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FEXCO PROPERTY SERVICES

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024

FEXCO PROPERTY SERVICES

Danielle Cox, Assistant Property Manager at Remus Management receives Certificate of Commendation from Thames Valley Police for life-saving actions

Danielle Cox, Assistant Property Manager at our Remus Reading office has been awarded a ‘Special Commendation’ by Thames Valley Police for an act of extreme courage in assisting with the rescue of a neighbour during a violent assault. The swift actions of Danielle and her partner were deemed by police officers and medics who attended the incident as lifesaving and aided in the assailant’s arrest and imprisonment. Due to a lengthy court case the award was eventually made to Danielle and her partner on 14th June at 6pm in the ceremonial room at Thames Valley Police Head Quarters in Reading. The incident occurred on 1st November 2020 when Danielle and her partner were alerted to disturbing noises coming from a flat above theirs, which turned out to be a violent incident between a husband and wife. The swift intervention by Danielle and her partner meant the person being assaulted was removed from the scene, and the first aid administered by Danielle shortly after prevented what would have resulted in a fatal incident. The lady in question sustained serious head injuries which required surgery on arrival at the local hospital. The assailant was arrested, and he has since been convicted to serve a 12-year sentence. The police and doctor’s reports stated that if Danielle and her partner had not acted in the way that they did, as courageously and as swiftly, the victim would not have survived due to the amount of blood loss suffered from the assault. Reading Thames Valley Police – DC David Hill who was the detective on the case states: “Without these two people acting when they did the lady would almost certainly have died. She told us that when the door opened, and she saw the two people standing there it gave a glimmer of hope. We wish there were more people like Danielle and her partner, who were willing to put their own lives in danger to help others, without giving a second thought. It also gives me hope that there are people out there who will act to save lives.” Certificates of commendation were presented to Danielle and her partner by Super Intendent Rebecca Mears, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People at a ceremony held at Thames Valley Police, which was attended by several other police officers. During the ceremony Danielle was informed that her witness statement helped in the assailant’s sentence being extended to 12 years. DC Hill has told Danielle that she would make a great police officer.

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We’re delighted to announce our two winners of the Property Hero Award 2020

The Property Hero Awards 2020 – recognising the special individuals in the property industry These awards are not about companies but about individuals who have done something really special. We are looking to identify the extraordinary people within our industry who have gone that extra mile and achieved things that often go unnoticed. The award was set up to highlight those who deserved to be recognised for outstanding performance and going that bit further to support leaseholders and the teams that support them in the year that was extraordinary – 2020. We’re thrilled to announce the Winner of the Award – Libby Williams and Highly Commended – Elizabeth Stokes. WINNER – Libby Williams Libby is Head of Insurance. She is an amazing hard-working member of the Legal & Risk team, dealing with insurance claims for our customers. Libby is renowned for her incredible knowledge of the industry, with 20 years behind her, and she has a fantastic recall of past insurance history on multiple properties. Libby is well known for her attention to detail, and the enthusiasm she shows in her work is at times outstanding, often working well beyond the normal hours and above expectations. Her diligent approach to work has not gone unnoticed, and she is a well-deserved winner. HIGHLY COMMENDED – Elizabeth Stokes Elizabeth Stokes is Health & Safety Co-ordinator for the group. As Head of H&S – Jonathan Gough says; “Liz is a great asset to the H&S department”. She expertly manages over 400 projects to ensure that leaseholders are safe in their homes. Liz supports the property team through every stage of the project, and always with a smile. She is well-deserved of this award given the hard year that 2020 became, dealing with the many issues that the industry still faces, and with the leaseholders’ welfare always at the forefront of her mind. 

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Fexco Property Services joins forces with industry leaders to push Unique Property Referencing

Open Letter from Residential Property Industry urges the use of the UPRN across the Sector Leading residential property bodies have today published an open letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and copied to Thalia Baldwin, Director of the Geospatial Commission highlighting the potential benefits from a widely adopted Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and steps that Government needs to take to make this happen. The signatories of the letter,  which includes leading bodies from across the residential property sector, believe that the wide market adoption of the UPRN will deliver substantial benefits to UK society, the residential property sector, and to Government. Andrew Bulmer, CEO of IRPM comments: “The UPRN is like attaching a number plate to a car, instead we attach a unique number (up to 12-digits) to all things related to properties (fittings, fixtures, paperwork, surveys etc), so that each property can be uniquely identified with unparalleled accuracy. If all the conditions outlined in the letter were to be met, we could proactively work towards the wholesale adoption of the UPRN. Implemented effectively, this could help position the UK as the world’s leading property market”. Dan Hughes, Founder of Alpha Property Insight and the Real Estate Data Foundation noted that; “The property sector is at the heart of the economy, people’s wellbeing and our impact on the environment. There are huge opportunities for technology to help with improving every aspect of this, but to do so requires the effective use of data. The wide adoption of the UPRN would be a big step towards providing the foundations to enable this.” Theresa Wallace, Founder of The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC), notes that “widespread adoption of UPRN’s could revolutionise the property market, this is a really exciting initiative which has industry support and we now need the Government to add theirs.” The letter details the benefits of widespread market adoption of the UPRN to society, the economy, and the property sector. These include: Improved building, consumer, and market safety More targeted and cost-effective enforcement of legislation Increased protection for tenants and a reduction of rogue landlords The ability to speed up conveyancing and transparency in home buying and selling The opportunity to reduce waste, save time and empower the consumer However, the letter also calls for steps by Government and for certain conditions to be met to really enable these benefits: All public sector data sets relating to properties and buildings should include the UPRN and a clear roadmap is needed to get to this point All future Government tenders and policy relating to residential properties and associated data should mandate the use of the UPRN There must be clear agreement about the ethical use of data in the housing market The UPRN must be in a clear and useable format that allows the UPRN to be widely identified, and freely used and shared This must include the tools, the support materials and the explanation needed by the whole sector for adoption, not just the solution providers Following the profound findings in the RoPA report, that outlines the phenomenal need for compliance within the property agents’ sector, Lord Best states that “the UPRN is an excellent concept and could be a game-changer.” The impact of the universal adoption of the UPRN can be immense, The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agents Team (NTSELAT) explain that, “the widespread use of a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) has the potential to deliver many benefits across the residential property market. Importantly, a UPRN can offer tenants a greater level of protection against rogue landlords and help to reduce consumer fraud when buying or renting a home. The NTS Estate and Letting Agency Team supports the work of The Letting Industry Council in driving the adoption of the URPN across the property sector”. A copy of the letter and a full list of signatories is available HERE

