Property Management Maintenance and Emergency Call Out

Emergency Call Out in Sydney for Property Management Maintenance Job

A tenant had been cooking in the kitchen and after he had finished cooking and cleaning he retired with his wife for the night.  Some hours later, a fire ensued originating from the gas cook top, making its way up to the range hood above.  Unfortunately, the tenants had not cleaned the range hood since they had moved in and due to a lack of preventative maintenance and checks on the property, the range hood was full of fats and oils.  Of course, fats and oils are accelerants and a terrible new blaze flared up, uncontrollable and life threatening.  (Usually on a lease this is stipulated and listed as a responsibility of the tenant to clean the range hood filters.)

The tenants evacuated, calling the fire brigade.  The damage was extensive and resulted in the tenants having to move out and the landlord losing 6 months of rent on the property due to the inspection taking time before it was assessed and the actual insurance process, from claim to payout.

I was called first thing in the morning as an emergency call out, attending site with my electrician.  We immediately disconnected all power to the light in the kitchen which was full of water from the burst pipes in the ceiling cavity and then disconnected and isolated all power in the unit so no one could get electrocuted.

I cut an access panel in the kitchen ceiling to assess the damage.  The fire had spread in the ceiling cavity so extensively that the intensity of the heat melted the hot and cold PVC water pipes.  I contacted my plumber to attend the site once I assessed the ceiling cavity and the damage.  My plumber attended shortly afterwards and installed a temporary valve for the hot & cold pipes so the water would not continue to leak if the main water valve was turned back on by anyone.

My job was to make the property safe for the insurers to assess and for the property manager and owner to have access.  We comprehensively checked everything to ensure there was zero risk on site to anyone.

It was an incredibly unfortunate event that did not have to be such a serious one.

Why a Preventative Maintenance Program is Crucial & Essential

This highlights the crucial need for a Preventative Maintenance Schedule for each property so events like this can not only be minimised but also completely prevented.  Perhaps this is something that needs to be paid particular attention as the Property Manager conducts the Ingoing and Outgoing Condition Report as a tenant enters a lease contract and takes up residence at a rental property or vacates the property.  Not only was this a serious event, but, of course, there was a massive impact on the landlords bank account and a serious loss of income over half a year recovered quite late in the insurance process by the Landlord.  Fortunately, the landlord had a clause in the Insurance Contract for loss of rental income due to fire, etc.

Preventative Maintenance Schedules and Checklists

If, in their maintenance checklist, they had a task of range hood cleaning as part of the checking cycle the extent of the fire damage would have been minimised as there would not have been such a dangerous accelerant present.  The tenant would have been able to control the blaze far more readily as it would not have spread so fast and so far.

So, the moral to this story for landlords and property managers?

Top 6 Preventative Maintenance Tips for Property Managers

  • Add a field in your Preventative Maintenance Checklist to inspect the filters of the range hood for fat and oil build up when conducting the Ingoing and Outgoing Condition Report and have any maintenance contractors check these things while onsite to maximise their visit if they do have to attend for other reasons.  (Legally in Australia there can be up to 4 inspections per year on a property as we understand the law.)
  • All flexi hoses in the toilet, sinks, basins, vanity, kitchen and laundry must be replaced every 5 (five) years and it is necessary that each hot and cold flexi hose have a cock valve installed because in the time of an emergency most people, if they have not been shown where the main water valve for the property is located by the property manager during site induction, will not be able to act in time to stop a significant flood event.  The cock valve is a physical valve that needs to be manually turned off and turned on and allows you to shut off the water supply without shutting of the main water. It acts like a water flow valve, you can adjust the amount of water flow coming through the cock valve.
    • If you are buying a cock valve at Bunnings or any plumbing supplier, it would be called a Mini Cistern Cock.  This 1/2 inch chrome valve is interchangeable with toilets, sinks, basins and vanities, kitchens and laundries.
    • IMPORTANT: In some cases warranty is voided on flexi hoses if a mini cock valve was not installed at the time of the flexi hose being installed (note, this depends entirely on the flexi hose supply company/flip mixer tap company – if there has been Preventative Maintenance performed as a flexi hose can be replaced at any time, this does not mean the tap is the same age as the flexi hose.)
    • Hoses cannot be kinked during installation because the expansion and contraction for the water pressure will reduce the life of the flexi hose and would cause the flexi hose to crack, resulting in water leaking and spraying; that is, water leaks.
    • A cock valve looks like this:
  • Cheap is not always best and safe – trying not to spend money on what you may believe is not necessary (preventative maintenance checks) is a false economy in the long run.
  • Don’t cut corners on repairs and preventative maintenance inspections and their works and have the preventative maintenance checks managed and done for you regularly by a Preventative Maintenance Company.
  • Always review your property maintenance insurance to ensure it is up to date and covers you extensively and for the most important things – fire, flood, theft, vandalism, loss of rent.
  • Also note, when a smoke alarm is beeping, the backup battery may be flat.  The majority of smoke alarms are hard-wired to an electrical circuit.  The battery is a safety backup precaution.  Smoke alarms must be checked by law every 6 months.

