Council housing repairs

man repairing sinkWates provide repairs for all of the council’s properties.

Winter weather demand for heating and boiler repairs service

The high level of demand experienced by Tamworth Borough Council’s repairs contractors, Wates, at the end of last week, continued into the weekend. Thank you to all of our customers for being patient.

The freezing weather conditions lead to a significant spike in calls related to heating and boiler problems at the end of last week, with around 10 times the usual call volume. That said, calls continued to be answered within five minutes in the majority of cases.

Over the weekend (March 2 - 4), a further 101 calls were made to the out of hours service relating to gas alone, which is also 10 times more than normal. Wates had additional engineers working round the clock throughout the weekend and were able to attend 100% of those gas and central heating call-outs. A further 41 calls were made to the service relating to burst water pipes.

Additional resources were also allocated to the Wates call centre and calls were answered within an average time of four to five minutes and the majority of incidents requiring a response were attended within 24 hours.

In many cases, breakdown was a result of frozen pipes and in 90% of cases, heating was successfully restored at the first visit. Where it couldn’t be repaired, temporary heating facilities have been offered.

Demand has now started to decrease since the weekend and Wates’ staff and engineers will be arranging follow-up appointments where necessary to properties where temporary measures were put in place to restore central heating systems.

It is anticipated that everyone who needs a follow-up visit will be contacted with their new appointment date this week (by March 9), with the hope that the majority of repairs will be completed during the coming weeks. Jobs will be prioritised according to need and vulnerability and people are asked to please be patient while engineers work through the appointments.

If you have been visited by an engineer during the last few days and a follow-up appointment is required, you should receive a text notification this week. New repairs need to be reported via the Wates Freephone number on 0800 183 0044.

Wates have also provided some useful tips to help reduce frozen pipes and heating breakdowns should the weather deteriorate:

  • Where possible, try and keep your heating on low. If you are experiencing financial hardship then please contact your utility provider direct
  • If you are going away then please isolate your water by turning it off at the stop tap, so if the weather turns cold while you are away it will limit any damage if pipes do freeze.

In particular, freezing cold weather can cause boiler condensate pipes to freeze which can prevent the boiler from functioning.

You may be able to thaw frozen condensate pipes without having to log it as a repair by following the guidelines below.

Thawing your condensate pipe

  • Use warm water only and pour over the end of the pipe where it is frozen using a suitable container like a watering can
  • Hold a hot water bottle, or heat wrap, around the condensate pipe
  • Once the pipe has thawed you should reset your boiler by holding in the reset button for 10 seconds and wait for the boiler to re-fire.

WARNING:

  • Never attempt to thaw a condensate pipe above waist height, or disconnect the condensate pipe in order to do so
  • Never attempt to access the condensate pipe or any other pipework within the boiler
  • Beware of ice on the ground that will form from the water you have poured.

If you cannot safely thaw the pipe, or it doesn’t solve the problem, please contact Wates on 0800 183 0044.

South Staffordshire Water is also experiencing increased demand due to frozen and burst pipes across the region and has issued some advice to its customers about how to prevent this from occurring. For more information, visit www.south-staffs-water.co.uk

Previous winter updates can be read here


To report an issue call: Freephone 0800 183 00 44
This number is also for out-of-hours enquiries. (If you call from a mobile phone it is likely you will be charged for the call by your mobile provider.)

Non-urgent repairs can also be reported by email to repairs@tamworth.gov.uk

All Wates staff carry ID cards and tenants are encouraged to ask to see it. Please phone the borough council with any concerns you may have. Wates will phone or text ahead of carrying out repairs, to ensure you are kept informed about your repair.

While Wates carry out repairs on behalf of Tamworth Borough Council, you have responsibilities for a number of repairs in your home.

Tenant responsibilities:

  • Take a look at our document which tells you exactly what your responsibilities are as a tenant.
  • Allow repair workers into your home to carry out repairs, annual safety checks and inspections
  • Decorate the inside of your home to a reasonable standard, including filling minor cracks or holes in walls
  • To inform Wates (freephone 0800 183 0044) as soon as you notice a repair is needed and take action to prevent it getting worse. Please note calls from mobile phones may be charged
  • Take action to prevent and control the build up of moisture (condensation) Read our guidance notes for dealing with damp and condensation here.
  • Take steps to prevent blockages in waste pipes or drains
  • Take action to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting
  • Arrange for the repair of any damage caused by you, a member of your household or a visitor

Tenants are expected to do the following tasks themselves or arrange to get them done:

  • Replace door locks or keys when they are lost, broken or you get locked out
  • Get extra keys cut
  • Replace glass in windows/doors, unless the cause of the damage was outside your control
  • Fitting bells, latches, knobs, handles, chains or additional locks to doors
  • Adjust doors, particularly when you have new carpets fitted
  • Fitting curtain rails, pelmets, picture rails, and coat hooks
  • Replace light bulbs fluorescent tubes and starters
  • Reset trip switches
  • Test/clean battery operated smoke detectors
  • Replace TV aerials and sockets - unless communal aerials
  • Try to clear blocked basins sinks baths and toilets
  • Replace toilet seats
  • Replace plugs and chains on baths basins and sinks
  • De-scale shower heads
  • Fit waste and pipework for washing machines/dishwashers, vents for tumble dryers
  • Replace clothes lines
  • Maintain general garden paths (not those to front or back doors) and general garden features
  • Keep gully grids clear of leaves and rubbish