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Managing repairs and building maintenance

4 Managing repairs and building maintenance

Typical management activities include day-to-day domestic tasks such as stair cleaning, regular maintenance, major repairs and emergency work. Your title deeds or, if they have gaps or defects, the Tenement Management Scheme will say how you should go about organising the tasks covered in this section.

4.1 Regular maintenance

Regular inspections followed by prompt remedial action will reduce the costs of minor and major repairs. Delaying remedial work will only make a problem worse and increase the cost of the eventual repair work.

The table below shows what you should be doing to maintain your property and how often. This is only a general guide and relates mostly to traditional tenement buildings. You will need a detailed survey to establish the condition of the building and to tell you where you are in the life cycle of its various elements.

A good building maintenance schedule

Every year

  • gutter cleaning
  • roof inspection and minor reactive repairs
  • flashings on the roof and cupolas
  • check and repair harling and render cement coatings
  • chimney heads and chimney pots
  • TV aerials and fixings

Every 3–5 yrs

  • door-entry systems
  • external paint work on doors, windows, gutters and downpipes

Every 5–10 yrs

  • stair painting
  • mastic around windows
  • repair felt roof coverings

Every 10–15 yrs

  • pointing – mortar between stone/brick in walls
  • replace uPVC windows

Every 10–20 yrs

  • renew render coatings on walls or chimneys

Every 20–30 yrs

  • replace felt roof coverings
  • major overhaul of tiling on roofs

Every 40–50 yrs

  • replace lead roofs
  • replace tiled roofs
  • some work to sandstone walls and chimney heads

Every 50–100 yrs

  • replace slated roofs
  • replace cast iron gutters and downpipes
  • replace external woodwork
  • replace cast iron railings

4.2 Major repairs

Occasionally you will need to have major works carried out on your building, so it is useful to understand how to deal with them. It will be difficult to obtain comparative estimates from different building contractors unless you can describe the work in detail. Professional advice from a property manager, surveyor or architect could save you costly and unnecessary work. Your local council may also be able to help organise major repairs under its scheme of assistance (see section 5.3).

4.3 Access for maintenance, repairs and services

This section only applies if you are following the Tenement Management Scheme because your title deeds do not tell you about access for maintenance.

You and your fellow owners, and people authorised by you, have a right of access to each other’s flats, if access is necessary to:

  • carry out maintenance that was decided by a scheme decision;
  • carry out repairs to a part owned by an individual;
  • carry out inspections to decide if maintenance is needed;
  • lead through a service pipe, cable or other equipment, as long as it
  • is not wholly within another owner’s flat;
  • make sure that any part of the building that provides support and shelter is being maintained;
  • make sure that none of the owners is doing anything that may damage the parts of the building that provide support and shelter,
  • or doing anything to reduce the natural light to the building; or
  • calculate the floor area to decide how costs should be allocated.

The owner or the occupier must be given reasonable notice that access is required and, within reason, can refuse access at inconvenient or inappropriate times.

Where you or a person you have authorised (such as a contractor) gains access to a flat for the reasons above, the flat must be restored to its original condition. If an authorised person causes any damage, you (the owner who gave the authorisation) are jointly responsible with the authorised person for reinstating it or for the cost of repairing it.

You can recover your costs from the authorised person.

4.4 Finding a reliable contractor

Some councils run ‘trusted trader’ schemes, where firms that register go through certain checks and owners can record their views on the firms they have used.

The Scottish Government is working with councils and the construction industry to develop proposals for a national trusted trader framework. In the meantime, check your council’s website or speak to their trading standards department to see if they have such a scheme.