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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

External Walls and Cladding Update

External Wall Systems and Cladding Update

Further to our previous updates to you regarding External Wall Systems and Cladding, we are keen to bring you further information as it becomes available. To offer some context, we have provided a summary below:

Homeowner Concerns

Many homeowners had concerns regarding the costs of carrying out individual property surveys/EWS1 for developments over 11 meters, where combustible external wall systems may be in place. Concerns also existed over the existing apathy and resultant delays in homeowners reaching the necessary agreements required to authorise a survey to be undertaken.

James Gibb assists our homeowners with Single Block Surveys

As not considered part of the property managers’ remit, many property managers nationally refused to assist homeowners throughout the process. However, at James Gibb we were only too happy to help. We assisted by working together with homeowners and in some cases acting on each homeowner’s behalf we approached the insurer for support.  On many developments, agreement amongst homeowners was reached, surveys were instructed, paid for and successfully carried out. Completed surveys are published at our online customer portal James Gibb + for our homeowners to review and digest.

Survey Results

On various developments, surveys returned with no issues highlighted, some with minor issues to be addressed and within many developments the surveys returned a B2 rating or other, which confirmed remedial work was required. Consideration was then required as to how best to address the remedial work. The options for remedial work are as follows:

  • Liaison with the Homebuilders

It may be that the homebuilder will confirm the development was built within the building standards at the time. To challenge this will require the involvement of a legal team and authorisation by the collective homeowners. James Gibb contacted homebuilders and requested feedback on their position.

On each occasion the surveys were provided to the homebuilder if they were still in existence. The report was also provided to the local authority, insurer and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

  • Scottish Government Intervention 

James Gibb have registered all developments which have had a survey completed where remedials are required, to the Scottish Government Single Building Survey registration process. We await confirmation of the Scottish Government’s position regarding funding available. 

We have held meetings with the Scottish Government regarding three developments, where additional extensive surveys are being considered for funding by the Scottish Government and/or consideration of remedial funding in the future phases of the Scottish Government programme. 

For those developments not included in the pilot phase of the Scottish Government programme, it is expected that during August, following the initial pilot, the Scottish Government will consider other developments registered.

James Gibb can appoint a Project Manager to manage this process, as we are facility managers and not specialists in projects of this scale. We do not have the insurances in place for projects of this magnitude.

The other issue highlighted to the Scottish Government is that James Gibb and other property managers nationally, are experiencing problems in sourcing contractors who are willing to become involved in EWS work. This is the position across the UK, following discussions with English and Welsh property managers. James Gibb sought advice of the Scottish Government in assisting with these challenges which are not unique to our developments, but to many hundreds of other developments across the UK. We continue to attempt to source contractors that can assist with remedial work of this nature.

 

Government Announcements

On 22nd July Westminster announced that buildings under 18 meters may now not require an EWS1 form for lending purposes. However, RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) are considering their position following this announcement and how they will react via their surveyors and UK lenders. A further announcement is expected in the next few days. It should be noted that the Scottish Government are considering their position following this press release. 

We await further information, but this could assist significantly with many developments on the James Gibb portfolio and proves again that we remain at the forefront of change, across the property management sector.

 

At James Gibb we recognise the frustrations and stress this issue continues to create for many of our homeowners and we continue to assist wherever we can. This is a unique situation, ever moving, day by day and causing so many challenges for all involved. 

We do hope that this information is helpful. Should you require additional information or assistance, please contact our office.

 

James Gibb residential factors provide residential and commercial clients with advice on legislative and regulatory change and issues of concern or interest within the Property Management and Factoring business sector.

 

James Gibb doing it the right way 

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

Aberdeen

2 Thistle Street
Aberdeen 
AB10 1XZ

aberdeen@jamesgibb.co.uk

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Bellahouston

Bellahouston Business Centre
423 Paisley Road West
Glasgow, G51 1PZ

glasgow@jamesgibb.co.uk

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Dundee

Gemini Crescent
Dundee Technology Park
Dundee DD2 1SW

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4 Atholl Place
Edinburgh
EH3 8HT

edinburgh@jamesgibb.co.uk

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65 Greendyke Street
Glasgow
G1 5PX

glasgow@jamesgibb.co.uk

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