Improvement Work Handbook 

1. The people working on your home 

2. Contact and emergency out-of- hours contact

3. Health and safety 

4. Security procedures

5. Working in your home

6. Preparing for internal works 

7. Basic checks for internal works 

8. Preparing for external works 

9. A step-by-step guide

10. Security procedures

11. Frequently asked questions


The people working on your home

Our aim is to provide an excellent service to all our customers, every time.

Our sites are all registered with the ‘Considerate Constructors’ Scheme, a voluntary scheme where construction organisations must follow a strict code ofpractice to:

• reduce disturbance
• consider the needs of everyone affected by the building process
• consider the surrounding environment.

We understand the upheaval and disruption which work in your home can cause. A Resident Liaison Officer (RLO) will visit you regularly before work starts and throughout.

Resident Liaison Officer (RLO)

Your RLO is your main point of contact before we start the work on your home, and while work is being carried out. They will:
• organise appointments for work to be carried out
• make arrangements to deal with any special needs you may have.

They will visit you regularly to:
• make sure everything is running smoothly;
• tell you about any changes
• respond to any questions or concerns you may have.

Remember: Your RLO is there to help you through the work. They will treat any information you give them as strictly confidential.

Capital Project Advisers, Six Town Housing

Working on behalf of Six Town Housing, the Capital Project Advisers work closely with the contractor to ensure the work in and around your home runs smoothly and are on site regularly to deal with any issues. Should you have any queries or concerns that the site staff cannot resolve for you please contact your Project Adviser whilst on site or by telephoning Six Town Housing 0161 686 8000.

Site Manager

The Site Manager has overall control of the whole programme of work to the homes covered by this contract.

They will deal with all on-site issues, co-ordinate the work, design the programme of work and manage the site team and site office. They will make sure everything is running smoothly and respond to any questions or concerns you may have.

Please feel free to contact your RLO/Site Manager during the work if you have a problem.

Trades people

While the work is being carried out, you will come across a range of tradespeople who will carry out various parts of the work. These may include electricians, joiners, plasterers, heating engineers, plumbers, labourers and so on.

We will employ some of these tradespeople, and others may be
sub-contracted to work for us on this particular project.

The work planned for your home

The work that is planned for your home may be different to that of your neighbours. It may depend on how old your property is or its design and will take into account any refurbishments you may have carried out in your home yourself.

Not every property will be having works to them. Contractors and Six Town Housing will agree a programme of works and a timescale that will be explained by your RLO.

Remember: Everyone working on the site will have identification for you to check, and will be wearing fluorescent vests so they can be seen easily. Contact your RLO to check they are who they say they are.


Contact and emergency out-of- hours contact

We will make sure that we leave your home safe at the end of the day. If, however, you do experience a problem with any of the work we are carrying out in your home, you should use our emergency call-out procedure.

Please be aware that only certain circumstances are classed as emergencies, such as the following.
• A major water leak after we have installed a new service or repaired, or replaced existing services.
• A gas leak after we have installed a new service or repaired or replaced existing services.
• Loss of heat or hot water, after we have installed a new service or repaired or replaced existing services.
• Total loss of electricity, after we have installed a new service or repaired or replaced existing services.
• Locks to new outside doors not working.
• New windows not closing properly.

Please contact a member of the site team for any help that is not an emergency during working hours of 8.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.00am to 3.30pm on Fridays.

You should also contact Transco if there is a gas leak on 0800 111 999.


Health and safety

Your health and safety is very important to us, so please make sure that you and your family are aware of the following health and safety issues.

Children

For their own safety and to prevent accidents, please keep children way from all work areas, including scaffolding, tools, materials, rubbish and skips.

Pets

Building work can upset pets. They can become distressed, injure themselves or cause accidents. Please make sure that you control your pets and keep them away
from work areas. Pets are the tenants responsibility at all times. If workers need access to the exterior of your property please note gates may need to be left
open and it is your responsibility to keep all pets secure.

Dust

Some of the work will cause dust. This will not be dangerous, and will be for short periods only. To reduce the amount of dust, please keep your windows and doors closed wherever possible. Our workers will do all they can to reduce dust and will clean up after each day’s work.

Scaffolding

If we put up scaffolding, please do not tamper with it, alter it, or climb up or onto it. Please take extra care when entering and leaving your home.


Security procedures

Please follow any instructions on signs or that the site team give you.
• Please check that any workers entering your property are wearing an identification badge.
• Please make sure that you look after your valuables and put them somewhere safe.
• Please remove any personal items, pictures, mirrors or ornaments from the room where work is being carried out.

