Connswater Homes Repair Manual

Repair Manual

If you require this booklet in an alternative format please contact us on 028 9065 6155


Equipment Locations In this booklet, some important items of equipment are mentioned. It may help you to know the location of these, and you should note any of them you may have below as a reminder.


Item Position

Water stop tap

Gas meter lever

Fuse box & trip switch

Heater boiler control

Hot water cylinder

Cold water storage

Intercom speech unit

Remote door entry receiver


This booklet looks at different types of repairs and lists things that are important when reporting them. It does not provide a comprehensive checklist of information but it suggests some of the things that may be important to the person receiving the repair request. This information will help provide a speedy and efficient response. For each type of repair, some technical information is given. There are also a number of drawings, which might be helpful for you to refer to. The information in the shaded boxes is important and it would assist greatly if you could provide it when reporting your repairs. It is impossible to give a complete checklist to all the areas covered and those raised in this booklet are intended as a guide. Please don’t be afraid to give any other information you think will be helpful.

How to Report A Repair Tenant Responsibility

2 3 4 4 5 6 6 7 8 9


Response Times

Job Priority Classification Improvements By The Tenant

Right to Repair Heating Systems Electrical Fittings


Water Services

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 25 28 29 30 31



Gutters and Rainwater Pipes




Sinks and Wash Basins

Toilets Drains Baths

Power Failure Fault Finding

Walls and Ceilings Water Heaters Building Defects Secured by Design

Gas and Carbon Monoxide Servicing and Safety Contractor Code of Conduct


Recoverable Charges

Winter Weather Preparation

Fire Safety Advice


How To Report Your Repairs You can report any repairs required to your home by either visiting, writing to, or telephoning the office. Our address is: Connswater Homes Ltd Unit 5 Citylink Business Park Albert Street Belfast BT12 4HQ If you wish to report a repair by telephone during office hours: Monday to Friday 9.00am - 4.30pm Telephone the office on 028 90656155 email: If you are reporting a repair by email please remember to give your name and address and a contact telephone number EMERGENCY SERVICE In the case of an emergency arising outside of office hours, please contact our emergency out of hours telephone number: 0800 731 3081 A complete list of repairs classified as urgent, routine or emergency is listed in the job prioritised section on page 4 of this manual. Whenever you report a repair please be ready to give the following: 1. Your name 2. Your address 3. A day time telephone number where you may be reached if necessary. 4. A time when somebody is usually at home to enable the repair to be carried out or an inspection to be made.

5. As much information about the repair as possible.


Tenant Responsibility The Association is responsible for keeping its dwellings in a good state of structural repair and maintaining the internal services and fittings. However, if there has been accidental or deliberate breakage, you will then be held responsible and be automatically recharged the cost of the work. The following is a list of jobs for which tenants are responsible: • All glazing internal and external to existing or improved specification • Access to dwelling and replacement of locks due to loss or lock out • Internal decoration including floor and wall tiles • Replacement electric plugs on appliances, fluorescent tubes and starters and replacement of light bulbs except external Secured by Design lighting • Repairs to electrical appliances, fires, heaters and light fittings not installed by the Association or not accepted by it for maintenance • Minor plaster repairs to walls and ceilings • Bleeding of radiators and replacement of radiator keys • Clearing of all blockages which occur in waste pipes from baths, sinks and basins as well as maintaining of gully traps (if you phone to report any of these as a repair you will be asked if you have completed these actions first and if a contractor reports that this has not happened then you will be charged for the call out) • Stoppers, chains and washers for baths, sinks and basins • Leaks in pipes etc caused by tenant neglect • Replacement of shower curtains and bath panels • Additional draught excluders • Internal doors, internal and external door hinges, locks and handles • Sweeping chimneys and any cost of works required because of failure to sweep chimneys • Removal of fireplaces • Replacement of wheelie bins • Ensuring sufficient oil and gas for the operation of the heating system and replacement of lamps and bulbs • Care and upkeep of gardens and repairs to garden fences • Replacement and repair of coat hooks, curtain rails and door bells • Electric fuses except main fuses which are responsibility of NIE • Replacement of WC seats and fittings • Where the Association has fitted smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors, these will be maintained by the Association but the tenant should regularly test and replace batteries • Removal of rubbish, old furniture, floor coverings, etc. from the house, outhouses and garden. This list is not exhaustive On termination of tenancy the tenant should ensure that the above have been taken care of and that the house is left in a clean and lettable condition. The tenant shall be invoiced for outstanding work. • Repair and replacement of rotary dryers • Extermination of mice within dwelling • Air locks to oil tanks and pipe work • Setting of central heating time clocks


