Council improvements

We want our tenants to live in homes that are modern, warm, comfortable and are of a good standard.  In order to achieve this we provide new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems through a planned programme of works, ensuring that every year our properties are being improved.

What improvements will be made?

Internal Planned Maintenance (IPM) is completed on each property every 20 years.  This includes replacement of kitchen, bathroom and electrical installations.

Central Heating (CH) replacement completed at least every 20 years.  Combi boilers every 15 years and full heating systems every 30 years.

How do I find out when my property will be improved?

Letters are sent out at the beginning of April to advise if your property is included in the programme for that financial year.  Further letters will be sent out to a arrange visits to your property.

We will assess your requirements if you are older, disabled or have a family member with special needs and we may also involve other professionals (for example, an occupational therapist) for adaptations such as a flat floor shower.

We will not do any work to your home without your knowledge and agreement.

Will I need to move out of my home while the improvements are taking place?

No, you do not have to move out while the improvements are taking place.

What do I need to do before the work starts?

We recommend that you prepare yourself and your home well in advance of the works. 

  • pack and store any valuable, breakable and personal things
  • ensure all surfaces, including the bedrooms, have been cleared
  • take pictures and mirrors off the walls
  • take down curtains and blinds
  • empty kitchen cupboards unless it is only central heating works that you are having done
  • keep as little as possible out, small appliances such as kettles and microwaves should be kept to hand along with basic crockery and cutlery items
  • do not attempt to move any of your major kitchen appliances as we have a trained workforce who will move the appliances as necessary

We will cover furniture with dustsheets when we start work.

If we do not think your home is not ready we may need to delay the works.

How long will you be in my home and which rooms will be affected?

This depends on what improvements are to be carried out.  It is usually approximately five working days for kitchen, bathroom and electrical upgrade and one day for gas to gas central heating replacement.  Please understand that there will be some disruption and things will not always go to plan.

Will I be without heating, electricity or hot water?

We will make sure that heating, electricity, hot and cold water, flushing toilet facilities, lighting, television reception and cooking facilities are provided at the end of the working day.

What do I do if I have a problem or emergency out of working hours whilst work is being carried out?

Before 8am and after 4:30pm and weekends please phone 01325 405333.

Should you have a gas leak call National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999.

What happens after the works are carried out?

When the works are completed, we will carry out an inspection and fix any areas that are not satisfactory. We will then ask you to sign a form saying you are happy the work has been completed to a high standard.

You will also be asked to complete a satisfaction survey form. This information is confidential and will be used to make sure we continually improve the levels of service we provide to our tenants.

Decent Homes standard

The Decent Homes standard [external link, pdf document] is a technical standard for public housing which aims to provide a minimum standard of housing conditions for all those who are housed in the public sector (council housing and housing associations).

The criteria for the standard are as follows:

  1. it must meet the current statutory minimum standard for housing
  2. it must be in a reasonable state of repair
  3. it must have reasonably modern facilities and services
  4. it must provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort

The Darlington standard

In July 2004 Darlington Borough Council housing tenants voted for the council’s housing stock to be kept by the local authority. In response we committed to an ambitious investment plan which would bring all properties in line with the Decent Homes standard by 2006 and utilise prudential borrowing of up to £20m to ensure all properties were maintained to the Darlington standard.

The Darlington Standard committed us to:

  • internal planned maintenance (IPM) being completed on each property every 20 years. IPM works include the replacement of kitchens, bathrooms and electrical systems
  • central heating replacement being completed at least every 20 years. Central heating replacement included the replacement of traditional boilers, back boilers and electrical heating systems with energy efficient combination boiler systems wherever possible

In 2011 the Darlington standard was modified slightly following approval by the tenants board. It was agreed combination boilers would be replaced every 15 years and full heating systems would be replaced every 30 years.