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Case Studies

Partnerships are often formed to address specific issues and may be short or long term. It is said that 'the key principles of partnership working are transparency, trust and openness, shared visions and values and regular communication between partners.' At James Gibb we fully endorse and live by these principles. 

Working together with our clients, we aim to develop bespoke property management and factoring strategies to match their specific requirements. All building projects are different; many have unique requirements and many require quite diverse approaches to property management and factoring. It is our aim to deliver these strategies to the full satisfaction of our partners.

Take a look at some of our most recent property management and factoring projects:

Understanding complex maintenance and factoring obligations 

Countesswells Estate is an exceptional community being developed in Aberdeen, which currently comprises six hundred and fifty homes, ranging from apartments, houses, and social housing properties, with a completed estimation of approximately three thousand homes. The overall development infrastructure has been designed to capture a significant amount of green amenity areas, providing a tranquil environment which is enjoyed by many, including James Gibb as the appointed factors for the development.

As the selected factor, James Gibb worked together with the lead homebuilder and associates to ensure that the complex requirements of the contract were considered prior to commencing the factoring agreement. This involved regular Project Team and Legal meetings, to ensure that pre and post construction was considered, but more so, advocating on behalf of homeowners who chose to purchase a home within the development.

Working together at the earliest stages of the development

Our early involvement allowed us to offer advice based on experience, particularly when considering installation of common parts, warranties, and ongoing future maintenance expenses. Involvement at the initial stages also helped us capture as much information as possible to ensure we assisted in preparing a tangible and realistic service charge budget to maintain and sustain the common parts, particularly over a progressive period – as we all know, nothing lasts forever, without proactive maintenance.

Infrastructure Area and Phase Area – separate service charges

Within Countesswells Estate, multiple homebuilders are developing parcels of land and within each phase, each homebuilder will choose to design and build the common parts, which sit separate from the infrastructure land. In accordance with the head Deed of Conditions and supplementary Deed of Conditions, the common parts require separate factoring management and service charges. This results in two separate factoring contracts – Infrastructure Area and Phase Area with a separate service charge for each. This has on occasion been challenging for homeowners to grasp during the handover process, as we often factor the Infrastructure Area, but the Phase Area may be delayed, depending on when the homebuilder chooses to handover the Phase.

Development Management Schemes

This is very different from how standard developments are created and we are now more often coming across Development Management Schemes (DMS) when tendering for contracts. A DMS offers more flexibility for freehold property management in Scotland and helps establish clearer expectation, obligations and decision-making processes for homeowners.

Communication has been an essential factor

Communication has been imperative throughout. Whilst brochures and welcome packs were designed to explain the variances between the two factoring maintenance contracts, we have had to be creative and innovative in designing alternative opportunities to help homeowners understand the factoring contract variances, including:

  • James Gibb business development representatives undertaking training sessions with homebuilder Sales staff to enhance their understanding of the variances in factoring contracts, which can then be better relayed to potential purchasers, in line with the marketing literature available.
  • Hosting information forums with homeowners, to explain contract variances along with homeowner obligations and respond to any questions or concerns.
  • Our Senior Development Manager, Jo Cooper arranged monthly walk-in surgeries for homeowners to meet with Jo personally, to discuss any matters relating to the factoring contracts.

The recent Countesswells’ Annual General Meeting held with homeowners was advantageous. Having insight and access to development information, allowing us to relay information on progress was hugely beneficial and welcomed by homeowners, as it is recognised that whilst homebuilders are still working on site, we consider it to be a mutual partnership to ensure we assist in delivering the highest possible standard of service at minimal cost to homeowners.

Associated services offered by James Gibb, regardless of development size and complexity:

  • Pre-Construction Legal Support (Deed of Condition stages) – Helping to design the Deed of Conditions.
  • Pre-Construction Technical Support – Helping ‘design teams’ establish affordable maintenance designs, as well as considering warranty agreements.
  • Sales Team Training – Understanding factoring obligations and charges to ensure sales negotiators are confident when discussing factoring maintenance charges.
  • Pre & Post-Handover – Customer service assistance and training to help establish working relationships and support networks in relation to communal area maintenance.

We are here to help and offer as much support as we can. If you wish to speak with a member of our Business Development Team to arrange a meeting to further discuss the above, please contact our representatives by email at or call on 0333 240 8325 (option 4).


James Gibb residential factors actively promotes the provision of high standards of service and operational best practice to all stakeholders and throughout the wider property management and factoring sector.


James Gibb doing it the right way

Joint working to create a bespoke factoring agreement at Commonwealth Village

The Commonwealth Village is a mixed, large-scale development based in the centre of Glasgow, which was initially purpose built to assist with accommodation for the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow during summer, 2014.

