General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) - Getting Ready

These regulations will apply from 25th May 2018. As a company we have been registered with the ICO for many years as part of our overall policy to handle individual’s data responsibly. The current regulatory legislation is the Data Protection Act (DPA). We do view the security of data as our fundamental responsibility to all stakeholders, whether they are suppliers, employees, clients or any other individual or entity that we or our systems integrate with.

Our rigorous approach to the DPA requirements means that we have in many respects already introduced many of the measures expected by the GDPR.

While the nature of the business does not require the appointment of a Data Protection Officer, the Board of Directors has tasked a cross-functional committee, headed by the Group Accountant, with ensuring that we comply with the GDPR and in areas where we are non-compliant that measures will be introduced to deliver compliance with the GDPR.

Our preparations for the introduction of the GDPR are as follows:

  • Training – Our GDPR committee has received specific training in this area as a starting point. This has allowed us to develop a plan whereby we can broaden the training through-out business.
  • Identification – We have identified the data that we need to hold to complete our processes. The majority of our processes require that we raise and issue invoices to individuals and companies. The data required to achieve this, so typically name and address are essential. We may hold information relating to bank account or payment cards. These will be maintained in a secure environment and we will review all these platforms on a regular basis to ensure that the integrity is maintained.
  • Erasure of data – We will remove personal data from our systems should it be considered redundant and of no use. We will need to comply with any requirements under the HMRC legislation.
  • Data Disclosure and Release – We will never release information to third parties for marketing activities without your consent. It may sometimes be necessary to transfer your data to third parties, including those overseas, in order to maintain legal and regulatory compliance, or to recover amounts due to the company via a specialist debt collection agency.

Should you require any further information on our approach to GDPR, please contact Shaun Salmon on 01279 810 122 or shaun.salmon@dmgdelta.co.uk

 

IIP Announcement

IIP AnnouncementWe are pleased to announce that after 9 months of hard work we have been accredited as an Investors in People (IIP) organisation.

Since 1991 IIP has set the standard for better people management, defining what it takes to lead, support and manage people well for sustainable results. IIP is about empowering the talent within the organisation to create greater success.

To get the accreditation we had to take part in a detailed process and provide the auditors with as much information as possible, so they could measure our performance based on the IIP framework which is organised around nine key indicators of high performance, each with three underpinning themes.

Successful accreditation against the IIP Standard is the sign of a great employer, an outperforming place to work and a clear commitment to sustainability, so we are very proud to have passed this assessment, and to now be fully accredited until 2020.

DMG Delta's 'Children's Ward Advent Hamper'!

DMG Delta's 'Children's Ward Advent Hamper'!With the Christmas festivities just around the corner, for many of you the words ‘Secret Santa’ will have already been mentioned.

DMG Delta have decided to do something a little different this year instead of the “normal” office Secret Santa…. we are going to do our first ‘Children’s Ward Advent Hamper’!!!

From the 1st – 23rd December every day at least one member of our team will be bringing in a gift i.e. teddy bear, game, puzzle etc with the hope that throughout December our Advent Hamper will become full of lots of fabulous gifts for all of the children that are going to be spending their Christmas in hospital.

On Friday 23rd December a few staff members will be visiting Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Children Ward to gift them the hamper of goodies, ready for all of the children to open on Christmas morning.

We are hoping that this year will be the first of many ‘Advent Hamper’s’.

If you would like to contribute to our hamper then please send any gifts to our Head Office at Sion Park, adding ‘Children’s Ward Advent Hamper’ on the packaging.

We will make sure to update our social media sites with photo’s of the hamper being delivered.

 

Do you suffer from geriatric building syndrome?

The challenge of prolonging the life of aging buildings

Without heating or hot and cold water a building is uninhabitable. That’s why today’s Managing Agent has to manage the potential threat of losing critical services. Yet, escalating service charges are a common and constant worry which means that you can’t just spend your way out of the problem. Often it comes down to postponing the inevitable replacement programme, by keeping heating and hot water assets in service for as long as possible, whilst also minimising costs.

