When running a Management Department, it is vital to have a preferred supplier list of contractors who you can rely on to carry out works professionally, at a realistic cost and in a timely manner.
There are numerous sources to help you find the type of contractor you are looking for:
Have friends, family or acquaintances had maintenance works or refurbishments carried out at their properties? If so, can they recommend contractors to you, knowing they are passing on to you a reliable contractor? Word Of Mouth can be some companies’ prime source of contracts. Many companies will be involved in some form of networking group, such as BNI and 4Networking. Again this is a great form of recommendation.
Where would we be without the Internet? With its vast capability to allow us to search for anything and everything, anywhere in the world we would surely be lost without it! However, we need to be cautious when searching and not allow ourselves to get in ‘Yellow Pages Mode’ and select the first company on the list. We need to approach the Internet with mentality as if we were speaking to a friend and have companies and contractors recommended to us.
I find the most effective way to source contractors on the Internet is to find those with a good review policy. There are several sites to use, such as Google Places, www.freeindex.co.uk and www.mybuilder.com
A company with a review policy gives the impression they are selling a good, reliable service and are happy to allow customers and clients to share their views to the world. Check the latest reviews; how was the service, what is the date of the latest review, how may reviews are listed.
Obviously, when it comes to sourcing an accredited contractor, i.e. Gas Engineer or Electrician we have the availability of their certified bodies websites:
On these we can check a company name, engineer registration number and/or company registration. This allows us to check the contractor is who they say they are and also confirms exactly what works they are qualified to carry out. (Please note: when a gas engineer is Gas Safe registered, it does not necessarily mean they can carry out all works). Always check qualifications on these sites before instructing an engineer with any works.
A story in the Express & Star newspaper in 2011 published the following article of a plumber’s botched job which wrecked a bungalow
A plumber from Wolverhampton, who removed a gas meter although he was not qualified to do so, was responsible for an explosion that left a man on fire and destroyed a house, a court heard.
Self-employed Peter Naylor, 61, removed the meter while trying to repair a water stopcock at a bungalow in Wolverhampton last December. The court heard that Naylor was not on the Gas Safe Register.
The resulting gas leak ignited and caused a blaze that left 66-year old resident John Davies with 21 per cent burns to his face, neck and hands. Mr. Davies had to rescue his nine-year old grand-daughter from a bedroom. She was unharmed but the bungalow had to be demolished later.
Mr Naylor believed he had sufficient basic knowledge to work with gas, but he was not authorised to do this and did not follow proper safety precautions.
Naylor appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court on 18 July and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was given a ten-month suspended prison sentence. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £2000 in costs.
In mitigation, Naylor said he had no previous safety convictions and deeply regretted the injuries and damage that resulted from his actions. He told the court that he did not appreciate the enormity of the gas work he had carried out and, as a result, he failed to realise that he needed to be on the Gas Safe Register to remove the boiler
Arrange An Interview:
Once you are satisfied with the contractor you have sourced, you need to carry out an interview, be it in person or by telephone to ensure all necessary paperwork is available at request. All contractors must supply Professional Indemnity Insurance/Public Liability Insurance and accreditation details for you to check upon before instruction. We hold these details along with contact details in our Contractor File and have procedures in place to collect renewed documents to ensure all works are continuously covered.
A rapport between both parties is built during this process and confirmation is given as to how each works.
As an agent we will instruct a contractor at this stage to carry out a small job. This work will then be checked upon by one of our current contractors who can advise us on the level of professionalism of the works and confirm if we should continue to refer maintenance issues to them.
Being a Property Manager involves speaking to contractors several times and day, on a daily basis and it is imperative we have a good working relationship. As well as having a good understanding of each other, dealing with contractors is very educational; almost every day I will learn something new which can be passed onto tenants to help keep maintenance issues at a low level.
Helen Deeley has worked in the property and property maintenance capacity for over 8 years, joining the Concentric/Lawson’s team in 2009.
From a history of being responsible for organisation of contractors, projects and works on factories and commercial buildings for a large corporate maintenance holding company, and then working in partnership with local council, housing department in the regenerations of housing. Here she personally handled the refurbishment of run down vacant properties in the local borough.
Since joining the Lawson’s/Concentric team, Helen has worked her way through the ranks and now enjoys managing the HUB, a collection of property management experts, property inspectors and contractors to manage all the properties throughout the UK for both companies.
Helens organisational and teaching/management skills have allowed her to excel in this role, and is now moving into the capacity of Trainer for the group.
Her wealth of experience is a great benefit to the team and our landlords and shines through in the numerous videos, blogs and articles that she writes.
Property Management Manager-Concentric Lettings