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Celebrating Summer: Property Management as the Season Changes

Summer sunshine pouring through the windows, flowers blooming, outdoor sports, scrambling in the play area, warm evenings on the balcony or stretching out in the park catching up with friends. The summer months bring many of us so much joy. But when it comes to making sure estates are well looked after and maintained, with communal spaces and amenities safe, pleasant and accessible for all, there are some specific tasks that need to be scheduled in.  
As a managing agent we work based on an annual operating cycle: that means we plan for routine maintenance, upkeep and servicing throughout the year, taking into account seasonal tasks that need to happen. We need to work with - and not against - the seasons, and all the Great British weather has to throw at us. 
Keep reading to find out about the tasks that might be happening during the summer months at your estate.  
Please keep in mind, though, that every estate is different. You may live in an apartment block, for example, where maintenance of stairwells is needed, or in a garden village where green spaces need to be taken care of. Every maintenance schedule is unique to each development we work with.  

Gardens, open spaces and play areas 

If your community has open green spaces or landscaped areas, then the summer months will be when they need more attention. 
When we visit your development we’ll assess the condition of any gardens or open spaces, ensuring the planned schedule of works is being completed. That may mean a mix of tasks, such as: 

  • Managing plant growth 
  • Mowing grass 
  • Weeding and weed treatments 
  • Defining and tidying borders 
  • Topping up seasonal planting 
  • Deadheading and removing dead foliage 
  • Topping up soil or bark 

Our aim is to look after and maintain gardens and open spaces so they’re beautiful, accessible and well-kept. And any work carried out will be mindful of specific maintenance regimes, which may prevent certain work taking place during summer, or may affect the area’s wildlife habitats, for example. 
If your community has areas of wildflower planting, then there will be a specific schedule followed for these areas. Our aim is to make sure the wildflowers return year after year, and bring maximum biodiversity benefits.  
Read more about wildflower planting amongst residential estates here
For developments with play areas, sport pitches or equipment, we will continue to inspect the facilities ensuring they are safe and clean. Where applicable, we’ll arrange for specialist assessments such as RoSPA’s. Find out more about how outdoor play has come to play a big part in some communities we look after.

Block management

Fire safety

We work incredibly hard to make sure every estate we look after has adequate fire safety measures in place - every day of the year. But during the summer months, there are some seasonal fire risks that residents and visitors need to be aware of. 
We may issue notices to residents, providing updates through our Places app or portal, or providing extra signage to note the risks posed during the summer months.  
When we see high temperatures and drought during summer, fires are much more easily started - and can cause much more damage, spreading very quickly. We’ve seen firsthand how that can happen, and the devastating consequences, from simply discarding a cigarette butt onto grass near a building.  
During the summer we might be keen to enjoy a BBQ or picnic outside with friends too but there are very real risks if we’re not all extra vigilant about ensuring fire safety. For example:

  • Smoking materials should be fully extinguished and disposed of in suitable ashtrays or cigarette bins.
  • BBQs should be fully extinguished and cooled before any hot coals or BBQ materials are disposed of. In the case of single-use BBQs, these should be disposed of in general waste bins after they have been fully cooled. This can be done either by waiting 48 hours, or by soaking the items in cold water until the temperature has been lowered. 
  • Litter should be appropriately disposed of. Discarded glass can cause a fire and paper burns quickly, spreading fires.  

Major works 

Spring and summer are often the ideal seasons to undertake major works to the external areas of the buildings. For example, this may include:  

  • External redecorations 
  • Roof renewals 
  • Resurfacing of hard landscaped areas, such as car parks or pathways 

If the weather is on our side, it can mean these works are completed more efficiently and with the best possible results.  

To allow us to schedule in these larger projects - which we refer to as ‘major works’ - we will typically make them part of our long-term maintenance planning process, which happens years in advance.  
To ensure there is the money to deliver these projects when the time comes, we will put a proportion of each service charge payment into a reserve fund (also known as a sinking fund). The contributions from all property owners will then form a pot of money that is set aside for major works - a bit like a savings account.  
This planning, and collaboration with clients and residents, enables us to prepare for future years to maintain, and enhance, each development’s spaces, systems and amenities.  
Importantly, it also prevents surprises and large bills being received when the works commence.  
We’ll carefully factor in any additional considerations impacting the schedules and budgeting for major works too - it’s not all just about the weather and favourable conditions. For example, extra steps may be required for buildings, spaces and amenities that are in conservation areas or subject to party walls agreements, or where they may be subject to additional licences or engagement ahead and during works. 
Of course, there may be times when major works need to happen as a case of urgency - and where they can’t be pre-empted or planned for - and they may also be subject to insurance claims.  
Where possible, we’ll still try to ensure there are the required reserve funds to make these works happen but we’ll also try to time things, as much as possible, around favourable conditions for the works to take place.  

Building structures, fixtures and boundaries

In every season we’ll inspect various structures, fixtures and boundaries in each development - but the summer months present some additional considerations we need to factor in. We’ll inspect: 

  • Gutters, drains, downpipes, roofs and drainage systems, such as gullies, soakaways and sustainable drainage systems (SuDs). 
    • These need to be clear and in good repairs, with blockages, leaks and damage rectified. We know the British summer is prone to the odd deluge of rain, so we need to make sure this is a task that’s kept on top of.
  • Boundary fencing, railings or gates. 
    • We’ll check they’re clean, redecorated and in good condition. Rapid growth of plants and trees can easily disguise any imperfections, so we need to be sure this still happens during the summer months.
  • Special features, such as any memorials, works of art or listed structures.
    • Inspections, treatments and repairs will be carried out according to any specialist standards. 
  • Hard surfaced areas, such as foot and cycle paths, decking and car parks. 
    • Changeable weather can cause cracks to appear, and with heavier use there’s increased chance of damage in the summer. It’s also a good time to jet wash where needed to remove mould, and deliver weed treatments. Any marked signage or lineage will also be checked. 

Residential management in summer

Internal areas 

It may be more obvious to think about the maintenance of outdoor areas during summer - but internal communal areas, such as foyers, hallways, facilities such as gyms, and stores also need to be kept presentable and clean, with equipment and plant serviced as needed.  
Summer is sometimes a good opportunity to touch-up internal decor, or carry out redecorations - as part of a major work project. But more routine maintenance, such as checking communal lighting, will also take place; making sure everything is working properly.  
Of course, we want to feel the benefits of the summer sun in our buildings too - so windows will be cleaned according to your development’s own maintenance regime.  

M&E plant

If your development has communal air conditioning plant equipment, then now is the time you and your neighbours will want to feel its benefits! The equipment will be routinely serviced. We’ll have maintenance contracts in place with specialist third parties, allowing for regular inspection throughout the year, so it’s ready for action when needed.  
All other plant equipment (whether in use or not) are known as your development’s assets, and will also require this routine servicing and maintenance by specialist third parties. This makes sure they’re compliant and in working order. We’ll also factor their maintenance needs into any long-term planning and major works cycles.  

Stay up to date with your community

We’ve outlined a few of the  tasks we’ll do during the summer months but, as mentioned before, your development is unique. That’s why we have our residents’ app - Places - and our online portal: where you can see how your service charge is budgeted for the coming year, and receive updates of routine, emergency and major works. We’ll also use the app and portal as a way of letting you know when we’re visiting sites and to share general information. 
Make sure you stay up to speed with your development’s latest news - access your Places app or online portal today.