Insurances The Association insures the building structure, but NOT the contents. You are strongly advised to insure your own belongings against fire, flood, storm, theft and accidental damage to sanitary fittings, glass, etc. The Association is not responsible for insuring the contents of your home against accidental damage or burglary, YOU must take out Home Contents Insurance and we strongly recommend that you insure glazing as you are responsible for replacement of broken windows. Response Times The Association gives each job reported a “Priority Coding”, this ensures the most urgent jobs are done first. The codes we use are as follows: Priority E Emergency: To be completed within 24 hrs. Priority U Urgent: Work to be completed within 4 working days Priority R Routine: Work to be completed within 28 days.


Association’s Job Classification

RESPONSE TIMES EMERGENCY WORK: 24 HOURS • No heating • No hot water or any water – no water should initially be checked with NI Water to see if there is a problem in the area. • No electricity – you should check trip switches first and then check with PowerNI to see if there is a problem in the area • Burst pipes • Broken W.C. i.e. not flushing or health and safety hazard • Any health and safety issue • Emergency lighting not operating • Fire exits not opening

URGENT WORK : 4 WORKING DAYS • Some sockets not working • Some radiators not heating • Timeclock defective but still able to use manual heating controls • Roof tiles missing or dislodged

• Blocked baths, sinks etc- this should only be reported if the tenant has already used a domestic product to try and dislodge the blockage, cleared the trap etc. This will be deemed a recoverable charge if the blockage is as a result of tenant misuse. • Restrictor stays missing

ROUTINE WORK : 28 WORKING DAYS • Leaking gutters

• Defective kitchen doors and/or handles • Easing and adjusting doors, keepers etc • Filling in settlement cracks if a new build property, after a period of at least 12 months and following a defects inspection by the Association

This list is not exhaustive


Improvements by the Tenant The Association encourages tenants to carry out improvements and alterations to their homes. However, you must get written permission first to ensure that your proposals are reasonable and acceptable. You must also, where applicable, conform with Planning and/or Building Regulations. Careful consideration is given to all requests to carry out improvement work and permission will normally be granted in the majority of cases, albeit that certain conditions may be applied. Certain qualifying improvements may be eligible for compensation when you vacate the property. Compensation claims will only be considered if the eligible improvement was carried out after 1st April 1994 and you have obtained written permission for it (prior to carrying out the works). Full details of the scheme can be obtained from the Association. Right To Repair The Right to Repair scheme is to ensure that tenants have urgent, minor repairs which might affect their health, safety or security, completed quickly by the Association’s contractors and at no cost to the tenant. If such repairs are not carried out within the predetermined timescales, tenants can request that the Association issues the work to another contractor. If the second contractor fails to complete the repair within the time period set the tenant may then be entitled to an initial compensation sum of £10 with further sums of £2 per day for each day that the repair remains uncompleted. The maximum sum for compensation under the Right to Repair scheme is £50. This scheme does NOT mean that you can have the work carried out yourself and that the Association will pay bills for such work in all circumstances. Full details of the scheme can be obtained for the Association’s website at tenant-rightrepair or from the maintenance department by phoning 028 9065 6155.


Heating Systems

If radiators are not heating up sufficiently it might be because air is trapped in them and you should try to bleed them. This is easily done with a Radiator Key . Be sure not to open the valve any more than is necessary to let the air out. When the hissing noise stops and the water appears, the radiator is free of air and the valve should be tightly closed. Please use a basin, large bowl or similar, to collect the drips, leaks etc from the radiator as this can be messy.