Unfortunately, some Managing Agents discover the hard way that taking on local, poorly qualified tradespeople or domestic engineers to maintain their aging and complex commercial systems, is the wrong way to minimise costs. Don’t fall into this trap. All too often the end result is a botched job, which will cause problems elsewhere in the system, affecting many people and racking up significant service charge costs.

Seek out the potential dangersDo you suffer from geriatric building syndrome?

Being proactive is essential. That’s because many heat networks and water systems designed to last 50 years, in reality have been in service for close to 100 years. Inevitably problems crop up and, if left, they can potentially become catastrophic.

In my experience, these common hidden issues can lead to major problems:

  • Crossovers, with cold water in the hot pipes or vice versa, caused by poor understanding of the system and pressures.
  • Long term air and sludge in systems and unchecked storage tanks.
  • Changes in demand – fitting pumps, extra radiators and showers – without considering the impact across the system.
  • Unresolved leaks leading to constant top-ups with untreated water.
  • Low hot water temperatures, blocked waterways and poor hygiene control leading to legionella problems.
  • Uncontrolled apartment works that also miss opportunities to replace pipework and valves.
  • Valves that don’t work! This means drain downs for planned or emergency work in most instances will affect the whole building and all services.

Plan for the best, expect the worst

When dealing with old buildings my advice to you would be, plan for the best and expect the worst.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Don’t think that a ‘head in the sand’ approach will work. It’ won’t.
  • Instead, select a maintenance company that has the skills and expertise to provide you with a bespoke maintenance schedule for your buildings.
  • Ensure your maintenance company can identify the pressure points and dangers within the existing infrastructure, and attend at short notice 24/7/365 when that inevitable crisis hits.

Avert a crisis with 24/7 emergency responseDo you suffer from geriatric building syndrome?

Flats are valuable assets, so an emergency should only ever be just that, an emergency. It mustn’t be allowed to become a nightmare. As the emergency is spotted, it must trigger a swift response any time of the day or night, 365 days of the year, regardless of whether it’s The Sabbath, Hanukkah, Diwali or Christmas Day. Speedy solutions keep residents happy!

Take control with on-call support:

  • Emergency service should be embedded into your contract, with KPIs reported to you each month, should you wish.
  • You should expect, and get, a swift response day or night, 365 days per year.

Keep control of costs – Avoid the FTT

With these aging buildings, keeping costs within the maintenance budget can sometimes seem an impossible task. When problems arise and quotes come rolling in, it’s easy for the costs to spiral out of control. Overspends will be scrutinised by the residents and if not fully justified, will cause an even greater problem.

Your cost-control checklist:

  • Choose a proactive maintenance company that will assist in budget planning by prioritising works or giving advance notice of funds needed for future works.
  • Find a company that’s committed to preserving the condition of plant and systems, and identifying energy saving measures.
  • Make sure that you receive a complete breakdown of all costs encountered.
  • Demand that all maintenance costs are fully justified and over-expenditure is limited, or eradicated.
  • Consider insurance which is available to cover this risk.

Solve complex issues with experienced engineers

Be certain you know the difference between engineers and experienced engineers by using this ‘tick box’ exercise to select the best of the best:Do you suffer from geriatric building syndrome?

  • Are they knowledgeable enough to ignore the obvious and identify the root cause of an issue?
  • Are they technically competent to find safe practical solutions to complex problems?
  • Are they multi-skilled, so if they discover the heating failure they’ve responded to was actually caused be an electrical failure, they can handle that safely too?
  • Are they commercially experienced to consider the long term implications and cost-benefit of any fix?

A specialist maintenance partner, like DMG Delta, with proven ability to support mansion blocks and whose engineers tick all these boxes, is the key to keeping your building alive.

