As I sit at home watching a beautiful summer rain storm coming down though my French doors and having read a horror story about someone’s nursery being flooded I am reminded of the importance of proactive maintenance and why it is such an important part of property management.
Lightening Protection (yes there is such a thing!)
With the event of 50,000 bolts of lightning over the weekend my first thought turns to the properties that we manage at MIH and the requirement to have lightening protection. When this is included in a risk assessment report, my heart sinks as I know that the requirement to have this will need to be explained to clients who nearly always seem to think this is a bit of a joke.
In the first instance no one seems to know what it is. As a seasoned property manager with some experience, I know that it is the installation of metal conductors on the roof which will direct any lightening away from the building and red
However, how likely is this to happen?
I must admit that I am not aware of this ever happening, although happy for someone to prove me wrong. It is also a little confusing as the installation needs to conform to British Standards, which are slightly different to EU standards.
Undeniably, with Brexit, the EU Standards may no longer be relevant but safety is safety isn’t it so which do you choose? Lucky for MIH, we have had good advice on this and are in the process of installing a lightening [rotection system at one of our properties, which the Directors agreed to having had the benefit of our experience and a good explanation from one of our consultants.
It may seem a little extreme but this proactive approach means that our client will not have to be concerned of any risk in the future.
Good housekeeping and gutters
I have previously written about the importance of good housekeeping of your own installations to mitigate the risk of leaks between flats and I attach the same level of importance to ensuring that we as Managing Agents manage the communal areas in the same way.
With this in mind, I am conscious of the importance of making sure that box gutters, gutters, hoppers and drains are regularly cleared bearing in mid their vulnerability in a storm.
Often we are faced with the difficulty of accessing high level gutters and therefore it is imperative that you have the right contractor who will work with you to find a way to “make it happen”. No mean feat on a high-rise building, but perhaps another reason for ensuring that you install a “man -safe system” when carrying out roof works or abseil hooks so that contractors can safely access the area.
In the same way, we have recently taken to carry out a full drainage survey when taking on properties that have not had one for some time. Although this may seem frivolous if there isn’t an existing issue, where a building has had lots of building works in flats, as invariably most of our buildings have, it is likely that building materials have been deposited in the main drainage-(in some cases we have even found materials from the original developers, which have come back to haunt us).
These two measures mean that we often can prevent overflowing gutters and drains which can cause water ingress during a deluge of rainwater and stop the ruin of a nursery. For that matter it also prevents unnecessary claims on the building insurance which can lead to an increased insurance premium for all.
Stopping a stopcock catastrophe
Recently, when carrying out maintenance on communal water tanks, we found that the main stopcocks at the property could not be switched off. Much like the individual stop cocks within flats which you will need to be able to shut off when carrying out works to your taps, hot and cold water systems or even installing a washing machine/dishwasher, the main stop cocks need to be in good working order.
In this case, we were lucky that we were able to ascertain a problem before it became an issue and have arranged for all stop cocks to be eased and going forward will check these on a regular basis. A simple check can mean all the difference between a 100k claim and something that is “de minimus.”
At MIH we pride ourselves at always trying to anticipate the unknown and by taking proactive action we are often able to mitigate issues before they arise. We also look to regularly remind our owners and their tenants of what proactive action they can take to avoid damage to their homes and to avoid causing damage to others.
These are just some of the things that you can do to protect your property but there are many others such as regularly cleaning out of trickle vents, cleaning balcony outlets and maintaining windows. If you feel that you could benefit from MIH’s proactive approach to your property or want to know about preventative measures do not hesitate to get in touch with us.