Thermostatic Valve

Central Heating Pump

With Central Heating Problems • What type of heating system do you have, and do you know the makers name and model number (it may be marked on it)? • What type of fuel does the system use (eg. Gas, electricity, solid fuel or oil)? • Have you tried to bleed the radiators? • Does your heating system also provide hot water, if so, are you without both water services? • Have you checked the thermostat, timer or fuses? • If a contractor attends and finds the fault was as a result of the tenant not having sufficient levels of fuel, or having adjusted the setting incorrectly this will be deemed a recoverable charge With All Heating Problems • Have you any alternative means of heating (or, if also affected, of obtaining hot water)? • Are there any persons with medical needs or very young or elderly people within the household? • Have you sufficient levels of gas or oil? • Have you tried to reset the system?


Electrical Fittings

Fluorescent lights normally give long life. If they flicker when you turn them off, it could be because the Starter Switch is faulty.

Bayonet Fitting



Flourescent Strip Light


Batten Holders

Pendant Lamp Holder

Cooker Control Panel and Socket

Single and Double Switches

Double Switched Socket

Please remember, care should always be taken with electrical equipment and fittings. Problems, such as flickering lights and overheating sockets, should be reported without delay.

Please Tell Us • What is the exact nature of the problem (eg sockets and /or lights not working, lights flickering, broken switch etc)? • Have you, in the case of light failure, checked the bulb? • Does the problem affect one room, if so, which one? • Were you using a particular appliance at the time of the power failure and, if so, have you checked the plug fuse? • Have you checked the fuse box to see if anything has tripped? • If the contractor attends and the light isn’t working as the bulb needs changed this will be deemed a recoverable charge. The same will also apply if the fault occurred as a result of a faulty appliance owned by the tenant.




Glazed Panel


Night Latch

Mortice Lock

Door Stop





Part Glazed

Fully Glazed

Please Tell Us • Which door was affected (internal or external)? • Have you a security system? • Was the damage the result of forced entry? • If the door will not close properly, has it been recently painted, or does it show signs of warping? • Is there any damage to the frame, locks or door furniture? • If a glazed panel is broken, what is the type of glass and how was it broken?


Water Services

Gate Valves on supply pipes

Gate Valve

Hot Water Cylinder

Stop Valve

Usual position of main Stop Value

It may be necessary to turn off your main Stop Valve. You should know where it is situated and it is wise to test it twice a year. To do this, first shut it off and then open it fully. Then close it slightly by turning it back towards off by half a turn. Some items of equipment may have their own Isolation Valves, so that the water supply can be turned off without affecting the rest of the supply. If this is not the case you may be able to turn the relevant supply pipe off at the Gate Valves on the pips coming out of the cold water tank. This will leave you with some services, even though it might only be cold water in the kitchen tap. Please Tell Us • If you have a leak, can you see where it is, (supply or waste) and which item of equipment is affected? • How serious is the leak and is it in the hot or cold supply? • Are your electrics affected? • If your water supply has been shut off, it may be important to turn off your heating appliances.



Ball Valve


Hot Water Vent Pipe

Gate Valves on Supply Pipes

Rising Main

Cold Water Tank

Overflow Float

Ball Valve

You can take temporary action whilst waiting for the overflow to be repaired, by tying the Float in the up position, thus closing the Ball Valve . This will shut off the water supply to the Cistern .



A Typical Toilet Cistern

Please Tell Us • Which overflow is causing the problem (eg from the toilet, cold water tank, etc)? • Where does the overflow discharge (eg. outside)? • Is the overflow running continuously or not?



1 2

Traditional Pillar Tap The Tap Head or Handle ( 1 ) might be loose, perhaps because the Retaining Screw ( 2 ) is missing. Sometimes a tap will not turn off properly, because of a worn Washer ( 3 ). A tap can also be loose or leaking at the Base ( 4 ).



Sink Tap (Pillar)

Bath Tap (Pillar)

Basin Tap (Pillar)

Please Tell Us • What type of tap is it?

• What appliance is served by the tap (eg. bath, sink, wash basin)? • What is the exact problem (eg. loose tap head, dripping tap etc)? • You should find out where the stop valve is, in case you need to • turn it off.