“These mansion blocks which line many of London’s residential streets may look grand, but often the communal heating and hot water systems which are at the heart of the building have far exceeded their ‘best before’ dates. With upgrades potentially costing millions, and the residents reluctant to foot the bill, it’s often preferable to work with what you’ve got – whether it’s aging boiler plant or old heat distribution and water systems.” 

Dave Collins, Contracts Manager at DMG Delta.

 

 

The benefits of planned heating maintenance

IMG_0375With our busy day to day lives the majority of us like to plan ahead and be prepared as much as we possibly can.  This may mean diarising social events, or keeping on top of meetings to ensure work commitments are met, but what about the “little things” that we feel are beyond our control – your heating system for example?

Year in, year out your heating operates in many cases with no trouble at all and becomes forgotten about until something goes wrong!  It’s the coldest day of the year and of course that’s when your boiler decides it’s had enough – then this “little thing” becomes a big problem and your number one priority.

Here at DMG Delta we never take your heating system for granted and that’s why we believe having a regular maintenance schedule in place is essential.  Whether your property is a block of residential apartments, a school, office or museum DMG Delta can help you!

How does it work?

A member of our team will attend site and carry out a full survey, we will create a bespoke maintenance package for your assets on site, comprising of the following elements:

  • Commercial and domestic heating and boiler plant maintenance
  • Water treatment, hygiene & L8 compliance maintenance
  • Air-conditioning maintenance and installation
  • Electrical services – power, light, control, testing & installation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Heat Interface Units (HIU’s)
  • Specialist services

Depending on the service level required, assets on site, and age of plant, we may feel it necessary to visit weekly, monthly, twice a year or even just once a year.  No matter the frequency, we will do our utmost to ensure your assets on site are in the best possible working order the whole year through.

We will advise you accordingly of any repairs that may be necessary and help you plan for any longer term replacement or investment plans, providing advice on timescales and budgeting. We have an excellent project management team, dedicated to effectively managing any large scale upgrade, replacement or installations.

Now we all know that obstacles arise and even with planned maintenance schedules in place, and as with any equipment there may be emergencies that cannot be foreseen – however we have that covered as well!

DMG Delta offer a 24/7 emergency call-out service to all contracted clients, so help is only ever a quick phone call away.  We pride ourselves on our response time, and within most circumstances you will have a fully qualified engineer on site within 2 hours – not many other companies can promise you that.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about the services that we have to offer, or you have any questions regarding this article then please give us a call on 01279 810 100 and one of our friendly members of staff will be happy to help!!

 

Landlords to fit smoke & carbon monoxide (CO) alarms

The Government has announced that it is intended that landlords will be required to install working smoke alarms and where gas appliances are fitted, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as well, in their properties.  This is in a bid to raise safety and reduce the number of deaths from CO incidents in the rental sector.

The move is expected to prevent some 26 fatalities and 670 injuries per year, and is part of wider Government actions being undertaken to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety.

These measures are expected to become effective from October 2015 subject to Parliamentary approval.  Consultation has shown that this will be strongly supported.  It has been suggested that England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities will provide support to private landlords within their areas by providing free alarms using grant funding from the government.

Fire AlarmThe proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy agreement.

These should be fitted to the ceiling, especially close to areas of high risk (kitchens for example) and outside bedrooms.

 

CO AlarmLandlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.  Although gas and oil may not be considered as solid fuel, CO alarms should also be fitted.  In the rooms where these appliances are installed at a horizontal distance of between 1m and 3m from the source.  If only one alarm is fitted it is best fitted relatively close to the breathing zone of the occupants.

Failure to comply could see landlords face up to a £5,000 penalty.

Brandon Lewis, Housing Minister, said “The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.”  “But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts.  Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility”

Stephen Williams, Communities Minister, said “We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.”  “People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.”

Steve Martin, Head of the Fire and Security Association, said: “This announcement will help improve the safety of rented accommodation and punish those landlords who are putting the safety of their tenants at risk for the sake of saving a relatively small sum of money.  Now private rented properties will be brought into line with the existing building regulations that require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.”