When the country went into lockdown in March, there was an immediate challenge for BD Services and the tenants of the 20,000 council houses that it maintains. How do we continue to offer emergency repairs whilst in lockdown while keeping residents and our staff safe? How can we enter people’s houses to make repairs when there is a risk of spreading infection from Covid-19? And then once restrictions were eased, how to clear the backlog of c.3,500 open work orders?
During the national lockdown, BD Services knew it was essential to continue to offer compliance services, and essential and emergency repairs to its clients, ensuring that all precautions where undertaken to keep residents and its staff safe.
We worked hard to ensure our services could be delivered in accordance with the latest guidelines and public health advice, updating risk assessments and providing our frontline staff with PPE and hand sanitiser, washing all tools before and after jobs, checking that none of the residents had coronavirus symptoms before entering a property and then practicing social distancing once inside the properties.
During the lockdown, many of our operatives were redeployed to assist BD Together, BD Group’s school catering and cleaning business, to deliver over 70,000 food hampers to children in need across Barking and Dagenham.
We were also able to divert resources and operatives to refurbishing empty properties across the Borough, enabling these homes to become available sooner for vulnerable people or for those on the housing waiting lists.
As soon as restrictions were eased, we began remobilising services and gearing up again towards pre-COVID-19 levels and volumes in a safe and graduated response. This involved close working with our key stakeholders, clients and customers and the re-opening of non-urgent and essential works.
The team in BD Services faced the impact of circa 3,500 open work orders that could not be completed during the lockdown period. Through hard work, rigorous planning and co-ordination we have contacted all customers, appointed all of the backlog jobs and now only have 1% of these jobs remaining to be completed.
Whatever challenges we face in the coming weeks and months, we have proven our capability to deal with the situation and have learned valuable lessons about our approach that we can implement quickly and effectively to respond to changing circumstances. We will continue to take pride in working safely to maintain essential services to our customers.