Repairs & Maintenance

Contents

01   Your SFA: who is responsible?

DIO has created a short video called ‘We all have a part to play’, which illustrates the responsibilities of everyone – MOD, DIO, front-line commands, Amey and Service families when it comes to accommodation.

It shows you who is responsible for what to ensure your comments and queries related to SFA are directed to the right area.

This should help to avoid some of the delays that happen when requests are sent to the wrong team.

Back to top

02   Built in appliances

If you have integrated appliances in your SFA eg cooker, washing machine or dishwasher (mainly in new builds), and experience any issues with them, please report it to the Amey Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000. Cookers will be repaired or replaced, however, other integrated appliances will be removed and a space left for your own white goods.

Back to top

03   Lost external door keys

While the contract with CA means they will respond to and repair broken or damaged locks (including where a key may have snapped in the actual lock), it doesn’t cover lost keys. If you are unfortunate enough to lose a key, you will be responsible for replacing it and, if necessary, the lock at your own expense using a private locksmith.

Back to top

04   Arranging maintenance for yourself

Families living in SFA have a free maintenance service with clear published response levels dependent on the seriousness of the issue. Whilst you may wish to speed up this process, you should never arrange for third party contractors to come in as this work cannot be guaranteed and will not be paid for by MOD. Please call the CA Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000 (or the designated maintenance team if you live in a PFI, bulk lease hiring or out of the UK) to report all maintenance requests.

Back to top

05   Mears repairs time lines

If you live in Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA) (a hiring) in the UK, the response times for repairs are as follows:

Repair & Maintenance targets

  • Emergency e.g. imminent risk of injury, three-hour response to make safe. Once the situation is made safe, it downgrades to Critical, Urgent or Routine and the time scales that go with it.
  • Critical e.g. Unusable WC, bath or shower, response in three hours and resolved in 12 hours. Full repair or temporary repair to down grade to urgent or routine.
  • Urgent e.g. partial loss of hot water, permanent repair to be carried out in five business days
  • Routine e.g. for those instances not covered by other definitions of critical emergency or urgent, a full permanent repair to be carried out within 15 business days.

Please call the Mears help line to report issues on the 24/7 help line 0800 0324547

Back to top

06   AFF IN ACTION - Electric fan heaters vs oil filled radiators

Families came to AFF with concerns over the electric heaters provided by Amey when a boiler fails. They felt they weren’t safe if you have small children and didn’t produce much heat.

So we lobbied CA to provide an alternative to the electric fan heaters (in the event of a boiler failure) and are delighted to report that CA have agreed to trial oil filled radiators in those parts of the country which are under the Liberty Gas contract (South East, South West and East regions). AFF hopes that in future they be rolled out across all areas managed by CA.

The AFF Housing Specialist road tested the first oil filled radiator and was pleased with the amount of heat it provided compared to an electric fan heater. The only things to be aware of are:

– When you initially turn them on they can make a bubbling sound – this is the oil heating up and nothing to worry about.

– During the first time of use it emits a slightly odd smell but that goes after a while and is worth putting up with to get warm!

Back to top

07   Reporting a fault to your SFA

  • Check the advice and support pages on the Amey website to see if you can fix the issue yourself
  • Call 0800 707 6000, option 1 – if you are calling from a mobile use 0151 7281630 – 24hrs/day
  • For other methods of reporting repairs, click here 
  • For up to date details on reporting a fault, click here. This will help you give the correct information to the help desk
  • Walk in to your local Customer Service Centre – hours are area dependent.

You will be given a job reference number and will be sent written notification of your appointment (either by post or email as requested by you).

Remember that you or a member of your family (the person MUST be over the age of 16) will need to be at home for the appointment – if the work is to the outside you may not need to be at home but will be advised of this when you make the appointment.

Back to top

08   Repair priorities

Each reported repair is given a priority according to the nature of the fault.

Emergency (make safe resolution only):

  • Temporary resolution only
  • Immediate response (within 3 hours)
  • Amey will make safe as soon as is reasonably practicable.
  • Amey staff will attend immediately, make safe and begin work to minimise or eliminate any risk of injury, damage to the equipment or property and the environment
  • After the situation is made safe the repair will be given a Critical, Urgent or Routine category as appropriate.

Critical:

  • Amey will attend within 3 hours and fix the repair, either temporarily or permanently, within 12 hours
  • This category applies to repairs that could have a significant impact on your family or property, e.g. a blocked main drain, loss of all lighting etc.

