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.
A desktop survey has taken place and some physical surveys have already been carried out in empty SFA. However, some occupied SFA will need to have a physical survey to fully identify what work needs to be done and letters will be going out to those SFA in the next few weeks. 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: email@example.comBack to top
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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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:
For more details click here.Back to top
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
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.Back to top
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.Back to top
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
Please call the Mears help line to report issues on the 24/7 help line 0800 0324547Back to top
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!Back to top
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
Each reported repair is given a priority according to the nature of the fault.
Emergency (make safe resolution only):
Wind and weatherproof:
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
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
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
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.Back to top
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to top
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
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.