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Fexco Property Services speak to one of their key contractors – Challenging times during Covid-19

The DAYCO interview… With all four brands in the Fexco Property Services group relying on the services of external suppliers and contractors, we knew that for many, maintaining operations during COVID19 was never going to be simple or easy. We spoke to one of our approved contractors to get their perspective on how life has changed for their business, and what predictions they had for ‘business as usual’ in the future. Stephen Day and Tom Lloyd are Directors of Dayco, a property maintenance services company who supply a wide range of services from electrical, decorating, cleaning and general maintenance repairs to major works. Tom was originally the founder of Lloyds Cleaning & Maintenance Services Ltd, providing maintenance services to property management companies, until he merged his company with Dayco. Steve (CEO) and Tom (COO) shared their experiences and key insights into how their business had to adapt to not only keep business running but keep their staff safe as lockdown took hold on the Nation. Q: What was your reaction to the lockdown when it was initially announced? We noticed trends and patterns across the business that emerged immediately it was announced, but I have to say we saw changes approaching before lockdown so Tom and I had already put a strategy plan in place that would focus on emergency works, putting non-essential small scale works on hold. As Boris announced lockdown, we immediately had an influx of messages from suppliers of materials and parts, who reacted by closing their doors. Two days later and with further clarity they partially opened, but only for ‘click and collect’. This did ease the problem, however, we then had to negotiate long queues which meant that simple repairs that should have been a quick job, such as changing a tap washer now takes twice as long. Q: Has stress on the supply chain affected you? Yes, it has, with large builder’s merchants started to struggle with not having enough stock, as larger warehouses were not getting supplies in, and as a result, some have since closed down. One noticeable product affected by this was wall plaster, which rapidly became hard to find. Supply & demand has generally created cost issues and prices have noticeably risen across many items. Cleaning supplies have obviously been in extremely high demand even with price rises on essential products and materials. Q: Have any of your services been affected? Indeed, some have, most notably with our cleaning services. Regular cleans turned into major cleaning tasks (or deep cleans) which meant that we had to provide protective clothing and products to our staff, not all of whom were comfortable wearing restrictive PPE. In general, we think preparation time scales were not realistic and with the demand for cleaning equipment and clothing etc being so high it meant some changes to our business – at the time the lockdown came, we were running around 80 cleaning contracts. You couldn’t set up a contract with a new supplier as demand was too great – it limited who we could buy from, but we had to ensure that all of our workers were complying to the government guidelines and issued with the right protective equipment and clothing. Q: Has this had an impact on your business? It has to a degree; whilst the cleaning contracts have thrived due to high demand, our maintenance contacts have reduced somewhat. Cleaning contracts generate less profit but with the volume of contracts increasing we have maintained margins and ensured business continuity. Q: What changes have you had to implement? Several changes were made almost immediately because we had already discussed a plan that we could roll out if necessary, which included putting provisions in place to set people up to work from home – which we did straight away with some of our office staff. We had to reassess the company’s financial status – financial holidays, furloughs etc. to protect the business, and we also had to change our entire assessment for working on site. Q: How important is H&S? H&S is a major part of what we do – so it certainly became a main focus in the early days of lockdown, we had to ensure everything was in line with government guidelines and we were fully prepared to keep our clients, the public and staff safe. As well as our in-house H&S team we work closely with an independent H&S consultant firm which has been a big help. How to interpret the information as it constantly changes and processing the changes into correct procedures has taken a lot of time. We needed ideas and strategies to adapt and having those resources to hand has played a massive part in helping us to make the right changes. Q: What have you done for your clients? We’ve had to install Perspex screens at concierge desks. We’ve put in road barriers and other measures to instruct social distancing, as well as full sanitisation services where we can. We’ve worked on a number of sites with confirmed COVID cases, but the Property Managers have been very good at keeping us informed at all times. We set up a special sanitisation team to provide a reactive service where ‘deep cleans’ were instructed – as soon as we were advised we would go in and carry out full sanitation clean. We have ramped up this service to accommodate the client’s needs. Q: How have your staff reacted to the change? Staff have generally been ok with the changes. Before lockdown, there were whispers about people stopping work and some operatives felt uncomfortable about working with the threat of the virus all around. We decided pretty quickly that we would not enforce working on site for anyone who decided the risk was too great. By the end of March we assessed the workload situation and any issues arising from staff concerns, providing a statement to staff about being able to work from home and since then Teams and Zoom have

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