Servicing, Testing and Compliance

Gas Safety

As a Landlord Rural Housing have a legal responsibility for the safety of our tenants in relation to Gas Safety and by Law the Association must  –

  • Repair and Maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances
  • Ensure an annual gas safety check to service the boiler and flue
  • Keep a record of each safety check

The above actions will help to prevent potentially life threating problems associated with gas appliances such as Carbon Monoxide poisoning from happening. You can not smell or taste Carbon Monoxide  and it can kill without warning.

All the associations Gas Appliances must be checked by a Gas Safe registered Engineer and as a tenant it is essential that access is granted to the Association and its Engineers. The service must be carried out every 12 months and tenants will receive and appointment in advance of the 12 month certification expiry. If tenant fail to permit access the association may be forced to take legal action to force entry.

5 Year Fixed Wire Electrical Tests    

On a five year cycle the measured term electrical contractor for each geographical area will carry out a NICEIC Periodic Inspection and submit a report to the Association.  This inspection will check all electrical outlets and circuits, including the mains powered smoke alarms.

Any urgent items noted on the inspection will be completed by the contractor on that inspection visit, with authorisation by a member of staff from the Maintenance Department.

During each Change of Tenancy the Association will also carry out a NICEIC Periodic Inspection by the appointed measured term electrical contractor. The Association will ensure all properties have a mains powered smoke alarm fitted.


Legionella

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. Hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable (ie suitable growth temperature range; water droplets (aerosols) produced and dispersed; water stored and/or recirculated; some ‘food’ for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm etc) then the bacteria may multiply thus increasing the risk of exposure.

Rural Housing Responsibilities

Rural Housing has a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants. The risks from hot and cold-water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. A typical ‘low risk’ example may be found in a small domestic-type water systems, where daily water usage is inevitable and sufficient to turn over the entire system; where cold water is directly from a wholesome mains supply (no stored water tanks); where hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters or low volume water heaters (supplying outlets at 50 °C); and where the only outlets are toilets and wash hand basins.

For most domestic hot and cold water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuring the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is minimised ie keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving.  Other simple control measures to help control the risk of exposure to Legionella include:

  • Flushing out the system prior to letting the property
  • Avoiding debris getting into the system (eg ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid)
  • Setting control parameters (eg setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C)
  • Make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.
  • The risk is further lowered where instantaneous water heaters (for example combi boilers and electric showers) are installed because there is no water storage.

Whats Tenants should do

Tenants should be advised of any control measures put in place that should be maintained –

  • Not to adjust the temperature setting of the calorifier
  • To regularly clean showerheads
  • Inform Rural Housing if the hot water is not heating properly or there are any other problems with the system so that appropriate action can be taken.

Where showers are installed, these have the means of creating and dispersing water droplets which may be inhaled causing a foreseeable risk of exposure to Legionella.  If used regularly (as in the majority of most domestic settings) the risks are reduced. Instantaneous electric showers pose less of a risk as they are generally cold water-fed and heat only small volumes of water during operation.


Asbestos

Large amounts of asbestos were used in new and refurbished buildings before 2000. Blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos were banned by law in 1985. Manufacture and supply of all asbestos was banned by the end of 1999. The presence of Asbestos is very unlikely to be present in modern buildings.

Under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 (SR 2007 No 291) place a greater emphasis on the duty of care of Landlords to provide/pass on information about the state or condition of their premises e.g. know where asbestos, if any, is situated to ensure that no one, especially workers, are unwittingly exposed to such materials.

Based on this information Rural Housing as part of its 100% stock condition surveys will receive an asbestos report for all properties built before 2000, all properties build after 2000 will be inspected visually to determine the likelihood of asbestos being present. Approx. 95% of the Association’s stock has been newly built from 1994 onwards which will reduce the likelihood of discovering Asbestos.

The Association has a duty to create and manage an asbestos register which will include annual inspections of any asbestos found within the stock.