Gutters and Rainwater

Internal Angle

Stopened Outlet





1. The rainwater pipe may lead into a Hopperhead, which is a possible point of blockage by leaves. 2. This small section of gutter is the Running Outlet. It may become blocked with leaves. 3. Each section of the gutter is supported by Gutter Brackets, which may be broken, or not securing the gutter properly. 4. Rainwater pipes can leak at seals and joints, particularly on a Gutter Angle (this is an external gutter angle). 5. Rainwater pipes are secured to the wall by Pipe Clips, which may need attention. 6. The Shoe of the rainwater pipe discharges rainwater into a Gulley, where leaves and other debris may cause blockages.



Please Tell Us • Is the gutter blocked, if so, can you see where?

• Do you know what material the damaged part is made of (eg. iron or plastic)? • Is there a leak on either the gutter or rainwater pipe, if so, where is it (eg. on a joint)? • If guttering is broken, how many sections are involved?



Night Latch (Yale Lock)

Mortice Lock

Mortice Latch

The Striking Plate or Keep should be fixed to the door frame. If the Lock is sticking, you might try lightly oiling it through the keyhole. If you have lost or broken your Key , we may be able to gain entry and change part of the Lock .

Rim Lock

Rim Deadlock

Please Tell Us • Which lock is affected and is there a second lock to the door? • What type of lock is it (this may be shown on the key)? • Has the door been forced open? • If the lock needs refixing, what is the door made of (eg. wood, plastic, metal)? • Do you have a security problem? • The Association will not be responsible for a lock change in the event that you have lost or misplaced your key. In such an event you should call a locksmith.



Fan Light

Sash Cords


Pivot Hinge





Vertical or Box Window

Pivot Window

Casement Window

Please remember that glass is Tenants responsibility, however broken.

If it’s a problem with the window • What type of window is it and what is it made of (ie. wood, metal, plastic)? • Which floor is it on and which room is it in? • Are there any apparent problems, such as visible cracks in the sealing between the frame and the brickwork, loose or missing putty, rot in the frame, missing/ broken stays or fasteners, sash cords which do not work, etc? • If a tiled sill is damaged, how many tiles are broken or missing and what type are they? • If you have a problem closing the window, has it recently been painted or does it show signs of warping?


Roofs Your roof will be Pitched ( 1 ) like those illustrated in the drawing, or Flat ( 2 ) . The roof covering will be either Tiles or Slates , some of which may be loose or missing. Ridge tiles ( 3 ) or Hip Tiles ( 4 ) can also become dislodged.

Chimney Pots



Lead Flashing



If you have a Chimney you may be able to see obvious problems with it, such as damage to a Chimney Pot .


Please Tell Us • Do you have a pitched or flat roof? • How many storeys high is the roof? • Are any tiles or slates missing, if so can you see how many? • Is water coming through the ceiling, if so in which rooms and is it happening all the time? • Does anyone live above you, if so, when will they be in? • Are your electrics affected? If they are, switch the power off at the mains as soon as possible, remembering to take care.


Sinks and washbasins

Various problems can occur with Taps (eg. a slow drip indicating the possible need for a new washer).

Supply Pipe

All wash basins are fitted with a Trap . Many have a Bottle Trap like this one, which can easily be cleaned if a blockage occurs.

Waste Pipe

To clean a bottle trap, unscrew the base cap by hand and clean it out. Before unscrewing it, make sure both taps are off and a bucket, or similar receptacle, is placed underneath to catch water and debris. When replacing the cap make sure it is tightly fitted.

Please Tell Us • Is the problem with the sink (in the kitchen) or a wash basin (in the toilet or bathroom)? • What exactly is the nature of the problem (eg. a blockage, leak, crack, etc)? • If there is a leak on the supply pipe, is it the hot or cold one? • If the sink is blocked, what type of trap is it and have you made any attempts to clear it? If an operative is sent out and the blockage has been caused by the tenant, the Association will charge the tenant. • How did the damage occur? • If there’s a problem with the tap, what type is it? (See Taps Page 12).


Toilets Sometimes a cistern will overflow. If it does, temporary action may be taken. This is described on the page dealing with Overflows . There can be a problem with the Cistern , causing it not to fill up. If you lift the Lid you may be able to see if this is the case.


