you know where the water mains stop tap in your home is, and check regularly that you can turn it. If you are going to be away from home for more than a few days, it is a good idea to turn the mains water supply off to avoid any risk of water damage during the time you are not there. If the water supply has been turned off temporarily, (for example, so the water board can carry out maintenance work), make sure all your taps are turned off to avoid flooding when the supply is turned back on.

TYPES OF REPAIR

If flooding is caused because you have left a tap on, you may be charged for any damage to your property, and the property below you, if you live in a flat. You may be able to claim for damage caused by flooding on your Home Contents Insurance. See page 20. Do not plant trees or shrubs which are likely to grow quite big, as their roots could damage pipes in the ground. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Take action to protect against burst pipes (see How to‌ on page 65). L If a water pipe has burst, you must turn off the water at the main stop tap to reduce damage. L Connecting wastes and pipework for washing machines and dishwashers you put in. L If a tap is starting to leak, you may need to have the washer replaced.

48 Repairs Handbook


Sinks, baths and showers By giving us as much information as possible about the repair, you will help us to get it done quickly. ELECTRIC SHOWER

SINK OR BASIN wall tiles

bracket overflow

seal

shower unit hose

shower head

basin

trap

plug hole

pedestal

wall tiles BATH

taps

tray

overflow

plug hole

seal

wall tiles

side panel seal

frame end panel adjustable feet

Repairs Handbook 49

TYPES OF REPAIR

plug hole


TYPES OF REPAIR

What is the problem? L Is water leaking? Where is the water leaking from? L Is a wastepipe blocked? Have you tried to clear the blockage? L Are any bathroom fittings loose, chipped or broken? L What is the bathroom suite made of (e.g. plastic or porcelain)? L Has the sealant strip come away from the tiles? L Are any splashback wall tiles cracked or broken? How many tiles are damaged? What shape, size and colour are they? L If the shower unit is not working, is it turned on at the mains? (It usually has a separate switch or pull cord.) L If the bath panel is loose or broken, is it the side or the end panel? Is it made of plastic or hardboard? A blocked wastepipe is not an emergency. You must keep wastepipes clear, and to try to clear any blockages yourself. When we replace a toilet, sink, bath or shower that is part of a bathroom suite, we try to find a colour match. If we cannot find the item in the right colour, we will provide a white replacement. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Keeping drains, sinks, baths and toilets clear (see How to‌ on page 56 & 57). L Replacing toilet seats, plugs and chains for baths, basins and sinks. L De-scaling shower heads. L Connecting wastes and pipework for washing machines and dishwashers, and vents for tumble driers. L Repairing any items you have fitted yourself, (for example a shower, extra tiles, extra cupboards etc). Also see: Pipes and Taps on pages 46 & 47 for advice on water leaks and tap problems.

50 Repairs Handbook


Toilets Before you contact us to report a repair, look at these drawings and read the questions.

cistern lid

siphon unit

TOILET CISTERN

ball valve flush handle

overflow pipe float

flush pipe

siphon TOILET WITH HIGH LEVEL CISTERN AND P TRAP

TOILET WITH LOW LEVEL CISTERN AND S TRAP

overflow

supply pipe

cistern flush chain

toilet seat and lid flush pipe

pan

soil pipe

Repairs Handbook 51

TYPES OF REPAIR

service valve


What is the problem? L Is water leaking? Where is the water leaking from? L Is the toilet blocked? Have you tried to clear the blockage? L If you live in a block of flats and your toilet is blocked, are any other flats affected? L Is the toilet pan cracked or leaking? Is the toilet seat broken? L If the flush is broken, is it a handle, push-down knob, or pull chain? L What type of cistern is it: high-level or low-level or close coupled? L What colour is the toilet? If it is part of a bathroom suite, what colour is the suite? We only treat a blocked toilet as an emergency if there is no other toilet in your home for you to use. You must keep wastepipes clear, and try to clear any blockages.

TYPES OF REPAIR

If the bath and basin are also affected, not just the toilet, then the soil pipe or main drain may be blocked. You will need to contact us. If the toilet cistern is not filling up, the ball valve could be stuck. Try lifting the float by hand. If the cistern is still not filling up, you can flush the toilet using a bucket of water as a temporary fix until the toilet is repaired. If something like a nappy, condom, tampon, cotton bud, toy, or toilet freshener has got stuck in the pipework and we have to clear it, you will have to pay the cost of the repair. When we replace a toilet that is part of a bathroom suite, we try to find a colour match. If we cannot find one in the right colour, we will provide a white replacement. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Trying to clear a blocked toilet (see How to‌ on page 57). L Repairing and replacing toilet seats. Also see: Pipes and Taps on pages 46 & 47 for advice on water leaks and tap problems. 52 Repairs Handbook