The development comprises seven hundred properties, consisting of beautiful triplex apartments, townhouses and standard houses and is inhabited by both private homeowners and social housing tenants. It is considered a technically built complex with extensive communal landscaping, which requires ongoing attention from skilled maintenance contractors. 

The overall development has an active Village Residents’ Group (VRG), whereby volunteers represent and assist with safeguarding the common parts and looking after the best interests of the residents including working with the appointed factor, and other external parties such as the local authority.

Village Residents’ Group review their position and set their objectives 

VRG members reached out to James Gibb following a decision by the private apartment block to dismiss their factor, who had been contracted by the homebuilders at the outset. The private apartment block is governed by a supplementary Deed of Conditions, which allowed homeowners to collectively decide to change their factor without having to consult with all other properties as well as providing the opportunity to think through the tender process, thus enabling them to create a bespoke factoring agreement.

The VRG wanted the same for the wider estate and together they discussed and created an appropriate tender process, which had good input from the residents and was designed to meet the needs and requirements of the estate as a whole.

James Gibb demonstrated factoring capabilities 

Our initial interaction with the VRG was in January 2021, during the global pandemic, whereby several homeowners expressed concerns that their relationship with their current Property Manager was breaking down and wished to discuss an opportunity which was afforded to the private supplementary phase.

Shortly after, an online virtual meeting was called by the VRG members which allowed James Gibb to provide an introduction as well as create the opportunity for the attending members to raise concerns and openly discuss what they wished to achieve from their Property Manager.

When asked for feedback on the service currently being provided, certain residents felt that the existing Property Manager was unprofessional; that there was a lack of communication with residents, they were slow to respond to enquiries, had limited knowledge of the development and overall was an impersonal factoring company.

Joint working created a bespoke factoring agreement

During the process of agreeing a bespoke factoring proposal, it was evident that time and planning was required, and indeed applied by James Gibb to ensure that we could fulfil the expectations of the residents. During this period, we took the opportunity to work with key representatives to establish their needs, and of course to ensure that we could deliver on their objectives.

In addition, particularly for the grounds maintenance contract, we engaged with the VRG and designed a tailored Grounds Maintenance Specification, outlining the works which would be undertaken by their selected Grounds Maintenance Contractor, as well as the frequency of the maintenance visits.

Throughout this process several virtual meetings were held and once we understood, agreed and finalised the contract expectations, James Gibb invited contractors to tender, particularly for communal grounds maintenance, play park maintenance, insurance products etc. and presented a comprehensive, bespoke factoring proposal, which was welcomed by the VRG.

During this stage, it was imperative that the Deed of Conditions was reviewed as there were some complex apportionment requirements which needed to be applied, to ensure service charges were apportioned properly and would be accurately reflected in the estimated service charge proposal, to ensure each homeowner/ resident could clearly identify what they were legally obligated to pay.

In addition, the VRG took the initiative and included a Maintenance/ Sinking Fund, whereby the factor collects regular contributions to be put aside in a separate bank account and used for future large-scale maintenance such as tree works, replanting works and etc.

What attracted the VRG to James Gibb? Eileen Smillie, Chair of the Village Residents Group said. “From the outset, James Gibb demonstrated a willingness to communicate and to engage with the Village Resident Group members, homeowners, and residents, especially during the pandemic. Whilst thinking through what we wanted to achieve from our factoring contract, James Gibb applied patience, offered support, attended site visits (when possible) and allowed us to work with them to ensure we had a say in the services being provided. They went ‘above and beyond’ to look after our interests and allowed us to have a voice. We were not rushed, and the time and patience applied by all parties involved in the process was beneficial. Whilst we recognise that a lot of work is still required to bring the development to the standard we want, it was good to have the opportunity to be part of the planning process to achieve this. Whilst we also took saving money into consideration, as James Gibb were far more competitive that the existing factor, we really wanted to ensure that we received a good service, and this was the most important part during the decision-making process.” 

Homeowner communication was a key element 

Once the VRG and James Gibb were happy and comfortable, both parties worked together to provide all homeowners, including the Social Housing Companies with James Gibb factoring information requesting feedback to determine if there was an appetite across the Development to change factors. This led to an initial homeowners meeting being held which offered the chance for homeowners, and social housing companies to attend to ask any questions. As this meeting was not quorate, as per the Deed of Conditions, the homeowners had the opportunity to recall a further meeting within a certain time-period and the homeowners who attended/ represented by proxy vote was considered the established quorum, which would allow voting to take place.