Water supply Pipe

A leak can occur on the Flush Pipe, or the joint between it and the Pan (the Cone Joint )

Seat Cover


Cone Joint


Soil Pipe

A leak can occur at the Soil Joint

A toilet that will not empty when flushed is possible blocked in the Pan Outlet

Please Tell Us • Is the pan cracked, or are any pipes or joints leaking? • Does the toilet only leak when it is flushed? • If the toilet will not flush, are there any broken parts, which you have noticed from looking inside the cistern? • Has the water supply been turned off? • How did the damage occur? • Do you have a second toilet in your home? • Are there any obvious problems, such as a broken pan? • If a contractor attends and the blockage is due to inappropriate items being flushed down the toilet this will be deemed a recoverable charge.



The Vent Pipe is the continuation of the Soil Stack above the roof.

Baths, sinks and wash basins Waste Traps which can become blocked. With some traps, such as a Bottle Trap , it may be possible to unscrew the cap and clean it.

Toilets will discharge directly into a Soil Pipe.


Occasionally, Inspection Chambers get blocked. Usually these can be inspected by lifting the cover.

To Public Sewer or Septic Tank .

Please Tell Us • Do you have a problem with soiled water backing-up, perhaps in your toilet? • Is the waste trap in your bath, sink or wash basin blocked, if so, have you tried to clear it? • Is there any flooding from an inspection chamber? • Is there any damage to your home?



Damaged Sealant between the bath and splashback tiles will need attention to prevent water seeping through

Splashback Tiles


Bath Panel

Overflow Pipe

Waste Pipe Supply Pipe

Leaks will be noticeable from the: Overflow - if the bath is overfilled Waste Pipe - when the bath is emptied Supply Pipes - at all times

Please Tell Us • If there is a leak, which pipe is it on? • If a leak is on a supply pipe, is it the hot or cold one?

• If there is a problem with an overflow pipe, where does it empty out? • If the splashback tiles are broken, how many tiles are affected and what is their colour and pattern? • If the bath panel is damaged, what colour and material is it? • Has the leak caused any damage in your home? • How did the damage occur?


Power failure fault finding

Miniature Circuit Breakers switch off automatically if there is a fault on the circuit.



A Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCCB)

B Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB)

There might also be smaller switches which replace fuses. These are Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB’s). If a circuit is overloaded, or a fault occurs, the MCB protecting that circuit will switch off automatically. Ivf the reason for this is not clear then you should: 1. Put the MCB switch back to the original position. If it will not stay on, then... 2. Switch off and unplug any appliance connected to that circuit. If more than one, try to switch the MCB switch to the ‘on’ position after disconnecting each appliance. In this way the faulty appliance will be identified. SHOULD EITHER THE RCCB OR MCB SWITCH NOT RETURN TO THE ‘ON’ POSITION. A FAULT COULD EXIST IN YOUR CIRCUIT, WHICH YOU SHOULD REPORT TO US.

Your main electric switch may now incorporate an automatic switch off device called a Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCCB). If a situation arises which creates a potential shock or fire risk, the RCCB will switch off automatically. If the reason for this is not clear then you should: 1. Switch off all MCB’s (marked B in the drawing) 2. Return the RCCB switch to the ‘on’ position (marked A in the drawing) 3. Switch on the MCB in turn until the RCCB automatically switches off. 4. Switch off and unplug any appliance connected to that circuit. If more than one, try to switch the RCCB to the on position after disconnecting each appliance. In this way the faulty appliance will be identified.


Walls and Ceilings

Plaster Problems • A bulging ceiling may need early attention and should be reported as soon as possible. • Plaster flaking off walls and/or ceilings could have several causes. • Usually, an inspection will be necessary, to find the cause and best remedy. • Many buildings experience some minor movement, which can cause plaster cracks. In reporting these, try to be specific on such things as location and the extent of the cracks. • Cracked or fallen rendering on external walls should be reported, giving as much detail as possible. • If you are reporting loose, broken or missing tiles, such as in bathrooms, • tell us how many are missing or need refixing, their size and colour.

