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COVID-19 Customer Update  19/03/21

Following the Scottish Government announcement on Tuesday, 16th March 2021, regarding continued COVID -19 restrictions, we are providing the following update.

Risk assessed compliance

As an organisation we continue to ensure that we have all the correct measures in place to deliver services to our customers.  Over the past year we have invested to ensure our team can work from home, providing additional communications systems and IT for this to happen.

Our offices remain closed to the public, with only a small number of staff in head office, for essential work to be carried out (e.g., post etc).

As a result of the first lockdown in March 2020, we have established a comprehensive risk assessed approach to ensuring our staff can work in the safest possible way and this will continue to shape how we work during this current lockdown period. The majority of our staff will continue to work remotely but will be fully operational, working to ensure the very best level of customer service at all times.

Site inspections and on site attendance

We plan to resume a phased return to site inspections on 26th April when travel restrictions are removed.

Where our staff are needed on site, they will have had risk assessments completed.  Where possible they will limit movement within common areas to outside core times in the day, to restrict interaction with others.  We would ask that all safe distancing measures for our staff are respected, when working on your site.

On site offices will be closed for access by homeowners and only our staff will be allowed access.

Please contact your Development Manager for information, as arrangements for each location/site may vary.

Suppliers and contractors

Our suppliers and contractors will work in compliance with Government Guidelines to deliver core services, repairs and maintenance.

We know that during this lockdown period, essential work is permitted ‘for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for’. This will be subject to the contractor’s own organisation’s measures and approach.

Planned improvement works remain suspended until further notice, other than for essential/urgent work, such as a roof refurbishment. This suspension will be subject to the requirements of future Scottish Government updates.  Please contact your Development Manager for confirmation as to whether any work already agreed is going ahead.

Communication routes

Communication routes from you to us remain active and diverts remain in place to ensure that communications are received and actioned.  You can therefore continue to contact James Gibb through the normal routes and be assured that the provision of core services, repairs and maintenance will continue.

Email communication

We would remind all homeowners that during this time, our aim is to communicate with you via email wherever possible.  We ask that homeowners, who have not already done so, contact us at enquiries@jamesgibb.co.uk to provide us with their email address. We recognise that some homeowners will not have this form of communication and you may wish to discuss with friends or family members, if they can assist.

James Gibb+ portal

We have also increased our communication flow via our website and request that as many homeowners as possible access their James Gibb+ portal, where you will receive all information regarding your account.

James Gibb+ accounts can be accessed via our website www.jamesgibb.co.uk.  You will need your account number and JG+ number, which can be found on your most recent invoice.

At James Gibb, we were hoping that by this time we would be reporting better news, but rest assured that as soon as Government restrictions allow, normal service will be resumed.  In the meantime, although we must limit contact to protect our staff and our customers, please know that James Gibb will continue to carry out the factoring service for your development.

We hope that our customers, clients and team are safe during these exceptionally difficult times.

Regards
Directors Office

FAQs

At James Gibb, we fully understand how difficult it can be to access relevant information when you most need it. To make life easier, we have collated the answers to the questions most frequently asked by homebuilders.

Should your question not be listed please contact Sandra Maitland - Business Development Director who will be happy to help.

Yes! James Gibb provides contract terms and conditions clarifying the terms of our appointment, which is adhered to in accordance with the development Deed of Conditions, Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011, our Written Statement of Services and Development Schedule.

James Gibb operates a main Trust Account for all developments. If applicable separate individual development Trust Accounts can be set up for maintenance/ sinking funds.

Properties under the management of James Gibb are inspected by a Development Manager assigned to the development on a regular basis throughout each year.

An annual site visit schedule is prepared following handover of a development and communicated to homeowners accordingly.   The visual inspection covers all common areas, including the fabric of buildings, internal stairwells, bin stores and landscaped areas etc. Any defects or issues are noted and if necessary, remedial action is taken. The Development Manager makes follow up inspections to ensure the remedial work instructed has been carried out to the highest standard.

On completion of the site visit, the Development Manager will complete an electronic Site Inspection Report, which confirms findings and actions to be taken, if required.   A copy of this report is available to existing homeowners via our client portal James Gibb+. Electronic copies of this report can also be made available to our homebuilder clients.  

Following handover of a complete development or a phase of a development, the appointed Development Manager will draft a 10-year maintenance programme and publish this for homeowners. A copy of the 10-year plan will also be made available to homeowners, particularly at an Annual General Meeting (AGM). 

Our proactive rather than reactive approach to maintenance programmes saves longer term costs for developments and helps homeowners understand what improvement works are required to sustain the common parts.

Unlike other property management companies, James Gibb operates an Out of Hours 24/365 Control Centre ready to take emergency calls 24 hours, 365 days a year. The centre is staffed with trained operatives capable of dealing with and escalating emergency calls during non-business hours. Also, our duty Development Manager is on call to assist and support the emergency call team to ensure that any emergency situations are managed appropriately.

James Gibb proactively arranges homeowner meetings. 

Depending on the Deed of Conditions and/or Development Management Scheme (DMS), we will call an official Annual General Meeting when the Deed of Conditions/ DMS allows us to which is generally when developments are complete. 

