You will have seen by now that revisions to the Property Factors Act Scotland are being introduced (subject to approval) from16 August 2021. It replaces the original Code which applied from 1 October 2012. “All registered property factors are required by law to ensure compliance with the Code in terms of section 14(5) of the Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 (the 2011 Act).”
But what will the changes mean for the repairs and maintenance aspect of a property management business?
Buildings naturally age and become subjected to wear and tear. Areas of high traffic, like internal stairwells, lifts, doors, gardens and bin areas are relatively easy to manage on a regular basis, whilst gutters, roofs and brickwork require more planning and management.
With many of the revisions placing further requirements on property factors to be more transparent with owners, when dealing with the specifics of repairs and maintenance it’s going to be even more important to be clear on what is happening when, by whom, why, and how much it will cost. With the need to include all owners in that process when required.
The Blockworx team has read through the proposed changes, looking specifically at how they will affect the repairs and maintenance function of a property manager’s role and how automating could help easily achieve the new requirements.
You must maintain appropriate records of your dealings with homeowners. This is particularly important if you need to demonstrate how you have met the Code’s requirements.
When carrying out any kind of repair or maintenance job it’s good practice to keep a detailed paper trail of every step that’s taken from start to finish. Even if it’s routine work or work that doesn’t hit the threshold for including owners in the decision-making process, implementing best practices across the board will instill a level of due care and attention.
The Blockworx app and portal lets you track all paperwork from quote to invoice. When integrated with CPL Software’s platform, these documents can be filed automatically by the owner or building.
The app and portal also provides a ‘go-to’ place to store and retrieve information on contractors for complete transparency.
A property factor must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a copy of the Written Statement of Service is provided to homeowners.
When the Written Statement of Service is drawn up, this will contain information and SLA’s that must be adhered to when conducting repair and maintenance work. So whilst Blockworx will not be used to achieve this aspect of the Code, it will inform how repairs and maintenance operates and the Written Statement of Service will be drawn up around those timescales and SLA’s.
Where applicable, a statement of any level of delegated authority, for example, the financial thresholds for instructing works and the specific situations in which the property factor may decide to act without further consultation with homeowners.
This is an important point to note for whoever is responsible for repairs and maintenance in the business. Blockworx can be utilised to make it easier to manage work quickly but also with an associated paper trail. When Blockworx is used in tandem with the delegated authority, it can provide a seamless tool for getting work completed quickly, but safely in the knowledge that an audit trail is automatically being created as part of the process.
Section 6 Carrying Out Repairs & Maintenance
This section of the Code covers the use of both in-house staff and external contractors by property factors. While it is homeowners’ responsibility, and good practice, to keep their property well maintained, a property factor can help to prevent further damage or deterioration by seeking to make prompt repairs to a good standard.
This section, is of course, completely relevant to the Blockworx App and Portal, as it makes the management of repairs and maintenance simple and easy. It is not easy to coordinate work when there are numerous stakeholders involved. It takes time, effort, and patience. Often, property factors might get so caught up in organising the ‘must-do’ work that the work that would often enhance and solidify relationships with owners, gets left behind.
This is why having a robust process in place, whereas much of the menial tasks could and should be automated, will free up a tremendous amount of time that can be spent on taking steps towards doing work that could be classed as ‘pre-emptive’ or preventing rather than curing. By taking the time and effort to do more maintenance work, expensive and inconvenient repairs could be avoided.
Are you ready for the changes to the Property Factors Act? If you are, great! But if you aren’t, we can certainly help make it easy to comply with the updates. Please get in touch with the Blockworx team to chat through any queries you might have.