MOT style of servicing Survey results 2014

Executive Summary

Introduction

The survey on MOT style of servicing was conducted online by CORGI Technical Services between 12 December 2013 and 10 January 2014 amongst managers responsible for gas safety in Housing Associations across the UK.

The survey received 205 responses. The respondents collectively have responsibility for circa 2 million properties (1,984,065).

The survey was carried out prior to the Gas Safety Management Conference on Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th April and the results will be published at the Conference.

The survey gathered views about moving to an ‘MOT style’ for gas safety checks, which should result in large scale savings and greater efficiencies in meeting the requirements of the Gas Safety Regulations. The results will be taken to the Gas Safety Management Conference 2014 for further discussion on 29th & 30th April 2014 at The Belfry. These views can then be discussed with wider stakeholders and used to lobby ministers and government departments on behalf of AGSM and Gas Forum members and to facilitate changes to regulations.

Executive summary

  • The respondents were responsible for 1,984,065 managed Housing Stock for which they have duties under Regulation 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.
  • 38.1% of respondents commenced their annual access programme 8 weeks prior to the anniversary date for their Landlord Gas Safety Record, with 12.7% starting it at 6 weeks and 10.2% at 10 weeks. Only 18.8% commenced earlier than 6 weeks, but there were 12.2% who commenced earlier than 10 weeks, some at 12 weeks and others two calendar months and one at 90 days. Several respondents commented that they worked on a ten month cycle.
  • 25.8% of the respondents said that they started the first attempt at access at 8 weeks prior to the anniversary date for the Landlord Gas Safety Record, 20% at 6 weeks and 10.5% at less than 4 weeks. A small number (6.8%) made the first attempt more than 10 weeks before the anniversary date, one respondent starting as early as 12 weeks/
  • Only 19 respondents or 11.17% said that they had 90-100% first time access success rate. Nearly half of respondents (71 or 41.76%) had a 70-79% success rate with first time access. Eight respondents or 4.71% had a less than 50% first time access rate.
  • An overwhelming percentage of respondents – 86.1% or 155 people – believe it would be beneficial for social landlords to be able to operate MOT style gas safety checks, whereby the anniversary date of the Landlord Gas Safety Record check stays the same as long as the safety check is done within 28 days prior to the anniversary date, for appliances covered under Regulation 36 of the Gas Safety (Installations & Use) Regulations 1998.
  • The majority of respondents (75.6%) thought that the principle should apply to room sealed and open flue appliances.
  • There were 144 responses on what would be the positive impacts of an ‘MOT style’ of servicing.
    Key points:-
    • Save money – huge cost savings
    • Improve productivity
    • More structure for labour resources and easier contractor management
    • Planned servicing for summer months leaving workforce available for winter break-downs
    • Improved tenant co-operation with regular annual dates; less confusion for tenants, particularly elderly & vulnerable
    • Allows a focus on hard-to-access addresses
    • Allows greater geographical grouping together of properties for servicing – would lead to massive time and cost savings
    • A decrease in forced entry
    • Savings would mean more money to invest in other areas such as CO detectors and insulation
    • More stability but also more flexibility

    Selection of comments from respondents:

    • “improved productivity and cost saving”
    • “Reduce annual servicing costs, and service month would remain the same for tenants to remember yearly”
    • “Keeping the due date would avoid the annual service being moved into periods of high gas repairs therefore allowing a more structure labour resource.”
    • “Flexibility, regularity of appointments for residents, anniversary date not shifting allowing better contractor management and one check per year.”
    • “We could re-profile the gas service program back into blocks and estate which has been scattered by the anniversary program. This would reduce travel time between jobs re-visit no accesses easily if in the same location. Overall would increase the value of the CP12 and reduce costs incurred along with generally improving the CP12 performance across the whole of the UK.”
    • “planned programme would be fixed and allow us to maintain our “postman’s walk” to drive down transport costs. Long term it should improve first time access as we would visit same month every year.”
    • “Considerable savings on budget, resulting in money being available for additional preventative and upgrade works”
    • “Would alleviate the no access pressure and allow concentration on the hard-to-access addresses sooner. We have a 10-month cycle at present which hasn’t really helped. It would also spread the load of hitting hard-to-access props.”
    • There were 134 responses on the negative impact of an ‘MOT style’ of servicing, most of which were in fact neutral rather than negative:

    Key points:-

    • Manufacturers would need to agree approach to servicing & warranties
    • Need to be change to legislation
    • Would need to amend access policy to ensure access within one month of deadline date
    • Risk of 13 months between visits
    • Greater management issues and extra admin initially to set up
    • There would be less time for failed access; very tight timings
    • Reduction in the number of engineers needed and a loss of business for them
    • Lack of flexibility if weather ‘spikes’
    • Customer/tenant confusion
    • How to deal with service check at voids which would move the servicing date

    Selection of comments from respondents:-

    • Waranties may become an issue if a manufacturer disagrees with the majority.”
    • “reduced number of engineers required to be employed”
    • “lack of flexibility to deal with ‘spikes’ due to winter weather”
    • “4 weeks might be a little tight to gain access for those properties which each year fail to provide access, but these are very few in number.”
    • “Concern over whether this would lead staff to believe the LGSR has lost its importance”
    • “Software and business processes are set to promote the next service due for 12 months – therefore cost and resource implications. Also this proposal is based on a very successful first time access rate!”
    • There were 76 other comments, questions or views.

    Key points:-

    • Good in principal; sensible approach; many benefits
    • Might not improve access to difficult properties
    • Very much in favour of anything that reduces costs and improves scheduling nightmare
    • Will allow the focus to be on the hard to access properties
    • Many details still need to be discussed ie. new build schemes
    • Need to overcome many legal requirements
    • Should be a legal requirement for Private home owners to have annual gas safety checks
    • This idea would eliminate service “creep”
    • Need to look at whether it would work for open flu as well as room-sealed appliances
    • Would lead to better planning & organisation
    • Probably need better tenancy agreements
    • Why isn’t gas Safety doing this rather than CORGI?
    • Need a timetable for changes to legislation
    • Need more legislative powers to enforce access

    Selection of comments from respondents:

    •   “Would help with arranging access – tenants would know when the service was due each year, rather than the date changing depending on when the previous services was carried out.
    • “More legislative powers to encourage/penalise habitual tenants who ignore the notification of appointments and put themselves and neighbours at risk.”
    • “Great idea for Registered Providers but forced access would be beneficial. We’re judged by the same law but without the same rights.”
    • “What is the process for changing legislation and what timescale is being considered?”
    • “This should apply to PRIVATE landlords as well as Social Landlords. The government should also clear up the legal position regarding access by granting a statutory right to enter for gas checks.”
    • “Access to properties is turning into a nightmare scenario for all Associations especially under the current financial climate. The pattern that emerges is that it is the same tenants, year in year out, who hold Associations to ransom by denying access, which is not only time consuming but also a drain on finances. Sorry about the rant but gas management does that to you!!!”