Types of Damp • Damp patches on ceilings may be caused by leaking plumbing equipment or rainwater penetration. • Damp penetrating from outside will appear only on external walls. Penetration may only be apparent near windows or close to gutters or rainwater pipes. • Try to establish whether the damp appears only when it rains or all the time. • Rising damp is caused by water from the ground penetrating damp courses. Signs include peeling wallpaper, lifting floor tiles and discoloured patches on lower walls. • Mould on walls can often be wiped clean but should be reported if it becomes serious. • Condensation is caused by water from the air coming into contact with a colder surface. It is recognisable by water drops on windows, mirrors etc, and sometimes mould patches on walls and ceilings. • If your property is fitted with a heat recovery unit, please ensure this is not turned off at any time

Some ways to reduce condensation • Heat rooms well (but not with oil or calor gas heaters, which produce moisture). • Open windows when washing or cooking. • Do not block air vents.


Water heaters


Lagging Jacket

There will often be a Temperature Control Switch ( 1 ) at the top of the immersion rod, or alternatively a Cylinder Thermostat ( 2 ) might be fixed to the outside of the cylinder.


Where an immersion heater is fitted, there will be a nearby Power Switch and perhaps a Timer .


You may have other types of heater in your home, such as a gas fired Instantaneous Water Heater (combi boiler) .

It is common for homes to have a Hot Water Cylinder . Water may be heated by an Immersion Rod ( 3 ) . It is also common for hot water to be fed to the cylinder from a boiler, either independent of, or part of, a central heating system.

Please Tell Us • What type of heating system do you have and do you know the makers name (it may be marked on it)? • Do you have hot water at any time or not at all? • Is the water cylinder hot, even when hot water is not coming through the taps? • Do you have alternative methods of heating water in your home? • Do you have other water supply problems?


Building Defects

If you live in a new build or newly refurbished house, the contractor is liable for defects, usually for the first twelve months, this does not include deliberate or accidental damage. Such defects are normally attended to within specified timescales. You are strongly encouraged not to undertake major decorative work or interfere with electrics etc during this 12 month period as it may result in the contractor not having liability for problems that may occur. If you fit wallpaper during the 12 month defect period it will not be possible to identify and remedy settlement cracks.

Routine work – 28 working days Leaking gutters Defective kitchen cupboard doors and/ or handles Defective internal door handles,

Emergency work – 24 hours No heating No water No electricity Burst pipes Broken W.C. i.e. not flushing or health and safety hazard Any health and safety issue Blocked drains Warden call or fire alarm panel faults Emergency lighting not operating Fire exits not opening Urgent work – 4 working days Some sockets not working Some radiators not heating Time clock defective but still able to use manual heating controls Front door and back doors sticking (fire exit) Roof tiles missing or dislodged

hinges, easing doors etc Noisy & rattling pipework

End of defects period Easing and adjusting doors, keepers etc Filling in settlement cracks Provision of additional sealant around windows, skirting etc due to any drying out Sealing any joints in gutters and downpipes First inspection of gas/oil boilers First service of fire alarms, fire extinguishers Welding any loose joints in vinyl flooring

If your property has been fitted with a heat recovery unit, which extracts the wet air and recirculates it around the home helping to reduce heating costs, the filter in your heat recovery unit will need to be changed on an annual basis, this will be carried out with your annual boiler service.


Secured By Design

Your home also contains many additional security features; • Front and back doors meet PAS 24 which also applies to surrounds and locks. You will notice deadlocks, viewers and a door chain. • Your letter box has been fitted away from the locks. • Your window frames have been specially developed and meet specific security tests. They have locks and have been glazed in such a way that it would be very difficult for a burglar to remove the glazing to gain entry. • External security lights have been fitted to the front and rear of your home. These lights cannot be switched on and off. They turn on automatically at dusk and off again at dawn. They are fitted with low energy bulbs and cost only a few pounds a year to run. The Association will maintain the bulbs and should you require a replacement, please inform the office. Do not attempt to remove the bulb by yourself. • You will also notice that there is an additional electric spur fitted near your front door. This has been provided for you to fit a burglar alarm if you wish to do so.