Walls and ceilings By giving us as much information as possible about the repair, you will help us to get it done quickly.

hanging tiles or slates

brick wall

pebbledash render

mould or damp patch

cracked or crumbling plaster

TYPES OF REPAIR

cladding boards

Repairs Handbook 53


What is the problem? If the problem is inside: L Is the ceiling bulging? (To stop the ceiling collapsing, put a bucket under the bulge and make a small hole in the bulge, using a small sharp knife or thin screwdriver, to let the water drain out.) L If there is a water leak, where is the water coming from? L Is the wall or ceiling plaster loose or crumbling? L If there are tiles on internal walls that are cracked or broken, how many tiles are damaged? What shape, size and colour are the tiles? L If there is black mould or damp patches on the walls, is it near the floor or near the ceiling?

TYPES OF REPAIR

If the problem is outside: L Is there a crack in the brickwork or render? Is the render pebbledash or smooth? How big an area is affected? L Are any hanging tiles or slates loose or broken? L If there is black mould or damp patches on the walls, where is it? You should not grow climbing plants, build raised flower beds, or stack items against your house walls, as they can damage the brickwork, guttering, or cause damp problems. If we have to carry out a repair or deal with a damp problem caused by you, we will charge you for it. If you want to put up a satellite dish on your house or communal building, you must get our written permission first. See Repairs you must pay for on page 19. Your responsibilities L Decorating the inside of your home to a reasonable standard, and filling minor cracks or holes in the walls or ceiling. L Fitting curtain rails, pelmets, picture rails and coat hooks. L Taking action to reduce condensation (see How to‌ on page 62).

54 Repairs Handbook


3. How to‌ This section tells you how to carry out simple repairs and maintenance tasks in your home that are your responsibility. These are listed on pages 18 and 19. Unblock a bath, basin or sink ...................................................... 56 Unblock a toilet ............................................................................ 57 Take care of your smoke alarm ................................................... 58 Reset a trip switch ........................................................................ 60 Reduce condensation .................................................................. 62 Bleed a radiator ........................................................................... 63 Protect against burst pipes .......................................................... 65

HOW TO‌

If you are unable to do any of these repairs yourself, for any reason, please contact the repairs service centre for advice.

Repairs Handbook 55


PLUNGER

P TRAP

unscrew here to clean

BOTTLE TRAP

S TRAP

unscrew here to clean

How to… unblock a bath, basin, or sink Blockages are usually caused by a build-up of hair, cooking fat or food. It is a good idea to clean plug holes and traps at least once a month, but do not use caustic soda because it destroys modern plastic fittings. You will need: L Damp rags. L A plunger (but not a plunger with a metal disk). L A bucket or bowl. L Rubber gloves.

HOW TO…

To unblock a bath, basin or sink: L Remove anything that is in the plug hole (food, hair, paper, etc.). L Put a damp rag over the overflow and hold it there tightly. L Make sure there is enough water in the bath, basin or sink to cover the top of the plunger. L Place the plunger over the plug hole and pump up and down very quickly for a minute or two. (You may need to do this again before the blockage clears). L If the blockage doesn’t clear, you will need to clean the trap.

56 Repairs Handbook


To clean the trap… 1. Before you undo it, place a bucket under the trap to catch any water. Then unscrew the joints and remove the trap. 2. Clean it thoroughly and replace the trap. 3. Check that all the joints are screwed up tightly. 4. If the trap is clear, it may be the waste pipe or drain that is blocked. You will need to contact us to report the blockage.

How to… unblock a toilet Things like nappies, condoms, tampons and cotton buds can get stuck in the pipework and cause a blockage. If this happens you will have to unblock it. You will need… L a jug or cup. L a plunger or toilet brush (but not a plunger with a metal disk, because the metal can damage the toilet bowl). L rubber gloves.

Make sure you wash your hands and all equipment thoroughly after you have finished. If we have to clear the blockage you will have to pay for the cost of the repair

Repairs Handbook 57

HOW TO…

To unblock the toilet… 1. If the toilet is very full, use a jug or cup to remove some of the water first. 2. Push the plunger or toilet brush to the bottom of the pan. 3. Pump it up and down rapidly about 10 times. 4. Flush the toilet to see if the blockage has cleared. 5. If the toilet is still blocked after using the plunger again, you should contact us to report the blockage.


vents

test button

hush button

terminals

9 volt battery

How to… take care of your smoke alarm Never try to remove a mains operated smoke alarm If your smoke alarm sounds, take your family to where it is easy to escape, in case there is a fire. If you can smell or see smoke or flames: L Get everybody out of the house and call the Fire Service on 999. L DON’T try to tackle the fire yourself – smoke and fumes can kill in minutes. L DON’T go back into the house for any reason, until safe to do so. If your smoke alarm sounds when there is no smoke or fire, something else may have caused it to go off. For example: L Someone is smoking, has sprayed an aerosol can, or is using paint nearby. L A portable heater is too close to it. L There is a build up of steam or cooking fumes. L The battery needs to be replaced.