On the 16th of October 2021, a second meeting was held. The VRG along with homeowners, including those represented by proxy and James Gibb representatives, collectively agreed to dismiss the current Property Manager and appoint James Gibb residential factors.

Contract transferred to James Gibb 

The VRG issued a termination letter to the existing factor and once this was done, James Gibb communicated to arrange the transfer of the contract, which took place on 1st December 2021. Following the transfer, new contractors were appointed to undertake services and are currently working to bring the development up to a more maintainable standard. Regular development inspections are being carried out by James Gibb’s Senior Development Manager, Leanne Holt who also continues to work with the VRG and residents within the development.

Endorsement for James Gibb

Eileen Smillie, continued. “From the outset, the Village Residents’ Group were actively engaged with James Gibb. The Business Development Director we dealt with was receptive, flexible and invested in helping the homeowners. We were consulted with and very much part of the tender process. This helped us build a relationship with James Gibb. 

Our members worked tirelessly to generate support from the wider development and factoring in everyone’s participation, we successfully terminated our previous factor and appointed James Gibb. 

 The main reasons for changing factor were that James Gibb:

  • Was much more cost effective.
  • Offered a better quality of service provisions.
  • Demonstrated the ability to adequately factor a complex development like the Commonwealth, fully understanding the requirements to ensure the homeowners and residents receive a high standard of service.
  • Demonstrated the ability to work and support the homeowners. 

Since handover, we are starting to see the benefits of the change and we are hugely satisfied and grateful that we changed to James Gibb, which has been echoed by several residents. So much so, that I was personally presented with gifts and thank you cards from homeowners who were grateful for the efforts and work applied by all parties involved. 

With the scale of the development, we recognise that the VRG and James Gibb went over and above, which has continued, and we are happy that the working relationship has continued, which has been so much better than what we previously had.

 Now that the new factor is on site, whilst we recognise that some work is to be done which will be ‘work in progress’, we have noticed a difference and we hope that more residents will take pride in the Common Parts and their own properties to protect the overall amenity and aesthetics of the development, which of course helps sustain property values!” 

James Gibb doing it the right way

Proactive Management Strategy at Fairview Court, Retirement Living Development

James Gibb commenced management of Fairview Court, Milngavie in June 2020 from FirstPort. Upon meeting with the Residents and Core Group, it was evident that there were a number of projects which required to be carried out on site, to not only maintain the high value of the building, but also to better the facilities that were currently in place on site.

Transferring to James Gibb management with a healthy Maintenance Fund balance from contributions by all homeowners during the previous management, meant that homeowners would not require to pay out of their own pocket for these immediate upgrading works and we commenced the process of obtaining quotations and presenting these to the Core Group and wider Development.

Of course, during the initial takeover of the Development, we experienced several COVID 19 lockdowns and residents were understandably nervous about meeting collectively with the James Gibb Management Team to discuss the quotations that we had obtained and our proposals for betterment projects across the Development. As a result, we continued to meet with the Core Group only and assisted them to facilitate distribution of pertinent information, by way of a Newsletter, to all homeowners, to keep everyone informed of our progress and intentions on behalf of the Residents.

Between June 2020 and May 2022, we successfully carried out the following upgrade works at Fairview Court.

  • Upgrade to Warden Call System, to install a more technical and reliable system throughout the development communal areas and private properties
  • Upgrade to smoke sensors within each property (interlinked with the warden call system) and to conform to new Scottish Government fire guidelines
  • Internal re-decoration programme of all communal areas including the lounge, kitchen and fire escape stairwells providing a more inviting feel internally
  • Upgrade to the fire panel to a more up-to-date user-friendly system, as the original had become obsolete and replacement components were unavailable in the market
  • Tarmac repairs to address potholes in car park
  • Painting of white lines to distinguish car parking spaces in car park
  • Additional re-planting to bring green areas to life with some additional shrubs and flowers to create a more aesthetically pleasing garden environment
  • Changing storage heaters to more modern electric storage heaters throughout common areas, to save on electricity consumption.

By the end of 2022 James Gibb hope to have the following projects completed:

  • LED upgrade throughout development to provide cost savings on electricity consumption given the current market
  • Upgrade of the Guest Suite (including new beds, upgrade to décor and carpet and new soft furnishings)

To allow the Core Group and collective Homeowners in the development make informed decisions on the proposed projects, we implemented the following: 

  • Regular meetings held with the Core Group in a controlled and safe, socially distanced environment
  • ‘Tracker’ document used to keep track of progress made on each proposed project was presented to the Core Group monthly and was displayed on the Development Noticeboard
  • Obtained comparative costings for all projects in order that Homeowners understood we were committed to obtaining value for money quotations from reputable contractors
  • Regular budget meetings with a Finance Assistant in attendance, to advise on economic position and forecast changes in financials, which may impact available funds
  • Regular newsletter communications to Homeowners to keep everyone updated on the progress we were making and the changes they would see on site

We have received positive feedback from many residents within the Development regarding the changes we have implemented since commencing our management on site.

