You may not hear many Legionella consultants telling you this, but there are times when it’s not necessary for a landlord to work with an external supplier. However, sometimes it makes practical and financial sense to outsource your Legionella control. If you own rental property and are unsure whether to call in the experts or take the DIY approach, allow us to offer you some advice.
We know that there are two main factors governing your decision: time and money. However, there is also the matter of capability to consider as legally your Legionella risk assessment needs to be undertaken by what the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) defines as a ‘competent person’. This means that they need to be trained in and knowledgeable about Legionella control and domestic plumbing systems.
Financial pros and cons
With landlords’ profits being squeezed by tax changes and market forces, you’re likely to be under pressure financially so taking the DIY approach could be a way to save money. If you don’t fit the competency criteria you will need to do a suitable training course. There is a huge variety of courses out there so it’s important to pick the right one for you, but bear in mind that any suitable course will probably cost between £200 and £500.
If you decide to appoint a professional Legionella consultancy to handle your risk assessments, our prices start from around £65 per property and will include a full report along with recommendations on any necessary remedial work.
The HSE doesn’t specify how frequently you need to review your risk assessment, but for a standard domestic water system we would advocate no more than every two years, unless you have encountered problems with your water system or the plumbing has been modified in any way.
If you decide to do your Legionella risk assessments yourself and need to do a training course, it’s worth remembering that this will probably last two days (possibly more, depending on the course). If the legislation changes you will also need to update your training in order to satisfy the competency requirement.
The good news is that carrying out a risk assessment in a standard domestic property shouldn’t be too time-consuming though. You will need to inspect all aspects of the plumbing, including the water tank, boiler, pipework and all outlets (taps, showers, toilets etc.). You should also do a schematic drawing and ideally take some photographs as a record of your inspection. Depending on how familiar you are with the property and the accessibility of the various plumbing components, you ought to be able to complete the task in a few hours.
If we carry out a risk assessment on behalf of a landlord or letting agent we usually contact the tenant direct (with the landlord’s permission) and arrange to visit at a convenient time, and without the landlord needing to be present. Our inspection usually takes no more than two hours and you will receive your report within a week.
As you may have realised, the size of your property portfolio will probably have a significant bearing on your decision to outsource or not. Landlords with one or two properties and the time to do a training course would find it possible to handle Legionella risk assessment themselves, but if your portfolio is extensive you may consider the time investment too much to be practical.
If this is the case, a Legionella consultant is almost certainly the right solution. We offer bulk discounts for large numbers of properties and we’re able to cover all parts of the UK. Thanks to our bespoke compliance audit technology (CAT-SI), we can provide total traceability and a fully secure digital record of each property’s Legionella risk level and control measures. We can also set up automated reminders and a job management schedule to ensure that any repairs or reviews are diarised automatically.
Do what’s right for you
Hopefully this practical advice has helped you decide which is the best solution for you and your circumstances. Legionella control is an important part of being a responsible landlord but it shouldn’t be a headache. If you need any advice or would like a quote for our services, get in touch.