HOW TO…

To reset the alarm: L If it has one, press the HUSH button. The alarm should stop, but the detector may beep every few seconds for a short time. L If there is no HUSH button, turn off your electricity supply at the consumer unit. Leave it off for about five minutes to allow the alarm to reset. Then turn the electricity back on. L Remember it is your responsibility to replace the battery. 58 Repairs Handbook


If you live in sheltered housing, please follow the safety advice for your scheme. Cleaning your smoke alarm (it is recommended that they are cleaned every three months): L Keep the cover closed while cleaning. L Use a soft hand brush or the brush head on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the sides and cover slots where smoke enters. L Wipe the cover with a soft damp cloth and then dry it thoroughly. Battery-operated smoke alarms only:

To test the alarm: L It is recommended that you test your smoke alarm once a week to make sure it is working properly. L Press and hold the test button until the alarm sounds. L Do not try testing the alarm using smoke or flame, for example from a cigarette lighter. L If the alarm does not sound, try cleaning it and test again. L If the alarm still does not sound, you may need to change the battery. L If the alarm is still not working, you will need to replace the entire unit. Contact the local fire service for advice on fire safety and help with smoke alarms. Repairs Handbook 59

HOW TO‌

To change the battery: L Open the smoke alarm by gently removing the cover. L Carefully unclip the battery from the clips that hold it in place. L Make sure the new battery is the type recommended for your alarm. (This information should be in the instruction manual or printed on the battery inside of the alarm cover). L Clip the new battery firmly into place. Match the + and – signs on the battery with the + and – signs shown in the alarm. L When you have replaced the battery, close the cover and press the test button to check that is works properly.


How to… reset a trip switch Many homes now have modern fuse boxes called ‘consumer units’. These are fitted with a circuit breaker fuse system. If there is a fault, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken. The circuit breakers switch off to prevent injury and damage. The fuses and trip switches are in the consumer unit which will be near your electricity meter, except when your meter is outside. This guidance applies to modern consumer units. If your home has an older ‘fuse board’ with rewireable fuses, you should not try to repair or replace fuses yourself. Contact the repairs service centre for help. You should make sure you know where the consumer unit is in your home, and where the trip switches are, in case there is an emergency. If your electricity goes off, keep your freezer door closed to stop food defrosting. test button trip switches main switches

CONSUMER UNIT

HOW TO…

Trip switches usually operate because: L Too many appliances are being used at the same time; L An appliance is faulty or is not being used properly; L A kettle has been over-filled; L A toaster hasn’t been cleaned; L A light bulb has blown; or L An immersion heater is faulty. If an appliance is faulty leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it. If a wall or ceiling light is faulty keep it switched off and put some tape over the switch so you cannot use it. Contact the repairs call centre. 60 Repairs Handbook


Never touch the electricity company’s fuse, meter or seals. To reset a trip switch you will need: L A torch. L A screwdriver. What to do: L Open the cover on the consumer unit so you can see the trip switches. Some consumer units have buttons not switches. L Check which switch has tripped to the ‘off’ position. L Put the switch back to the ‘on’ position by pushing it upwards If the trip switch goes again you probably have a faulty appliance. You need to find out which circuit is affected and which appliance on that circuit is causing the problem. What to do: L Check all the rooms in the house and note which set of lights or sockets is not working. L Unplug all appliances on that circuit. L Switch off the immersion heater if you have one. L Switch the ‘tripped’ switch to the ‘on’ position. L Switch on the lights one at a time. If the trip switch goes again then the bulb or light fitting may be faulty. L Plug in appliances one at a time. Do not use double adaptors when testing appliances. L Only test one appliance per socket, until the trip goes. L If the trip switch goes again there must be a fault with the appliance.

Whose responsibility is it? If a wall or ceiling light is faulty this is our responsibility. Keep it switched off and report the problem to us. If one of your own electrical appliances is faulty, this is your responsibility. Keep the appliance switched off and arrange for it to be checked by a qualified electrician. Repairs Handbook 61

HOW TO…

If the trip switch keeps moving back to the ‘off’ position you will need to report the problem to the repairs call centre.


