Home and Safety:- tips for homeowners
IF you're thinking of installing some new lights in the kitchen, a new water feature in the garden, or carrying out some general DIY this weekend, NHBC, the leading warranty provider for new homes, is offering the following tips for the safe operation of fittings in your new home:-
Making Connections:- Dripping connections can cause serious damage so it's important to connect appliances properly. If you are connecting kitchen appliances to the water supply and drainage - for example hoses, always check they are properly connected and tightened before turning the water on.
It's a good idea to re-check the connections for any drips once the appliances have been in use for a day or two. Also locate the main stopvalve for the water supply as soon as possible in case the water needs to be shut down in an emergency.
Bleeding radiators:- if you notice that a radiator is cool at the top this may indicate there is air in the system. To release the air, first turn off the heating and the allow system to cool. Attach the radiator key.
If you have not been given a radiator key by your builder they are available from DIY stores.
To the bleed valve and turn anti clockwise. Open the valve with care.
The valve can come out completely, so open just enough to hear the hiss of the air escaping. Hold a cloth underneath to catch the water once the air is released.
Overflows and warning pipes:- if you notice water dripping or flowing from an overflow or warning pipe, it's important to find the cause as soon as possible as it can indicate that a float operated valve on a storage cistern, toilet cistern or unvented hot water storage system needs attention.
Electricity:- under new legislation introduced this year, all major wiring, re-wiring and electrical alterations must be carried out by a competent electrician. The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting or NICIEC keep a register of approved firms.
Alterations and extensions to your hom: - If you are planning to alter the structure of your home it's important to seek advice from a professional structural engineer, building surveyor or architect.
Gas:- work on the gas installation in your home should only be undertaken by a CORGI (Council of Registered Gas Installers) registered technician.
Heating Systems:- Central heating boilers should be checked and serviced at least once a year by a competent maintenance engineer to check they remain safe - Engineers should be registered with CORGI for gas appliances or OFTEC, for oil fired appliances.
Lofts:- The loft space is one of the most popular places to be considered for conversion into living space but it's important to remember the following:-
1. Structure:- All roof timbers are necessary for the support of the roof and should not be cut or removed.
2. Ventilation:- Ventilation in the loft area is provided to control condensation. If vents have been provided in the eaves they should not be blocked or covered over.
Following these tips will help to avoid some common problems in the home, however, if your home is covered by NHBC's 10 year Buildmark warranty and you spot any problems within the first two years after the home is finished, put your complaint in writing to the builder and be sure to keep a copy. If for any reason you find yourself in dispute with your builder, contact the number on your NHBC Buildmark documents for help and advice.
LIVERPOOL TO WELCOME WORLD WITH A SMILE
LIVERPOOL is set to create an army of friendly faces to welcome the world when the city becomes European Capital of Culture in 2008.
The city is gearing up to host an extra 1.5 million visitors in 2008 and has now begun a four year training programme to create a pool of volunteers to welcome visiting tourists.
The Liverpool Culture Company has appointed Neil Peterson as the 'Head of Liverpool Welcome' to make sure the city breaks into a smile. The Liverpool-born 47-year-old, has been given a dual role - to recruit and train volunteers and to introduce a programme to transform customer service in the city's bars, hotels and restaurants. Neil, who has huge experience in developing employment and training programmes as previous Head of Liverpool and Sefton Employment Zone, said:-
''The city needs to improve the welcome that people receive from the moment they set foot in Liverpool. There are real opportunities to improve standards from serving a drink in a bar, a meal at a restaurant or room service in a hotel. There are already great examples of high quality service, but we need to build on this and to make Liverpool renowned for its quality and professionalism as well as its friendliness. Liverpool is a World Heritage City. We need to match that with a world class welcome. If we get it right, then the city will be well on its way to strengthening its position as one of the premier European visitor destinations.''
Liverpool's tourism economy is currently worth £600m a year and is projected to rise to more than £1billion by 2006. Since 1997, the number of hotel beds in the city has doubled and the city's airport is now one of the fastest growing in Europe. Mike Storey, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:-
''High standards of customer service are vital to any city's tourism economy. A city is judged as much by its welcome as its cultural offer. By improving our welcome, we improve the look and feel of the city and increase the appeal for visitors to come back again and again.''
In his role, Neil will also be approaching businesses to 'volunteer'
staff to be ''welcomers'' during the city's major events. As well as targeting existing voluntary organisations and friends of groups, the Culture Company will also be seeking to work with people servicing visitors, such as railway staff, police officers, crime wardens to bus drivers, taxi drivers and street cleaners. The Culture Company aims to have a team of volunteers ready to hit the streets by summer for this year's Lord Mayor's Parade, the Mersey River Festival, Mathew St Festival, start of the Clipper Race, Summer Pops and On The Waterfront concert.
Councillor Storey added:- ''Our '08 programme for 2008 will be a great opportunity to reach out to every community and make sure the people of Liverpool play their part in creating a city where visitors would like to come back to again and again. There are thousands of people in Liverpool who could all help improve first impressions and the overall mood and experience of the city.''
The volunteer programme would also link closely with community activities led by the culture company's Creative Communities team, such as city wide environmental and educational projects. Neil, a father of 3, added:-
''Volunteers will receive an induction on the city, its key features and attractions and how to help people find their way around and where to find information. We also intend to develop a 'pre-volunteer programme' to enable people who have been out of the labour market to gain the skills and confidence to play a part. The benefits for being an '08 volunteer are vast. People will gain a greater knowledge of the city and its communities but the programme could also act as a stepping stone to further qualifications and jobs within the tourism industry.''
The Liverpool Culture Company is also in talks with the Learning Skills Council, Liverpool Community College and other partners to build on existing customer service courses to train people in the hotel and catering sector. The idea of the programme would be to create an escalator of training, raising standards across the city of customer service.
Neil added: ''We want to create a consistently high level of service for tourists. By having high levels of customer service the tourism industry will benefit. So it's a win-win situation for the city.''