Some landlords and letting agents manage their own Legionella control programme as they are sufficiently experienced and knowledgeable to handle risk assessments and maintenance programmes. However, many prefer to bring in a professional firm due to lack of time or expertise, but it’s not always easy to decide on who to appoint, so here is our guide to choosing the right Legionella control partner.
1. Do your research
Many people’s first port of call is a Google search, but don’t just take your pick from what comes up on the first page. Take a look at the Legionella Control Association’s website to check whether your chosen firm is a member. The LCA vets all its members so you can be assured of a professional and knowledgeable service if you select one of their approved partners. The LCA also publishes a very useful Buyers’ Guide.
2. Ask questions
It’s always a good idea to call a few different suppliers (we recommend contacting at least three firms) to find out the extent of their services and get an idea of costs. Take a structured approach to the calls making sure you ask each one the same questions and make a note of the answers so you are comparing like with like. Enquire about their relevant qualifications and training and the type of clients they work with.
3. Ask for clear pricing breakdowns
Beware the ‘all-inclusive’ special offer which turns out not to be so special or inclusive; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Get a breakdown of prices and check what is included. Bear in mind that most domestic water systems are fairly low risk for Legionella so don’t be fooled into paying for unnecessary add-ons like bacterial testing or a spurious ‘Legionella certificate’.
4. Be specific about what you want
For a domestic rental property, the key things your Legionella control partner should be providing are: a comprehensive written risk assessment, supplied electronically and in hard copy ideally (see example); a detailed schematic drawing of the plumbing system; photographs of the key plumbing components being assessed (e.g. water tanks); a list of any remedial actions required to reduce any perceived risks; an overall risk rating for the property.
5. Get references
Even if a supplier has lots of good reviews online, it’s always worth asking to speak to one or two current customers to get a true picture of the company’s service levels. Ideally you want to speak to another landlord but perhaps also try to get the tenant’s point of view, as often they are the ones who have to deal with the firm’s staff when they are inspecting properties. Do they turn up on time? Are they tidy and unobtrusive when making their inspections? Are they easy to contact? Also check whether they have additional accreditations such as ISO9001.
It’s worth investing time and effort in finding a reputable and reliable Legionella control partner. Not only could it save you money in the long term (in repairs and maintenance), but if you ever have a problem with Legionella, being able to prove that you’ve taken a professional and responsible approach to controlling the risk will make all the difference in any public health investigation.
We’re proud of our long-standing relationships with our clients and would be delighted to provide you with one of your three quotations.