We do not wait until problems arise before arranging meetings. In some cases, developments may be handed over in phases, which may result in holding phased meetings with owners through to completion.  

Our key objective is to ensure that the factoring service is explained from the outset and to afford the homeowners the opportunity to start a building a working relationship from the outset. 

Yes! When managing any funds, budgets and accounts are required, James Gibb can arrange Budget Meetings and Year End Accounts Meetings with homeowners.

This service is particularly welcomed within our Retirement Sector.

Yes! Annual Risk Assessments are carried out in accordance with our development inspections and recorded within our electronic inspection reports, to ensure continued safety on each development.

James Gibb routinely retenders service contracts to ensure the highest service level delivery from subcontractors.  Core service contracts such as communal cleaning and grounds maintenance are retendered every 2-3 years which may be brought forward if required.  

We have excellent partnerships in place with our external Insurance and Utility Brokers to ensure that we are guided and assisted by the relevant experts in the market to secure the best contractual rates for these products.

We have an exceptional contractor and supplier on-boarding process which is managed by our Compliance Team.  It is important to us that we only use reputable sub-contractors who have adequate insurance and health and safety certification and accreditations such as compliance in Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Due to the volume of business James Gibb has, we can negotiate preferred rates from suppliers, e.g., Insurance products such as Buildings Insurance, Property Owners Liability Insurance, communal electricity and utility contracts, as well as other general core service supplies ranging from grounds maintenance to lift maintenance.  

James Gibb holds regular meetings with homebuilders to discuss future sites and highlight any potential PR issues on existing sites. These include site closure meetings; defect meetings and site start up meetings.

We also offer staff training for sales teams, via presentations and other training processes.

A float deposit is payable upon purchase of a property and is made either to the homebuilder or direct to James Gibb.

The level of the float is detailed within the estimate service charge budget which may differ based on a specific property type.

The float provides James Gibb with the initial funds to maintain the development until such time as we issue our service charge account.

The float is held by James Gibb until such time as an owner sells their property, at which point the float is refunded to them once the homeowner has settled their final account.

James Gibb assists many homebuilders in formulating the Deed of Conditions or reviewing them prior to final draft.

We can also help with site specifications, as we have great knowledge of what works and does not work on developments post construction. 

James Gibb operates a stringent handover process for completed or phased handover developments, which ensures all documentation is in place to ensure effective handover relationship with clients and homebuilder, thus avoiding any potential upsets following completion of the sites.   

We offer pre-handover guidance and have a supporting document to assist with ensuring that all requirements are considered in advance of handover. 

Phased handover

Phased handovers are handled by our dedicated Business Development and Operations teams who liaise with the homebuilder, usually site management or customer service representatives, to discuss and agree phased handover timelines and requirements.  

A programme of quarterly meetings is arranged for each phase of the development and as each phase is completed, a site handover procedure is set up to include representation from the homebuilder, James Gibb and the Maintenance Contractor, where applicable.

James Gibb gains a full understanding of the ‘phase by phase’ handover via communication with the development team regarding traffic management, construction segregation, health & safety and protection of completed phases. Also, we have expert knowledge of how a high standard of maintenance and place keeping, will be sustained during phase-by-phase handover.

Effective communication is essential throughout the process. In addition to the day-to-day liaison and to establish sharing of information, meetings are arranged in respect of each individual phase being handed over. This regular exchange of information allows Owners’ Committees and Steering Groups to be kept fully informed.

Our Business Development and Operations Teams maintains regular liaison meetings with the Developer and senior site staff post the phase handover, discussing any defects highlighted by the Development Manager or made via Owners Meeting’s etc. This communication seamlessly continues into the next phase handover.

Post-phased handover

James Gibb provides owners with a colour coded ‘phase drawing’ that details the areas being handed over and when. Accordingly, we provide a timeline to the owner of when property management and factoring costs will be initiated. This allows the end client to be aware of what they should expect to pay and when they should expect to pay it. The phase drawing is updated and made available on the James Gibb+ client portal.

Following final hand over, our dedicated Development Manager will visit and inspect the development and report back on standards of maintenance work and if required, will also report on any defects and liaise accordingly with the purchaser.

James Gibb provides the sales team with factoring sales packs, which includes our estimated service charge budget information following the contract being awarded. This is in the form of an Introduction Pack detailing our service levels.

On a large-scale phased site, James Gibb holds regular Information meetings with homeowners throughout the phased handover, keeping them informed of services and any defect management.

On completion of the development, James Gibb arranges an Annual General Meeting of all owners and attempts to form an Owners Association and Committee, providing owners with the opportunity to input to the management of their development.

Throughout the process and following homebuilder liaison meetings, we feedback relevant information to homeowners.

To tender for a Property Factoring contract, James Gibb requires:

  • A colour coded landscape drawing identifying plot numbers and site layout.
  • A copy of the Deed of Conditions is a necessity, together with the float level agreed.

Towards completion of the initial properties, we will require address listings for the owners.

At James Gibb, invoicing frequency is generally quarterly in arrears, which requires float deposits from all units within the development. The float is key to ensuring that we have suitable funding available to pay for services prior to our invoicing period.

If no float is in place, generally the development is invoiced in advance and cost is based on the service charge budget supplied at point of tender.

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