Repairs & Maintenance

Please check our COVID-19 section for up-to-date information, as the coronavirus outbreak may affect the advice given on this page.


01   Mears winter update

If you are a family or Service person living in SSFA and SSSA and you experience any boiler issues, please report these to Mears as soon as you can – see more on Mears below. Due to labour shortages and difficulty sourcing materials, responding to repair requests on time over winter may be challenging and reporting issues quickly will help. Emergency heaters are available from Mears if heating issues arise.

AFF sees incidents of flooding every year as a result of frozen pipes while families are away and the damage can often be significant as it can go undetected. To help prevent this, families and Service personnel are advised to keep the heating on low in properties while they are away. AFF would also advise that you check you have the right level of liability insurance and you ask a neighbour to keep an eye on the house for you while you’re away if possible.

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02   Update on the installation of electric vehicle charging points (EVCP) in SFA

Following a successful EVCP installation pilot in the south east, we are pleased to let families know that the scheme is now being rolled out UK-wide.

Families whose SFA has off-road parking or a dedicated garage within its immediate vicinity will be eligible to have an individual EVCP installed. If you have registered for an EVCP and your SFA meets the eligibility criteria, you will be contacted by Amey in the coming months to arrange for a survey and installation, where appropriate.

Subject to funding, estate-wide delivery of EVCPs is also being planned. Two estates – Woolwich and RAF Leeming – have been chosen for the initial delivery in late November, with other SFA estates also being considered. DIO will write to SFA families where estate delivery is planned to give full details before any works start.

If you have, or are in the process of buying, an electric vehicle and have not yet requested a charging point, please contact the helpdesk to register your interest. There are no costs to families for an EVCP installation, and grant funding cannot be claimed.

All electrical works in an SFA fall under JSP 375 Safe Systems of Work and all contractors must be Skilled Persons Certified. Due to the complexity of private contractors having to achieve this accreditation, it was considered unfair to impose these costs on Service families.

The decision was therefore taken to deliver EVCP installations through the current accommodation contract and future FDIS contracts.

Installing an EVCP though a non-approved contractor could result in an unsafe installation and lead to its removal, which may incur charges when you move out.

Further detailed guidance on EVCP installations can be found here.

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03   Improvements to SFA (Op Speed)

In July 2020, the government announced a £200m fiscal stimulus package to improve Service accommodation, of which £122m will be spent on improving SFA across the UK estate. This sum of money, which will be spent over 18 months, is in addition to £123m DIO had already allocated for SFA improvement work in this financial year and means that significantly more work can be carried out on SFA.  

Plans are already in motion for the following works to be carried out: 3,500 SFA will receive some upgrades, including  800 voids brought back on line roads and street lighting will be improved and old play parks replaced to improve the estate. Find out more here.

desktop survey has taken place and some physical surveys have already been carried out in empty SFA. However, some occupied SFA needed to have a physical survey to fully identify what work needs to be done and letters have been sent to the families in those SFA. If your SFA is identified for inclusion in the programme, you will then receive a letter detailing what work is to be done.  

In some cases, the work will be extensive and may require you to move out of the property while it is undertaken. Removals will be paid for and you should seek payment of Disturbance Expense (DE) in the normal way. 

AFF fully appreciates that there will be disruption to some families. However, we would encourage you to allow DIO and Amey access to your SFA where necessary to enable them to make the most of this extra funding which will help bring SFA up to the standard families would like to see as the norm.  

DIO will endeavour to give as much notice to families as possible and, where feasible, will try to take families situations into account. However, this work has to be done by the end of the next financial year or the money will be lost so it will not be possible to delay works. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Cat Calder: 

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04   Preventing Legionnaires’ disease

Although the UK has one of the safest water systems in the world, there are some slight risks that we all need to guard against. One of these is Legionella bacteria which can cause Legionnaires’ disease. While the risk of this bacteria in your home is very low, it is sensible to take the following precautionary action to maintain that position, particularly if you are returning home after a period of absence.

When returning to your house, please run your bath, shower and taps on hot and cold (hot first if a mixer tap) for a minimum of five minutes. This will flush through any form of bacteria and help prevent Legionnaires’ disease occurring.

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05   DIO information

See below for the latest updates from DIO, including an infographic showing the size and make-up of the SFA estate and the planned works for this financial year.

SFA Infographic 2020-2021

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06   Smart meters

If you live in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) you are entitled to request that your utility provider installs a smart meter. This will not need to be removed when you leave the property.

NB: a smart meter is different to a pre-payment meter, which MUST be removed before move-out to avoid facing a charge.

Find out more about installing a smart meter, and general information about utility bills here.

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07   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.

DIO has released its customer charter which lays out its commitment to all Service personnel and families occupying SFA to:

  • Improve the condition and standard of the SFA estate through further targeted investment;
  • Sustain the improved levels of maintenance and repair performance that have been seen over the last 18 months; and
  • Enhance the level of customer service it provides to Service families.

For more details click here.

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08   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.

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09   Lost external door keys

While the contract with Amey 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.

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10   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 Amey 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.

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11   Mears repairs timelines

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

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12   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 Amey to provide an alternative to the electric fan heaters (in the event of a boiler failure) and are delighted to report that Amey 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 Amey.

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!

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13   Reporting a fault to your SFA

  • 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.

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14   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.


  • 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.


  • 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).


  • 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.
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15   Appointment times

  • All day appointment option: 8am – 6pm
  • Morning appointment options: 8am – 1pm, 10am – 2pm (school run option), 11am – 3pm
  • Afternoon appointment option: 12pm – 6pm
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16   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.

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17   Families responsibilities

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.

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18   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.

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19   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 Amey Helpdesk – or your local maintenance provider- to report them.

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20   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.

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21   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 Amey Helpdesk and ask for them to be fitted.

If you have any issues or concerns, contact Cat Calder at

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22   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.

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23   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.

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