Keeping residents warm this winter

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With colder weather setting in and the chance of freezing temperatures this winter, one thing every Managing Agent needs to get right is heating. The demand on boiler plant and district heating rises as outside temperatures drop. Small faults can become big problems and older plant can struggle to cope. Yet residents in apartment blocks need reliable heating and hot water. So how can expectations be achieved?

The most important step is to put in place a regular maintenance schedule, tailored to the building. This planned maintenance helps prevent problems arising and prolong the life of assets such as boiler plant. By identifying and resolving issues before they happen, fewer call-outs are required which in turn cuts down costs, reducing residents’ bills.

Much of the older blocks have their original distribution systems. These are infrastructure items that need careful monitoring but are often forgotten.

Companies like DMG Delta, which specialise in block maintenance, work 24/7 to ensure that there are no surprises when it comes to winter heating. When problems are identified the company’s engineers are fully qualified and equipped to fix them first time in the majority of cases. This saves Managing Agents the time, hassle and cost of second and third visits.

As well as ensuring effective heating, buildings must comply with increasingly complex regulations. It’s critical that sites are serviced by fully compliant gas engineers, authorised to complete the necessary checks and issue the all important paperwork that shows that Managing Agents have met their legal obligations. With this kind of back-up, you have the reassurance that your engineers will know the latest rules, no matter how often they change. Engineers at DMG Delta are qualified to provide this service. Employees, quality and health & safety are fundamental so that the service residents and Managing Agents experience is what they’d expect and more.

Whilst technical excellence is a vital aspect of a high-performing maintenance service, of equal importance is the provision of a friendly help desk. Does your help desk really know you and your building and provide a maintenance service that exactly matches your needs?

Even with the best preventative work, problems can arise with heating and boiler plant. We advocate that 24 hour emergency support is a feature of all maintenance contracts. For our clients, an engineer is generally on site within a 2-hour time frame. This is a rapid response because when it comes to heating, we believe Managing Agents and their residents shouldn’t have to wait a moment longer. But not every maintenance company can react as quickly. So check your maintenance company’s approach and key performance indicators to see if they can get close to matching up.

Gas Safety Week: Fighting for a Gas Safe nation

GasSafetyWeek_Black-Logo_RGBWe are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week 2014, taking place 15th – 21st September.

Gas Safety Week is an annual safety week to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is co-ordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas.

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Every year thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a highly poisonous gas. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill quickly with no warning.

All our engineers are Gas Safe approved

Asbestos - surely this won't affect me or mine!

asbestosWe find it amazing that although it has been used for centuries, and during the industrial revolution to a far greater extent – it was finally diagnosed as responsible for deaths by the early 1900’s – yet it took the better part of a century for it to be banned totally in the UK!

Over 4,000 deaths a year in the UK are asbestos related, worldwide it is predicted that 2 million will die in the next 20 years. Not all of these are the employees that you would imagine to be more exposed. Some are wives of these workers who have been unlucky enough to breathe in the fibres from their husband’s work clothes.

Sadly it does not take a huge amount of asbestos to cause the harm – sometimes even a little bit is enough. Because of the Two Towers horror, there is a potential for 410,000 people, who were exposed to the dust cloud following the collapse, to have inhaled asbestos and may suffer in the next few years to the cancerous dangers of asbestos. There are already deaths attributed to this and although it usually takes 20 to 50 years for the effects to become deadly, it is thought because of the extreme amount of breathable asbestos dust, the disease has been sped up. Over 40 tons was used in the building of these towers – the UK is much the same in its use of asbestos.

There are three main types of asbestos, some are worse than others but none of them are nice once they have been damaged.

Asbestos has been useful for its insulation properties (heat and noise in particular) but it has been at a much higher cost than anyone thought possible. Don’t get us wrong, it is safe and does a brilliant job, but once it has been damaged it is a killer.

Schools and hospitals built before 1985 are prime areas for asbestos to have been incorporated into the building structure. Was your house built before 2000 and particularly before 1985? Then it is likely that you have had or still have asbestos lurking in some parts of your home!

Construction

Builders & Occupiers
(Building, Plumbing, Electrical, Joinery, Carpentry, Surveying, Architects)

Education

Employees, Children & Visitors
(Commonly used in old school buildings)

Health

Employees, Patients & Visitors
(Commonly used in old hospitals)

Fire & Rescue

Firemen, other Emergency Services, Injured People, General Public
(Inhalation of fibres in building & fire retardant product broken down & released by fire)

Demolition & Explosions

Employees & General Public

(Disturbance of Asbestos when demolishing old buildings)

The table above shows how many establishments, and the people who are most at risk.

A recent survey of 153 schools by the HSE revealed that 44 schools neeed intervention as a minimum reaction by the HSE. This is why the number of school caretakers who now have asbestosis or related diseases are on the increase.

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