How to recognise a contractor

All genuine visitors to your home will carry an identification (ID) card or badge. It is extremely important that you check the identification card of all contractors before allowing them to enter your home.

Fire procedures

• Please make sure that there is a clear exit available to you, your family and our workers at all times.
• Never remove or tamper with any fire extinguishers that may be left in your home.
• Please do not try to put out a fire yourself.
• If there is a fire, leave the property immediately and stand on the other side of the street in front of your home. Make sure you contact the fire brigade and the Resident Liaison Officer from your contractor.
• Do not return home until the fire brigade tells you that it is safe to do so.


Working in your home

What to expect – internal works

Dust sheets are used by contractor.

Depending on the works, there may be a lot of dirt, dust and noise, and your home may sometimes become very untidy. Our workers will protect your carpets and other
furnishings by using clean dust sheets.

Our workers will make sure that they clear away all the materials at the end of each day and leave your home safe and tidy.

There will be various trades people working in and around your home, and sometimes there may be more than one. The work may not always be continuous and there may be days when no-one will be working in your home. Your RLO will keep you informed by completing your resident diary.

Certain trades people may need to turn off your water, electricity or gas, but they will always turn them back on at the end of every working day.

If you have any specific needs (for example, for a medical condition you have) and need to have the services connected earlier or any special arrangements made, please talk to your RLO.

If we are fitting a new central heating system, we will aim to have this up and running within a day. However, sometimes we may not be able to leave you with full facilities. If this is the case, we will leave you temporary heating if necessary.
If temporary cooking, washing and heating facilities are available, we will discuss them with you.

We realise the work can be very disruptive, but we’ll do our best to help you cope. We’re sure you’ll be really pleased with the work and realise it was worth it!


Preparing for internal works

Here is a quick guide on preparing each room before we start work in your home.

Take care of your belongings

• Please make sure that you pack up all valuables, personal items and ornaments.
• Remove pictures and mirrors from walls and store any ornaments safely so they don’t break as a result of any vibration.

If you are having a new kitchen

It is your responsibility to:
• Empty the kitchen cupboards.
• Clear floors and work surfaces.
• Take down any kitchen curtains or blinds, including fittings and poles.
• Take up any carpets or flooring that you want to keep.
• Depending on the work, your RLO will discuss with you if any appliances need to be moved.

If you are having a new bathroom

• Make sure that all toiletries are packed away and stored in another room.
• Remove any flooring and fittings that you want to keep, like cabinets, toilet-roll holders and so

If you are having a new central-heating system or electrical works

• A representative from the Heating Team will visit you to discuss any preparation that may be required to enable them to complete the work efficiently.
• Make sure you pull carpets and rugs away from the walls which will be affected (your site team will confirm this).

Remember to keep any daily essentials to hand, such as tea and coffee, your kettle, microwave and basic cutlery. If you require assistance speak to your Resident Liaison Officer.


Basic checks for internal works

To avoid any inconvenience while we are carrying out work on your home, the contractor will check the following.
• You have hot water.
• The gas supply is on.
• Your central heating is working
• Fridges and freezers are plugged in.
• Cookers are connected.
• Property is secured (if we are the keyholder).

Your Resident Liaison Officer will call at the end of every working day while we are carrying out major work to your property.


Preparing for external works

• Please remove any garden furniture, ornaments or other personal items you have around your front and back doors and along pathways.
• If you have any plants that are within 2 metres of any wall, or within the line of any scaffolding, please remove them. If you cannot remove them, please cut them back to reduce the amount of damage caused.
• Please remove any vehicles, caravans or other obstructions on your driveway that will prevent the progress of the work.
• While we are working outside, please make sure that you keep all windows and doors closed and do not hang out any washing.
• If you have a garden pond, you should cover it while we are carrying out the work.

If your external works includes roofing please note:
• In most cases, the roof void will become open to the elements for a short period of time which may allow dust and debris into your loft space. We will try to reduce the effects of this. As part of the works, loft insulation will be fitted. We would ask that you remove all personal possessions and valuables from your loft prior to the works starting.
• During the roofing work we will need to temporarily disconnect your gas fire, however your heating and hot water will be maintained. Additional heating will be supplied upon request. Remember: If you cannot manage to move anything yourself, we can help you. Please contact your Resident Liaison Officer who will talk to you about how we can help.

Remember: If you cannot manage to move anything yourself, we can help you. Please contact your RLO.


A step-by-step guide

The following steps tell you what will happen during the work.

Step 1 – We will send you an introduction letter informing you who your contractor will be.

Step 2 – We will carry out a ‘condition survey’ in your home. If we are going to replace your kitchen, a kitchen designer will design it with you.

