Adaptable technology

Supporting housing providers in the face of coronavirus

Supporting housing providers in the face of coronavirus

Guy Murphy

By Guy Murphy on

This article originally appeared in 24 Housing as a comment piece from Stephen Monaghan, Gas Tag Product Manager. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed organisations across every sector into uncharted waters. We are all having to develop new ways of working and respond to a landscape which is changing daily. 

At Gas Tag, we’re committed to supporting the housing sector and we are having to look at ways we can adapt our technology to meet the changing needs of our clients and their processes. 

Compliance is one of the areas that is causing the most concern for housing providers and contractors, who are struggling with meeting their regulatory requirements due to staff illness and also failed access attempts where residents are self-isolating. 

Follow official guidance

Currently, housing providers are still expected to carry out safety work, such as annual gas safety checks, and ensure that their properties are safe and compliant. 

It is important engineers do not put themselves at risk and when entering a property confirm with the resident whether anyone in the property is self-isolating, or has been in contact with anyone self-isolating. 

Public Health England and Gas Safe Register are regularly updating their websites with guidance and we would advise providers and contractors to check these websites daily. 

Make use of MOT style servicing 

We understand that many housing providers and contractors are currently experiencing staff shortages and difficulty accessing properties due to self-isolation. Gas Safe Register has issued guidance encouraging landlords to utilise the flexibility of MOT style servicing to carry annual gas safety checks as early as possible. 

MOT style servicing allows the landlord to carry out gas checks any time from 10 to 12 calendar months after the previous check and still retain the original deadline date. 

Our system allows our clients to easily turn on MOT style servicing and instantly see which properties are due. We have pulled this data for all of our clients and sent them emails providing the information alongside instructions on how to switch the feature on. We hope that this will support them with their efforts to carry out as many checks as possible as a contingency. 

Unable to access

Contractors should not be putting themselves at risk and entering properties where tenants are self-isolating. This can cause issues for providers if a property has an annual gas safety check due. 

The HSE has stated that housing providers should be able to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to attempt to carry out the work. This includes keeping a record of all correspondence with a resident who is self-isolating. 

Our technology allows engineers to take a geotagged, time-stamped photograph of a properties front door when they are unable to access. This type of evidence should help providers in instances where they need to demonstrate a responsible attempt has been made. 

We have also just pushed through an update to our app that allows engineers to select self-isolation as the reason for a failed access. Housing providers can then easily run reports on this via the Gas Tag Portal.

Adaptable technology

The current pandemic has demonstrated the importance of having adaptable technology that can support changes in processes. That can be anything from cloud-based resources for working from home to compliance technology such as ours.

As a team, we will continue to monitor the regulator’s announcements and work closely with our clients to make sure our technology supports them.

Guy Murphy

Guy Murphy

PR and Communications Manager