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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

Changes in Law Domestic Smoke Alarms

At James Gibb, we continue to monitor any amendments or changes in property law which may affect our customers. Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London, a Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety was established to review Scotland’s building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. This legislation will ensure that everyone in Scotland has the same level of protection whether they own or rent their home.

We can confirm that the Scottish Government has issued new legislation in regard to changes regarding smoke alarms in domestic properties. This was originally to be in place by February 2021 but as a result of logistical issues resulting from COVID-19, this has been delayed until February 2022. The information relating to the common parts/areas of blocks and stairwells, which we would manage on behalf of the homeowners is as follows: In a shared property such as a tenement or block of flats, there is no requirement for different properties to be linked to each other. There is no requirement for alarms to be fitted in communal areas such as entry halls and stairways. Any change to smoke detectors in common areas requires full consultation with owners, as per the Property Factors Act 2011. This is additional work and outwith the core service charges but one with which we can assist homeowners. In regard to your own home, there is legislation in place and owners will have to adhere to the information provided by the Scottish Government. We have provided some of the information for you here.

All homes will be covered by the new standard, as it is important that all homes should be safe for occupants regardless of tenure. It will be the property owner’s responsibility to meet the new standard, however, the legal duty to enforce the standard rests with local authorities. Where owners are unable to meet the standard, it is not a criminal offence. The standard requires; one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes; one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings; one heat alarm installed in every kitchen; all alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked. Where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance (such as boilers, fires (including open fires) and heaters) or a flue, a carbon monoxide detector is also required which does not need to be linked to the fire alarms. The requirement is to have all smoke and heat alarms interlinked. You may not hear the alarm closest to the fire but, by having an interlinked system, you will be alerted immediately.

Any costs will be the responsibility of homeowners and landlords, not factors. We estimate that the cost for an average three-bedroom house which requires three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector will be around £220. This is based on using the type of alarms that you can install by yourself without the need for an electrician for installing a hardwired alarm.

We have been working with one of our preferred suppliers and we can pass their information direct to you (contact us via enquiries@jamesgibb.co.uk or call 0333 240 8325). This will assist in avoiding any unscrupulous tradesman who may take advantage of this new regulation. We will also provide further information regarding the supplier via our normal communication channels. Separate information will follow for those involved in our retirement developments.

Out of Hours Emergency. Call us on 0333 240 8325 where our helpline operators will assist you

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