We have yet to hold a Development wide meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have an AGM scheduled for late-July where we will finally get to meet residents on site and introduce ourselves to the Homeowners in attendance. It is hoped that this will further embed the relationship between the Development and James Gibb and nurture the trust amongst Homeowners that James Gibb will manage their site with integrity, transparency and care.

James Gibb residential factors actively promotes honest, transparent and accountable Property Management and Factoring throughout the industry and always keeps homeowners fully informed.

Fairview Court endorsement of James Gibb residential factors 

“Two years ago, following extended frustration with our then Factors we decided to switch to LPM. It was a good move but bad timing, for it was on the eve of the company merging with another to form James Gibb Property Factors and the onset of the Covid19 lockdown. Despite the constraints imposed by the settling down of a new company and the severe restrictions of the pandemic, things worked out well then and have continued to do so. While on paper little had changed with Budgets set, service charges collected and Accounts presented, in practice there was a world of difference. There was direct communication and immediate attention to matters needing attention and partnership. Because Residents’ Meetings could not be held, the liaison was conducted through regular meetings / communication of a small Core Group of democratically elected representatives with the House and Area Manager resulting in a planned programme of maintenance and improvement, learning as we went along and with all residents / owners being kept fully in the picture. And, despite the operational difficulties, all kept within an estimated budget and closely monitored. Going forward projections are based on good factual history and effective and positive cooperation in a collaborative way. We even managed to make a decision collectively as homeowners to move to a visiting House Manager and have the associated cost of the House Managers Apartment removed, supported by LPM/James Gibb who would have supported either decision. This decision has already saved us costs. The net effect can be summed up in the word: confidence. Bad time? But a good move! Thanks again!” 

Howell Jones, Head of Steering Group, Fairview Court, Milngavie, Glasgow.

Emergency Out-of-Hours Service - Property Response 24
24 hours emergency support is critical in the provision of property maintenance and repair services, and it is vital that customers have immediate access to help and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

To facilitate this provision, James Gibb provides an emergency out-of-hours service for our customers, to ensure immediate access to information and support when it is needed. The service is provided on our behalf by Property Response 24 Limited (PR24) and operates when James Gibb offices are closed.

James Gibb ‘On-call Manager’ is always available for PR24 liaison, should additional information be required on any emergency calls they receive. When answering customer calls, PR24 utilise call scripting software expertly compiled by experienced development managers at James Gibb, to ensure each call is routed through to the correct engineer, maintenance team or specialist contractor.

The main benefit to those customers who receive and pay for the out-of-hours service, is that a directory of James Gibb contractors is provided to PR24 for their development, which includes several Insurance Contractors, who have been approved to manage claims by our Buildings Insurance provider Protector, meaning that Insurance Claims are dealt with smoothly throughout the process.

Case Study - Water ingress emergency

A call was taken by PR24 on a Friday evening. The call was from an owner who had water ingress into their property, and they suspected it was from the flat above. Within an hour, PR24 received a further call from another property within the same block reporting the same issue. Both owners confirmed they had tried to contact the owners of the above property; however, they were not at home.

PR24 immediately contacted the James Gibb ‘On-call Manager’ who accessed a contact number for the homeowner and was immediately able to alert them to the issue. The homeowner contacted a keyholder who gave contractors access to the property.

James Gibb nor our contractors have powers to access a private property. If the water ingress had continued without access being given, an enforcement order would have been required from the Local Council and ultimately this would have meant a delay in gaining access. There is also a possibility that forced entry would have been required and this would have caused further damage to the property. As soon as access was provided, contractors turned off the water, the source of the ingress was identified, and temporary repairs were carried out. 

When the James Gibb Office opened on the Monday morning the activity report received from PR24 detailing all calls handled over that weekend, provided all relevant information confirming that the Insurance Claim for all three properties had already been raised and duly notified to the insurers by the contractor.

The capability, efficiency and speed of action demonstrated by PR24 proves the value of our emergency out-of-hours service, without which the water ingress would have continued, more properties would have experienced damage and the cost of the claim would have increased substantially.

James Gibb believes in providing a superior level of service and care for our customers which exceeds their expectations and the provision of an efficient and effective out-of-hours service via PR24, is evidence of this.

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James Gibb doing it the right way
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