How to‌ reduce condensation Any home can have condensation, but you can help prevent it becoming a problem by making less moisture. L Always dry clothes outside if you can. L If you dry clothes inside, open the window and close the door. L If you use a tumble drier, make sure it is vented properly to the outside of the house. L Put lids on pots and pans when cooking and open a window. L Do not use bottled gas heaters because they release a lot of water in the air when they are burning. The use of bottled gas heaters is a breach of your tenancy agreement. Ventilate well L Open windows when cooking, washing up, using the bath or shower or drying clothes, to let steam escape. Use the extractor fan if you have one. L Allow space for air to circulate around your furniture. L If you can, open windows for a while first thing in the morning to allow a change of air. L Do not block air vents. L If you have modern double glazed windows, keep trickle vents open.

HOW TO‌

Keep your home warm. L If you have central heating, put it on a low setting in all rooms, including rooms you do not use regularly. Very low heat is enough to reduce condensation. If you do not have central heating, try to allow some heat to circulate into colder rooms. L In very cold weather keep the heating on low, rather than turning the heating on and off for short periods of time. Keeping the heating on a low setting does not necessarily cost more.

62 Repairs Handbook


If you see condensation, wipe it away to avoid mould growth. If you see mould, wipe it away. Use a cloth and an anti-mold product This can be found at your local DIY store. Always follow the instructions carefully and wear rubber gloves. To prevent new mould growth ventilate all your rooms regularly.

How to… bleed a radiator When to do it If the top part of a radiator is cold and the rest is hot, this is because air is trapped in the system. Bleeding the radiator releases the air and allows hot water to fill the whole system. But in some circumstances you should not bleed the radiator. Do not bleed… If you live in a flat, and your radiators are fed by a communal boiler, or you have a combination boiler system: this type of boiler will have either a pressure gauge or a low pressure light on the front or underside of the boiler and you will probably not have a hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard, so do not try to bleed the radiators. Contact the repairs service centre if there is a fault with your radiator.

Bleeding a radiator Only bleed a radiator if you feel competent and confident to do so. If you are not sure contact the repairs service centre.

Repairs Handbook 63

HOW TO…

If you have a safety cover on your radiator, do not try to remove it. Contact the repairs service centre if there is a fault with your radiator.


Look for a brass bleed screw at the top of the radiator at one end. If this has not worked you must call the repairs service centre as there may be sludge build up on the radiators.

You will need: L A radiator bleed key. L An old kitchen towel or cleaning cloth.

radiator bleed key

bleed screw

HOW TO‌

To bleed a radiator L Turn off the central heating system before bleeding the radiator. (If the central heating is on when you bleed a radiator, it can let more air into the system). L Make sure both valves at the bottom of the radiator are open. L Hold a cloth under the bleed screw to catch any water that comes out. Please note: the water may be hot or dirty. L Using a radiator bleed key put the key onto the bleed screw at the top of the radiator. Slowly turn the key anti-clockwise about half a turn. You should hear hissing as air comes out. L As soon as water comes out of the bleed screw, tighten the screw again. L You do not need to bleed all radiators in a system. Only bleed a radiator if it is hot at the bottom and cold at the top.

64 Repairs Handbook


How to… protect against burst pipes Make sure you know where the water mains stop tap is and check regularly that you can turn it.

GATE VALVE

PIPE LAGGING

If cold weather is forecast you can reduce the risk of burst pipes by: L Turning taps off fully. L keeping your heating on a low setting, rather then turning the heating on and off for short periods of time. L Making sure thermostatic radiator valves are on the ‘frost’ setting in rooms you don’t use and not turned off. L Allowing some heat to circulate into colder rooms if you do not have central heating. L Turning off your mains water supply if you are going to be away from home for more than a few days.

Repairs Handbook 65

HOW TO…

STOP TAP


If a water pipe freezes: L Turn off the water at the main stop tap. L Let pipes thaw out naturally – do not try to thaw them by using a hair drier or blow lamp.

If a water pipe bursts: L Turn off the water at the main stop tap. L Put a bowl or towels under the leak to soak up the water. L Switch off your central heating or immersion heater. L Turn on all taps to drain water from the system – this may take about 15 minutes. L When the water stops running, turn all the taps off. L If water is leaking onto electrical fittings do not use or touch them – phone the repairs service centre.


Helping us to improve Every time we carry out a repair or safety check in your home we will ask you to complete a customer feedback form. Please complete the form and return it to us. We use your feedback to help us to improve the service we provide.


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Accent Foundation Repairs Handbook  

The repairs handbook for residents of Accent Foundation.

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