Tenants encouraged to get ready for winter

By on 06/10/2011 in News, Winter Alerts

Council house tenants in Birmingham are being reminded to give the winter weather the cold shoulder this year by making sure their central heating works now.

Severe weather conditions over the past two years and the associated problems with hundreds of frozen 'condensate' pipes – which drain outside rather than inside the home – stopped boilers working. As a result the housing department is preparing early and wants its tenants to do so too.

'Turn it on…let it run…TEST IT!' is a campaign of articles, leaflets and letters to all tenants to encourage them to switch on their heating systems, make sure radiator controls are working properly and that they are hot from top to bottom.

Don’t fall foul of the next cold snap 

Repairs round up




For those with affected 'condensing' boilers the city council is working on a programme to either bring external pipes inside or insulate outside pipes. The work is well underway and more than 10,500 properties have been surveyed and 3,250 completed.

Tenants are being urged to allow engineers into their homes to carry out both these necessary checks and works on the 'condensing' boilers and also to give access for routine gas servicing, which is ongoing.  

Councillor John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “I know we have been experiencing extremely warm weather recently, but I want to encourage tenants to think about the months ahead.  We saw an unprecedented number of repeat calls to our contact centre from last November through to the end of January this year as pipes froze, re-froze and burst as the thaw set in.

“Working with officers, gas contractors and elected members we identified a number of areas where the service could be improved to mitigate such problems in the future.

“However, I am concerned that a large number of our tenants – more than 900 – have refused to have works carried out to remedy the problem and our engineers have been unable to gain access to approximately 1,500 properties. I urge tenants to contact us before the winter sets in.

“We have also worked with the contact centre and gas contractors to ensure that the cause of failures is analysed much quicker and that operatives are well equipped to deal with jobs more effectively. Contractors have undertaken to train their engineers to become multi-skilled within their workforces to address any problems quickly.

“We have also worked with our medical advisor so we can get to those most in need of our service first.”

Notes to editors

– Further information can be found in the Tenant's Handbook, online at www.birmingham.gov.uk/tenants-handbook. And any problems found should be reported to the Repairs Contact Centre on 0800 073 3333.

– The condensing boilers were introduced in 2005 as part of the government's aim to cut carbon emissions. The city council has fitted approximately 24,000 of these boilers since 2005 as part of its decent homes programme, in accordance with the manufactures specification.

– The council has almost 60,000 properties across the city with a gas supply, which engineers need to routinely service.

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