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Advice for residents: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Residents’ queries

1. Advice for FirstPort residents

Updated: 5 January 2021

The health and safety of our residents, employees and contractors is always our priority.

We have carefully reviewed the guidance from government and industry bodies and we are responding to this in the way we manage your home.

The operational changes we have made in response to COVID-19 for the different type of homes we care for are detailed in sections 4-6.

Following the return to a national lockdown in England, the below table is an overview of our management approach:

National Lockdown: Stay at Home

Permanent on-site employees

(See section 3 for more information)

Employees will continue to work from developments to provide essential support.

Social distancing guidance will be followed at all times.

 

Visiting
Property Managers,
Area Managers and
Regional Managers
Property Managers will only complete external inspections (unless there is an emergency inside the development) whilst following social distancing guidance.

Regional Managers will only travel to sites if it is essential.

In retirement developments, Area Managers will conduct virtual visits, and they will only conduct external inspections where there is no Development Manager on site.

 

Communal area cleaning, gardening, grounds maintenance and window cleaningThese services will carry on but may reduce in frequency due to contractor availability.
Essential reactive maintenanceWe are working to make sure that essential services can still be undertaken wherever possible.
Major works projects

External major works projects (i.e. where a contractor does not need to go inside the development) will continue.

We will pause any non-essential internal projects until after lockdown.

Approach in Wales: National restrictions apply in Wales and follow the same approach highlighted in the above table.

Approach in Scotland: National restrictions apply in Scotland. More information about our response can be found on the  FirstPort Scotland website.

We are sorry that there is further disruption due to Coronavirus. If your development is impacted by a contractor’s reduced service levels or a change to planned major works, we’ll let you know. We are planning to catch up with any delayed projects wherever possible and any cost savings due to works not carried out will be passed on to you through your service charge.

We’d like to thank all our customers for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

2. Customer services

Our customer support and property management teams are still here to help you. Some of our employees are working from home and you may experience a slower service at certain times of the day so to help with this, we’ve increased the size of our email team.

For non-urgent enquiries, the best way to reach our team is by email:

For Property Services customers, please email help@firstport.co.uk

For Bespoke customers, please email bespokehelp@firstport.co.uk

For former BRAM customers, please email cscare@firstport.co.uk

For Retirement customers, please email retirementhelp@firstport.co.uk

3. Interacting with your neighbours and development staff

It’s more important than ever that we all follow social distancing guidance, which is that you stay two metres away from people not in your household, so we can keep everyone safe. We’ll make sure our staff and contractors remain vigilant too by always following social distancing measures when around residents, and by wearing PPE (i.e. face coverings) where it’s appropriate.

Our permanent on-site employees provide you with essential support and will remain working at your development, making sure your development is safe, clean and comfortable. Our employees are aware that they must not come to work if they or anyone in their household is showing symptoms of Covid-19. They are strictly following social distancing guidance and, where possible, will try to avoid the use of public transport to travel to the development. This may impact their available hours at the development, but they will continue to be available as usual during working hours even if they are not on site.

 

4. For developments with communal facilities and/or site staff

This advice may vary depending on your development’s individual needs, please check in with your Property/Development Manager if you have any questions about your home.

  • Parcel delivery: During this time, we are asking for parcels to be delivered directly to properties where possible, in the interest of safeguarding staff and residents.
  • Bins & refuse collection: We expect your local authority to maintain refuse collections during this time. However, we do need your help to keep rubbish in tied bags and evenly distributed between your development bins please. This is important to make sure that bin collections can take place, and that overflowing waste or dumped bulky items are not left blocking access, and to reduce the likelihood of attracting pests or rodents. If your development has bin stores and/or refuse chutes, we have tried to temporarily relocate bins to street level, where possible and safe to do so, to make sure that bins can be easily collected even if site staff are unavailable. Our operational teams have conducted a site-by-site review to find the most sensible compromise for your development. If you notice any refuse issues, please notify your Property Manager and we will work with the local authority and/or key contractors to resolve.
  • Communal area cleaning, gardening, grounds maintenance and window cleaning: We’re keeping developments in the best possible condition to stop any virus spreading. We have asked our cleaners to concentrate on high touch areas such as door handles, lift call buttons, and stair rails. We recognise that having a nicely maintained development is of real value, so we will continue to allow outside grounds maintenance and window cleaning, with strict social distancing being followed. There is the potential for a reduced frequency due to staff and/or contractor availability.
  • Lifts: During this time, we will endeavour to provide a full repairs, maintenance and call-out service for lifts. All of our suppliers have Covid-specific risk assessments, method statements and the required PPE to undertake works, whilst adhering to government guidance. There may be some service interruption due to engineers’ availability.
  • Communal systems: If there is a communal heating system at your development and this were to breakdown, please be aware that response times to repair this are likely to be delayed but will be attended to as soon as possible. Please use your domestic immersion heaters where possible.
  • Gyms, swimming pools and recreational facilities:
    All gyms and pools have been closed for the lockdown period.
    – All saunas and steams rooms remain closed at this time.
    – The Government has confirmed that parks and playgrounds can remain open. However, we have been asked to operate time restrictions by some local authorities. Where we don’t have site staff to manage this, we may need to close the facility during lockdown.
  • Essential reactive maintenance: We are working to make sure that essential services, for instance, reactive maintenance to breakdowns, leaks or electrical faults, or pest control can still be undertaken by our contractors wherever possible.

5. For estates

  • Grounds maintenance: Grounds maintenance services will continue wherever possible but with the potential for a reduced frequency due to staff and/or contractor availability. We have reminded all contractors that they must be strictly following social distancing guidance and must not attend site if they or any of their household have symptoms or have been unwell.
  • Essential reactive services: We are working to make sure that essential reactive services can still be undertaken on estates developments wherever possible. These would include reactive support for any urgent issues with:
    • Pump stations
    • Sewage treatment plants
    • Complete street lighting failure (if managed by FirstPort)
    • Electric gates

6. For retirement developments

  • We’re keeping developments in the best possible condition to stop any virus from spreading. We have asked our cleaners to concentrate on high touch areas such as door handles, lift call buttons, and stair rails.
  • Development Managers are continuing to work from our retirement developments in line with the Government guidance. We’ve tweaked some of their duties in order to observe social distancing guidance, such as cancelling in-apartment services, but they continue to complete important development safety checks and daily checks on all our residents remotely from their office using the warden call system or telephone.  They are also on-hand to provide support and guidance to any residents who may be struggling.
  • We have a QR codes in place at developments so we can log any visitors.
  • We’ve helped residents to follow the Government’s social distancing guidance by closing our communal lounges and setting up Laundry room rotas.  We’ve also asked residents to only travel in development lifts with people within their households.

7. Useful information

Please refer to the links below for the most recent information from the Government and NHS about the Coronavirus situation in the UK.

The Government’s latest advice:

NHS latest advice: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Government travel advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

For customer services, please contact us as follows.  Due to the ever-changing situation, at some points in the day you may need to wait longer than usual to speak to one of our team.  If your query is not urgent, please consider emailing the team instead on the appropriate address below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible:

Property Services: help@firstport.co.uk or 0333 321 4080

Bespoke: bespokehelp@firstport.co.uk or 0333 321 4045

Former BRAM customers: cscare@firstport.co.uk or 0333 0050 227

Retirement: retirementhelp@firstport.co.uk or 0333 321 4041

Payments line: 0333 321 4079

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