Urgent:

  • Amey will attend and fix the repair within 5 working days
  • This category applies to repairs that lead to serious discomfort or can lead to damage to property and fittings, e.g. blocked toilets, or defective installations (such as part of a cooker).

Routine:

  • Amey will attend and rectify the problem within 15 working days.

Wind and weatherproof:

  • Amey will attend within 20 working days and take steps to secure and weatherproof the property
  • This category applies to repairs that need to be undertaken to ensure the property is secure and wind and weatherproof.
Back to top

09   Appointment times

  • All day – 8am-6pm
  • Morning – 8am-12 noon; 10am-2pm (School run option); 11am-3pm
  • Afternoon – 2pm-6pm
Back to top

10   Local Customer Service Centres

The Amey local customer services centres give families the opportunity to drop in to talk to staff face-to-face to get assistance with all housing issues. For details of locations and opening times, please click here.

Back to top

11   Families responsibilities

Before you contact the Helpdesk, check the advice & support pages on the CA website to see if it is something you can fix yourself. Ensure that you aren’t calling for something which you are responsible for e.g. replacement locks if you get locked out or changing fuses or standard light bulbs.

Back to top

12   Compulsory Safety checks

Amey have a duty of care to carry out certain safety checks on your property such as the annual gas/oil fired boiler inspections and periodic electrical inspections.

You will be sent a letter requesting access for these inspections – please make sure that you respond to these quickly to arrange an appointment.

These appointments are vital for your safety and those of your neighbours- as such, your soldier should be able to take time off work to attend these appointments; please clear this with your chain of command first!

There is now a rigid process in place in order to make sure that these inspections get done – the end result could be that Amey/DIO will legally force entry to carry out the inspections if you continually refuse to allow entry or do not arrange/keep appointments and you will be responsible for the cost of repairing the locks etc.

Back to top

13   Windows: child restrictors

If you have small children or vulnerable adults in the house, it is a good idea to regularly check that any window restrictors you have in place are working. Although there is no legislative requirement, British Standards state that where restrictors are fitted they should limit the initial movement to no more than 100 mm.

If any restrictors are not working or open more than 100 mm. please call the CA Helpdesk – or your local maintenance provider- to report them.

Back to top

14   Stay secure - important message about access to Service homes from Amey

There have been reports of incidents where people have tried to gain unauthorised access to Service Family Accommodation.

All families are advised that it is very rare for Amey or Defence Infrastructure Organisation staff to turn up unannounced; in particular, they will not turn up to undertake unannounced work or inspections.

We ask that all Service families remain vigilant when receiving unexpected visits and ask to see identification.

If you receive an unexpected request to undertake work and wish to check credentials, please call the Amey Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000.

If you have any concerns about your security, contact the police or your local security section/guardroom immediately; any additional information regarding Description of Callers and Vehicle Details may assist in any subsequent investigation.

In addition, if you see any suspicious activity in your area, including people or vehicles, please take the details and pass them to the police or security section. Do not potentially put yourself in danger by confronting anyone.

Back to top

15   Carbon monoxide: detection is vital

Recently AFF was made aware of a family who had experienced a leak of carbon monoxide (CO) – thanks to CO detectors in the house, they were alerted to the issue and no harm was done.

Amey has issued the following statement:

“Customers are reminded that it is a legal requirement for their gas boiler to have an annual gas inspection and test, and an occupant’s responsibility under their Licence to Occupy to provide access for these tests, which are free and could protect your family. During these tests the CO detector and smoke alarms will also be tested and replaced if required.” 

As of 2017, DIO has updated their policy for fitting carbon monoxide detectors. Detectors will now be fitted to any room that has a fuel burning device (except where all electric). This exceeds current legislation.

AFF encourages all families to check that your SFA has detectors present and working at move-in, if relevant, and that they are tested or fitted at the annual gas inspection. If you are concerned that you don’t currently have any carbon monoxide detectors, please contact the CA Helpdesk and ask for them to be fitted.

If you have any issues or concerns, contact Cat Calder at housing@aff.org.uk.

Back to top

16   SFA safety: your dog

Do you have a dog which likes to jump up and retrieve/attack the post as it comes through the letter box? Why not put a sticker on your door to warn visitors?

AFF has been made aware of incidents of workmen being bitten by dogs whilst posting cards etc. through letter boxes. We have suggested to Amey that stickers could be included in the move-in pack but as yet, a decision has not been made.