Connswater Homes was the first social housing provider in Northern Ireland to be awarded Secured by Design status on its new build homes. The Association is pleased to report that Secured by Design is the official UK Police flagship initiative supporting the principles of “designing out crime” and the Association will continue to strive to ensure that all new schemes, where possible, meet these standards. When carrying out door and window replacement contracts to existing dwellings, these standards will be incorporated into the new fixtures. Building to Secured by Design standards not only improves security to your home, completed after 2000 you will notice that; • Open spaces are overlooked as are all car parking spaces; • Consideration has been given to the height of fences and walls to ensure natural surveillance; • Street lighting has been planned to ensure maximum safety; • Roads within the vicinity include traffic calming measures where appropriate; • Footpaths are as short as possible with a direct open view. but also addresses the environment surrounding it. If your home was


Gas and Carbon Monoxide Servicing and Safety

Gas servicing • We will service your gas heating system every year. • We will check that it is operating efficiently and safely and let you know when we are going to call. • If it is not convenient you can arrange another time to suit you. However, all gas appliances must be serviced each year and it is important we have your co-operation to do this. • If you do not let us into your home, as a last resort, we may have to get a court order to gain entry and carry out this work and we will charge the legal fees and costs to you. • You will be given a safety certificate on completion of the servicing Smell Gas? • If you smell gas phone the 24-hour gas emergency service on 0800 002 001 • Turn off the gas supply at the meter • Open doors and windows for ventilation • Do not use matches or light naked flames • Do not turn any electrical switches, including door entry systems, on or off • Extinguish all naked flames • Do not smoke • Do check gas appliances to see if the gas has been left on unlit or that a pilot is out • Do not leave it to someone else to call the emergency service How to Isolate Your Gas Supply: To turn off your gas supply, you first need to locate the gas isolation valve. In more modern houses, the gas meter and isolation valve are often located outside in a meter box. If not, try looking under the stairs, beneath the kitchen sink or in the garage. To turn off the gas supply, simply turn the handle a quarter turn so the lever is at 90 degrees to the upright gas pipe.


Carbon monoxide We service all gas appliances every year and this reduces, as far as possible the risk of there being any problems. The Association will test your detector when carrying out your annual boiler test, however please ensure to test your carbon monoxide detector on a regular basis. However it’s important to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. When gas does not burn properly too much carbon monoxide is produced. You can’t see, taste or smell it but carbon monoxide can kill without warning in a matter of hours. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include feeling tired or drowsy, headaches and pains in the chest and stomach. Gas appliances that have not been properly installed or serviced and do not have enough ventilation can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The risks are very low as we service gas heating and hot water appliances in your home every year. As a tenant you should take the following precautions: • Never block the air vents in your home, as they provide the air needed by appliances. • Never block outside grills. • Never use a gas appliance if you think it is not working properly. • Signs to look out for include yellow or orange flames, soot and stains around the appliance and pilot lights which frequently blow out. • Always use a Gas safe registered contractor to install and service your gas cooker. • Always allow us access to service the gas appliances in your home. • Never use a rotary ceiling fan in a room at the same time as a gas appliance, this can cause toxic fume hazard.


Contractor Code of Conduct

The following Code of Conduct will be adhered to by all contractors including sub- contractors whilst working in your home: • Where possible contact tenant to arrange access • Provide proof of identity • Inform tenant of proposed work • Explain the nature and purpose of the job • Be polite and courteous at all times • Maintain confidentiality • Behave in a proper and professional manner at all times • Do not smoke, work under the influence of alcohol/drugs, use bad language. • Do not play music or use tenant’s facilities without their prior permission • Keep disruption and mess to an absolute minimum • Protect fixtures, fittings and tenants possessions at all times • Keep property secure at all times • Keep safe all materials and equipment use on site to avoid danger to occupants and visitors, especially children • Reconnect and test services such as water, gas and electricity if these have been interrupted • Remove any left over material and debris from inside and outside property on completion of job • Comply with health & safety legislation and codes of practice • A contractor who encounters problems with tenants will leave the dwelling and contact the office at the earliest opportunity.

If you are not happy with the service provided, please let us know by contacting the Association.