You can read more regarding our full Preventative Maintenance services here.

How to Clean a Range Hood Filter

Tenants, here is a written guide to clean your Range Hood

Property Managers, are your Range Hoods Fully Compliant to Australian Standards for fire safety?

https://www.airepure.com.au/are-your-kitchen-hood-filters-fully-compliant/

Aspect – Water-Damaged Ceiling Replacement

Water-Damaged Ceiling Replacement Job – Strata Corrective Property Maintenance

We were called to an emergency to remove the ceiling so the plumber had access to determine the leak source form above unit and make emergency repairs.

After the plumber had fixed the leak we:

  • installed new gyprock sheeting
  • inspected & rewired the electricals as the previous water damage had penetrated the electricals
  • the exhaust fan was also not working which had resulted in mould in the bathroom ceiling which we placed with a new fan
  • prepared ceiling for painting and painted to restore to original condition
  • reinstalled the downlights/electrical fixtures as previously fixed

You can read about our Property Maintenance services here.

Waldorf Serviced Apartments, Rosehill – Preparation for Lease

Preparation For Lease (End of Lease Repair) – Sydney Real Estate Corrective Building Maintenance

Another recent job last week.  We were contracted to repaint an entire serviced apartment, privately owned, managed by KRE Property.

The work was to:

  • repair damages in the unit and repaint:
    • repair the timber skirting that had become detached from the concrete slab
    • patch a hole in a wall and clean up mould around ceilings
    • patch any areas that were needed
    • repaint entire unit walls, ceiling

Here is a testimonial from the Property Manager of the apartment, Charlene Camilleri:

“Dear Frank, I would like to thank the time to thank you and your team on the prompt and professional service you have provided our client. Not only did you quote the job at a reasonable price you also had the work completed with in the shortest of time frames with exceptional quality and even went the extra mile to clean the site up once finished.
Thank you once again.

Charlene Camilleri, Property Manager
patching of wall
patching of higher wall
skirting board patched
painter’s tools and supplies
painter’s tools
skirting board damage
higher wall patched and painted and walls painted
vent and surrounding clean
team photo
Frank onsite working

Vincent’s Job – Telopea – Preparation for Sale (Painting)

Sydney Real Estate Preparation for Sale Building Maintenance Job

Another referral from David Wang at Tracy Yap Real Estate for a private owner, Vincent, for the Preparation For Sale Sydney of his house.

This was a very recent job.  There was a budget on this job, a timeline and a tight deadline. We had 2 full days to complete the work.

The job was to:

  • patch the cracks in the main wall of the house and repaint the entire wall
  • repair the major crack in the lounge/kitchen ceiling. Repaint whole ceiling
  • repair the cracks in the bedroom en suite and bedroom wall and repaint entire walls
  • filled all the gaps between the ceiling and the wall in both bathroom ceiling cornices
  • repaired the damaged stair case post previously chewed by their dogs and repainted the post
  • replaced the damaged skirting of the door jam which was also chewed by the dogs
  • repainted the door jam and entire door

The owner has also given us a testimonial on this job, given here with his permission.

“I have recently engaged Frank to repair my property prior to selling. I find Frank to be really efficient and easy to deal with when he explained the repair solutions. The preparation and repair work carried out by Frank and his team has been exceptional and thorough. The whole turnaround time from quote to finish was less than a week. I would not hesitate to recommend Frank and his team to anyone seeking for building services.”

