Guide East Devon Coronavirus residents update 7 August 2020

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7. East Devon home repairs service for 4,200 council properties gradually returning to normal

The repairs service for tenants living in East Devon’s 4,200 council properties is gradually returning to normal following the challenges of ensuring the safety of residents and staff during the Covid-19 lockdown while operating an emergency repairs programme.

As we ease out of the restrictions, the council’s repairs team, working with its partners Ian Williams Ltd who maintain the properties, are to revisit all non-urgent works that have been reported over the lockdown period. There are still some delays being experienced but slowly the service is returning to business as usual.

Cllr Megan Armstrong, who is the council’s portfolio holder for Sustainable Homes & Communities, has praised tenants for their tolerance during the lockdown period and has asked for their patience while the service works towards dealing with a backlog of repairs.

Cllr Armstrong said:

I would like to thank all those residents who are having to wait for repairs to be done to their homes during these current unusual circumstances. However I am glad that certain urgent repairs are being carried out promptly by our main contractors, Ian Williams Ltd and that these repairs and their attention to all the safety requirements such as social distancing has been well received.

I understand that many of our residents have also been really appreciative of the great response they have received from our council Repairs Team during this difficult time.

“Thank you to everyone for their patience and understanding and we all look forward to continuing to return to normal service as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.”

Ian Williams Ltd and the council’s housing team have worked together to keep the emergency service running safely. All safety measures have been carefully reviewed, ensuring the appropriate PPE is in place, for when contractors need to work in the properties.

Since April, 2,592 routine repair jobs were completed of which 366 were emergency repairs. 100% of the emergency jobs were completed within the target time of four hours.

Tenants have sent messages of thanks about the Ian Williams Ltd staff and the district council housing team and these include: “Can we pay a vote of our sincere thanks to Repairs at East Devon District Council and your main contractor Ian Williams for a very quick response to an urgent repair request today,” “The lady at Ian Williams was very helpful and responded very fast,” “Our sincere thanks to your main contractor Ian Williams and to your helpful receptionist,” and “Thank you all for working so hard for us during this Covid 19 crisis and for all of your efforts, which are very much appreciated and valued.”

Amy Gilbert Jeans, the council’s service lead for housing, said:

Faced with so many unknowns, our ability to work in partnership with Ian Williams Ltd has been absolutely critical. Reflecting on the last few months, we are pleased and immensely proud of what we have achieved together. Our teams have become closer than ever before and there is nothing like a crisis to really cement a partnership!

We have been pleased to receive lots of positive feedback from our residents who have been incredibly understanding and appreciative of the difficulties we have faced.”