Life during lockdown

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Estate Caretaker, Alan Stirling, on looking after community properties during lockdownEstate Caretaker, Alan Stirling, describes what it's like to look after community properties during lockdown

It’s a lot quieter in and around buildings which is a bit strange.

Since lockdown began in mid-March the work of estate caretakers has been reshaped to focus on duties that ensure the health and safety of our tenants.

Fire safety patrols, cleaning and maintaining the environment are all really important and we have found ways to make sure we can deliver services safely.

Early mornings I ensure foyers and lifts are clean with extra attention given to touch points such as door handles, lift buttons and handrails. Some customers have health issues and get worried about thing like handrails and stepping in to a lift. We’ve got the PPE we need and a lot more disinfectants and cleaning products.

It’s a lot quieter in and around buildings which is a bit strange, especially during a day shift when you’d normally have children out playing or coming back from school - that’s always when the noise levels go up. But it’s nice to say hello to familiar faces when people head off to their key worker jobs. I keep my two meter distance of course!

I ensure bin rooms are clean and tidy and bin chutes are clear because we know how important it is for people to safely dispose of household waste. Some people have been taking the time to have a clear out as there’s been a lot of bulk to uplift. We make that everything is moved to keep common areas clean and clear.

Further cleaning is done each afternoon and we do several patrols a day to check fire doors and ensure all fire safety measures are in place.

There’s always one of our estate caretakers in the CCTV hub and I might take my turn in there for a couple of hours, answering calls from tenants from their flat handsets and maintaining radio contact with colleagues out on site.

I also keep an eye on the bank of CCTV monitors and, when necessary, contact the police if there are problems.

At night our team will respond if there are any emergency repairs needed. Tenants have been great since lockdown and have only asked for help with genuine emergencies. Often we can get heating systems up and running ourselves.

We’ve also had a couple of leaks and can generally make things safe until a plumber can call the next day.

In between repairs the nightshift caretakers continue to do security patrols and ensure the foyers are clean for the early birds getting up and setting off to work the next day.