Recoverable Charges

Rechargeable Repairs If you leave your property in a poor condition or cause damage not considered as normal wear and tear you may be re-charged for repairs. This list is not exhaustive but provides an indication of damage that will be charged for if caused neglect, carelessness or abuse. • Call outs or repairs to oil tanks and pipe work caused by the tenant allowing the tank to run out of oil • Replacement of rotary dryers (except for new tenancy) • Replacement of wheelie bins (except for new tenancy) • Blocked / choked pipes or toilet where blockage has been caused by tenant’s negligence • Call out for electrical failure caused by household appliances • Damage to wash-hand basins, WC bowls, baths and bath panels • Heating call out due to tenant not resetting gas heating system correctly following the purchase of credit. This also applies to the room stat or time clock not being set properly Smoke alarm or Carbon monoxide alarms - replacement batteries. If either of these alarms are chirping please ensure you hoover the appliances and checked the battery prior to ringing a repair through A minimum call out charge can be expensive, please bear this in mind when reporting repairs that could be avoided, or may in fact be your responsibility, or have occurred as a result of tenant neglect. • Scorched or damaged work tops • Holes in internal and external doors


Winter Weather Preparation

Frost precautions In the cold weather try to keep your home reasonably warm both day and night. If you are going away and leaving your home empty for a few days, turn off water at the stopcock and drain all water off the system by turning on all the taps and flushing the toilet. Make sure all the water has stopped running before you leave home. Alternatively you could leave your heating on low. This will prevent damage caused by pipes freezing. Burst Pipe - to stop water flowing from a burst pipe, shut the main stopcock and open all taps to run off water from the pipes and tank. If you have a burst pipe you should: • Turn off your electricity at the mains, turn off the heating etc • Put a container under any leak • Turn off the stopcock • Contact the Association to report this incident Condensation and Ventilation Every property gets condensation, especially when the weather is cold and when lots of moisture and steam are being produced, for example when cooking. To reduce condensation and prevent mould growth, do the following: • Keep your home reasonably warm. • Do not use liquid propane gas heaters. • Provide ventilation by keeping some of the windows open. In winter open the windows a little but only for as long as they are misted up. • Whenever possible, dry your clothes outside. • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors shut and windows open especially when cooking, washing or bathing. • When cooking do not allow pans or kettles to boil any longer than necessary. • Avoid putting beds and wardrobes against outside walls. • To make sure you have some ventilation in your home: • Never cover wall air bricks or vents which give under floor ventilation. • Never disconnect or block outside vents – this could be very dangerous if your home has gas heating. • Never seal up unused fireplaces without leaving ventilation. If you have plastic windows or modern timber windows, keep the small trickle vent in the window open. • Never turn off your heat recovery unit, this is pre-set at the most economical mode for when you move into your home.


Fire Safety Advice

• Make sure all people in your property are made aware of an escape route, or plan, in the event of a fire. • Always allow access for us to service your fitted smoke alarm. • Keep matches away from children. If you do keep matches in your house, make sure they are in a place children cannot reach them. • If you smoke, make sure all cigarettes and matches are put out properly and ensure you check ashtrays before retiring to bed. • Do not leave pans on the cooker unattended, especially pans of oil. • Avoid using bottled gas heaters and paraffin heaters; they are not allowed at all in buildings which are more than three stories tall. If you do have to use these types of heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Store and dispose of gas bottles properly. Do not store flammable liquids in your property. • Do not dry or air clothes near heaters, cookers or open fires. Make sure that open fires have fireguards. • Switch off and pull the plug out of the socket of any electrical appliances that are not in use. Some appliances, such as freezers, are meant to be left on. Please refer to manufacturer’s instructions. • Close doors and windows especially at bedtime to prevent fire spreading. • Keep passages and hallways clear of obstructions, flammable material or naked flame heating, e.g. gas or paraffin heaters. • Do not store rubbish or belongings below the stairs. • Test your alarm weekly. What to do if there is a fire: • Try to be calm and don’t panic. • Get everyone out as quickly as possible, closing doors as you leave to prevent the spread of fire. • Do not use the lift under any circumstances. • Call the fire brigade (999) from somewhere safe to do so, e.g a neighbour’s house, public phone or shop. Do not re-enter the house for any reason until you are told it is safe to do so by the fire brigade. • Remember even if your ‘pay as you go’ mobile phone has run out of credit it will still allow you to call 999. If you become trapped in your home by a fire you should: • Close the door to the room you are in. • Try to seal any gaps under the door with clothes or a towel, to stop smoke entering. • Where possible cover your face to prevent inhaling the smoke. • Shout for help out of the window asking passers-by to call the fire brigade.




Unit 5, Citylink Business Park, Albert Street, Belfast BT12 4HQ Telephone: 028 9065 6155


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