A2Dominion Director of Property Services reveals key to running repairs service during lockdown

David Lingeman, A2Dominion’s Director of Property Services, has written for key housing publication Inside Housing about how the Group kept its repairs and maintenance service running for its customers throughout the initial coronavirus pandemic lockdown, while the majority of the sector reduced or stopped services.
David Lingeman
David Lingeman
According to Lingeman, this was achieved through a combination of building strong relationships with partner businesses and communicating effectively with customers at all times. In the article, he explains that A2Dominion learned “important lessons that we believe are vital to working under the strictest measures” while meeting the “many challenges” created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Communicating safety

On keeping everyone safe when performing repairs, significant thought was put into the safety of both staff and customers during appointments and the article points to the significant work that is done “well before the appointment itself”.

“It was an immediate priority to make readily available clear information on the best way residents can keep themselves and our contractors out of harm’s way,” Lingeman wrote. “We passed this on in every way available: our customer website, regular emails and letters, and our customer contact centre agents, who received additional training.

“Most people quickly understood the overarching rules such as keeping two metres apart, although it never does any harm to reiterate them. What still trips people up are the small things, such as the very British habit of making any visitor to your house a cup of tea. So it’s important to include these little details in any communications, just to remind well-meaning customers of the safest way to proceed.”

Success through strong relationships

The article also highlights the advantage that A2Dominion gains from its dedicated joint venture repairs service, Pyramid Plus. Even with this arrangement in place, a lot of hard work went on behind the scenes to maintain the strong relationship required to keep things running smoothly.

“One of the vital conversations we had in March and April was to persuade our contractors not to furlough staff when they had the option,” the article continues. ”It’s perfectly understandable that they would want to, but by quickly developing strong procedures, we convinced them that we could continue to operate safely. In addition, we have always made sure there is someone available to meet contractors’ senior management to resolve issues and maintain our relationships.

“Gestures like this can go a long way to building trust and effecting change in those stakeholder relationships. Ultimately, our contractors understand the importance of what they do for our customers, so carried on working for us throughout the whole initial lockdown period. We are now working closely together to continue throughout the winter, and we are very grateful to them for their dedication.”

You can read the full article on Inside Housing’s website (paywall).