Vincent
Telopea before repair – dog chewed skirting
Telopea before repair – dog chewed staircase post
Telopea before repair – unpatched wall hole
Telopea before repair – previous tradesman attempted job but did not finish to satisfactory finish
Telopea before repair – wall crakcs

Aspect – Insurance Repair for Strata (Floor Replacement)

Corrective Property Maintenance Sydney Insurance Repair for Strata Hotel Management

The unit 1801 adjacent to 1802 flooded.  This damaged both floors.

The insurance job for 1802 was given to our company through the Hotel Strata Management to remove the old floor and remove a new one.

I quoted for the extent of damage to the floor.  It was beyond maintenance repair.  I recommended removal of the existing floor, to scrape up the existing floor
and lay new flooring down.

We:

  • removed the old flooring
  • installed sound proof rubber matting underneath the floor
  • installed a commercial grade AC4 floating floor
  • reinstated the floor back to excellent condition
  • were given an excellent review as a result of our work to the Strata Management

original water damage to floor

floor water damaged

original water damaged floor removed

laying of new floor in progress

new floor reinstated

Stapleton – Maintenance and Repair (Re-Waterproofing & Tiling)

Real Estate Sydney Corrective Building Maintenance Repair for Waterproofing and Tiling

This was a job for PIA Real Estate approximately two years ago.

  • both balconies were leaking, part of a duplex
  • when it rained there was water flowing from the garage ceiling into the electrical lightning which was highly dangerous.  Both units lost power when this occurred
  • investigation conducted and maintenance plan scheduled

We:

  • removed the skirting tiles (the floor tiles were left untouched as the balconies were leaking at their perimeter only
  • had to prepare before work could commence on tiling we cleaned up the steel structure beam supporting the balcony; it had rusted and corroded because it had not been originally coated with rust protector
  • sealed the steel structure beam with rust protection paint
  • took all the perimeter tiles and re-waterproofed the whole balcony
  • worked together; the tiler relaid all the tiles over 2 day period and I repaired the ceilings of both garages and repainted the ceilings

Ultimo – General Property Maintenance (Painting)

Real Estate Sydney Building Maintenance Painting Job

The ceiling was full of mould and in need of cleaning and repainting.

We:

  • washed the ceiling with mould remover/sugar soap
  • undercoated and sealed the ceiling
  • painted the ceiling with mould protection paint
  • repainted the ceiling with three coats of flat white ceiling paint
  • fixed the damaged light fitting

Before mould removal and repair

Mould removed and ceiling repainted (light fixed)

Bettington Road – Preparation for Sale

Bettington Road – Preparation for Sale (Cosmetic Renovation)

This was a referral from David Wang from Tracy Yap Real Estate; a job for a private owner, residential.

The owner was preparing for sale.  The building maintenance works carried out were both internal and external.

Replacement of the water damaged Vanity Ensuite

  • The vanity needed fully replacing because the tap had leaked inside the vanity cupboard, rotting the shelf and the base of the vanity.  It was also an aged vanity which made it more susceptible to damage.

Installation of exhaust fan in Ensuite Bathroom

  • We installed an exhaust fan in the en suite bathroom which did not pre-exist (a handyman or the original builder had cut a cavity in the wall but the service was never installed.)
  • To install the wall mounted exhaust we had to chase cabling in the wall and ceiling cavity to connect it from the light switch to the exhaust fan so it had power
  • The exhaust fan being wall mounted fed to the external brick wall minimising mould buildup in the en suite bathroom (the ceilings actually were lower than standard which did not help)

Installation of screening and paneling externally

  • We installed screening and paneling underneath their granny flat to cover the gap between the underside of the granny flat floor and the ground o the occupants could use this space for storage
  • For visual appeal we decided on Merbau wooden timber paneling which we sealed with decking oil to protect it and to bring out the natural characteristics of the timber

Landscaping in backyard of the property

  • We did landscaping at the back of the property.  We trimmed down the grass to get it level.  We laid weed matting to prevent weeds coming through and laid white pebbles to fill the small garden bed creating by the created by the retaining wall at the side and back of the house
  • We also re-positioned the storm water at the side of the house and redirected the storm water piping appropriately to match the new fall of the storm water piping

You can read more about our Preparation for Sale and End of Lease Repairs here.

 

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