Back to top

17   DIO service delivery accommodation SFA Improvement Programme (Refurb)

As previously advised, the MOD review of all expenditure has meant that the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has been cautious about issuing letters to occupants of SFA to notify them of improvement works until funding has been secured.

When funding has been agreed, it is important that DIO start work as soon as practicable to ensure spend in-year.

However, this may mean that they can’t give their normal period of notice of the proposed work to families. For example, whereas DIO normally aim to give notice in months, they may only be able to give families a few weeks’ notice.

Whilst every effort will be made to carry out the works in a timescale that meets the needs of individuals, DIO does need to ensure that any additional costs, such as extending the overall time contractors are required on site, are kept to a minimum. Therefore, they would appreciate the support of families to help achieve planned timescales.

DIO and Amey will continue to give as much notice as possible of intended work starting in SFA properties, and every effort will be made to effectively engage with the families concerned; as well as the local chain of command, Family Federations and Unit Welfare.

However, DIO would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused where the notice period is significantly shorter, and would like to thank families for their understanding and support in our efforts to make improvements to their homes.

Any concerns about access during the programme of works should be addressed to either the Accommodation Services Team (0800 707 6000), or the contact details provided on notification letters from DIO and/or Amey.

Are you having a refurb?

For all you need to know:

  • Your On Site Liaison officer (OSLO) is your first point of contact for any issues or queries you have.
  • You can request boxes from the contractor or the OSLO so that you can pack up your belongings.
  • DIO doesn’t pay compensation during refurbs as a basic cooking/washing facility is meant to be made available at the end of each day, along with a contact house for families.
  • You should be left with a metre of work surface; a working cooker and a sink with running hot and cold water at the end of every day although you will probably have to clean it!
  • End of day checks are completed by the OSLO where possible and an End of Day Check Sheet should be signed by the occupant. If the OSLO is unavailable then the Project Manager or Site Manager should complete the check instead.
  • If you aren’t left with a working kitchen, contact the OSLO, if no joy there, try the Amey Project Manager and if no joy there try the Amey Helpdesk. If there has been no resolution within 60 mins go out for a reasonably priced meal and claim it back; as a rule, Amey pay £10 per adult and £5 per child for food as a result of loss of cooking facilities. Families do not need to provide receipts; a claim form will be sent out which needs to be returned so the claim can be investigated. The missed calls on the OSLO and PM’s phone, and the call to the Helpdesk, will back up your claim.
  • If your soldier is away or has a relevant medical condition you can ask the OSLO/Amey project manager for help moving your white goods.
  • Workmen aren’t supposed to use your electricity unless they are using a bench saw or core drills as these are only mains powered. If you find they are using your electricity for other tools contact the OSLO.
  • Workmen shouldn’t be using your kettle to make hot drinks for themselves – although, feel free to offer them one if you are making one for yourself!
  • A rough outline of order of works/trades is given at the families’ induction; the contractors do not go into finer detail as things may change i.e. workmen off sick etc. The OSLOs will advise of where most dust/mess will occur.
  • Whilst the contractors are stripping out kitchens/bathrooms etc. or prepping for decoration they should seal up the room they are working in to reduce the amount of dust which enters the rest of the house – if they aren’t then inform the OSLO.
  • Workmen may need to leave doors and/or windows open on occasion to help dry out plaster etc. but should not be leaving them open in cold or wet weather unless they need to go in or out – again, if you find that they are please inform the OSLO
  • If any damage is done by the contractors e.g. damage to gardens by scaffolding, they are meant to make good – if they don’t, inform the OSLO.
  • All workmen are security cleared, however, if you are out of the house during the day it is worthwhile photographing valuables (with a date stamp) to ensure proof of ownership or make arrangements to move them elsewhere for the duration of the works. Check your insurance to make sure you are covered if you are out of the house while the contractors are working.

If you are having any issues with your refurb which isn’t being resolved by the OSLO or Amey, contact AFF at housing@aff.org.uk

Back to top

18   Pets, Sheds, firearms and businesses

You may think that this is an odd mix, but any family who wishes to keep pets, apply for an encroachment (for example a shed, satellite dish or security light), run a business or keep firearms in their SFA will need to apply for permission through the Amey Occupancy Services Team on 0800 707 6000 Option 3.

Back to top

What our families say about AFF

“AFF - just a thank you for all that you do!!”

“What an awesome organisation”

“Thank you so much Army Families Federation!”

Find out more
7,151enquiries received between January and June 2018
1,354responses to our UK Disturbance Expense quick poll
27,120 unique website views during October
100%positive feedback at our Foreign & Commonwealth events