Step 3 – If you are having internal works you will receive an invitation to an Open Day where the works to your home will be confirmed. You will also
have the opportunity to make any choices where applicable.

Step 4 – You will receive this handbook. Before we start work, your RLO will carry out an induction. They may take photos of all the work areas, and will discuss how you should prepare for the work. If you haven’t already made your choices where applicable, you will be given the opportunity to do so.

Step 5 – We will send you a letter about 14 days before we start any work,
giving you a ‘provisional’ start date.

Step 6 – You will receive a letter about 7 days before the work starts
confirming the exact start date.

Step 7 – 24/48 hours before work starts on your home, your RLO will contact you to make sure that you have made all the preparations ready for the work to start and issue you with your resident diary.

Step 8 – We will carry out the work to your home. Your Resident Liaison Officer will regularly visit you.

Step 9 – We will inspect your home after we have completed all the work. We will give you advice on how to use any new systems that we have installed. We will also ask you to fill in a customer satisfaction questionnaire.


Security procedures

By working together, we can reduce the amount of disruption to your home.

We understand that you expect the highest level of service and that you are entitled to hold us to our promises.

At the same time, we need you to help make the work to your home go as smoothly as possible.

What you can expect from us

You can expect us:
• to treat your home with respect;
• to tell you about all the issues that affect you;
• to consider any personal issues and arrangements that affect your normal living arrangements (for example, disabilities, pets and nightshift workers);
• not to start work before 8am or to finish after 5pm, unless you agree;
• to keep appointments;
• not to swear or smoke in your home;
• to tell you, where possible, at least one day before if we cannot keep an appointment;
• to use clean dust sheets or pvc protective floor film (or both);
• to help you move heavy furniture or other items, if necessary;
• to remove all rubbish arising from the work;
• not to leave you without services longer than necessary;
• where children under 16 are at home we will only ever enter your property when there is a responsible adult present;
• to carry out work to a high standard;
• to make sure you can get in and out of your home at all times; and
• to deal with all complaints fairly.


Frequently asked questions

Will this work affect my rent?
No. Your rent is set by a government formula based on the local average earnings and local house values.

How will I know what day the work is starting?
You will receive a letter telling you the exact start date about 2 weeks before the work begins.

Who can I speak to about the work?
You should contact your Resident Liaison Officer (RLO) first.

What happens if I have a problem?
If the problem occurs during working hours, speak to your RLO. If it’s out of hours, please refer to page 4.

I work long hours or shifts, what arrangements can I make for you to get into my home?
We will ask you to make arrangements either through a neighbour or family member. Please discuss this with your RLO. Alternatively you can leave a key with us.

We will be away on the planned start date. Will we miss out on the work?
As long as you can give us enough notice, we will try to move your start date.

Can I change my mind once I have chosen colours and styles?
We provide choice sheets and will give you a reasonable period of time for you to think about your choices.

We cannot move our own furniture/belongings. Will someone be able to help us?
Under certain circumstances, you can arrange this through your RLO.

I do not want the workers using my facilities. Where will they go?
We will provide facilities for all workers close to the area of work. It is prohibited for workmen to use your facilities.

How will I be able to identify the contractors?
They will be wearing an identification badge.

Will I be left with cooking and washing facilities?
We will connect all services at the end of each working day. If this is not possible, we will make other arrangements.

How will I know how to use my new systems?
Once we have completed the work, we will show you how to use your new systems and give you user instructions.

I have pets, and don’t want them getting out of the property. What should I do?
It is your responsibility to keep your pets safe. Please keep them away from work areas or make arrangements for them to go somewhere else. If workers need access to the exterior of your property please note gates may need to be left open and it is your responsibility to keep all pets secure.

What will happen if any of my belongings are damaged or go missing?
It is your responsibility to be present while we carry out work in your home. You should pack your valuables away safely while we carry out the work. However, if you need to complain, our complaints procedure is set out on page 17.

Members of my family suffer with breathing difficulties. How can you stop the house from getting dusty?
Due to the nature of the work involved, it is very difficult to stop the dust completely. With your help, we will try to reduce the amount of dust by closing all windows and doors. If you are severely affected by the dust, you could spend the day with a neighbour or member of your family. In severe cases alternative housing maybe available or if you just need to escape for the day, daily respite. All of these can be discussed with your RLO.

I have a baby and need to be able to use heating and water at all times. Will this be possible?
We will provide this wherever possible, but if we can’t we will make other arrangements.

Repairs Direct, Six Town Housing 

6 Knowlsey Place, Angouleme Way, Bury, BL9 0EL
Tel: 0161 686 8000
Daytime repairs: 0161 686 8368
Out of hours emergency repairs helpline: 0808 144 5368