When you think of Estate Services you may initially think about cleaning, gardening, and ground maintenance. However, did you know that our compliance service is also part of the team?
James works for the Estates Services team as a Compliance Inspector and looks after everything from fire safety inspections and actioning fire risk assessments to issuing Tort notices and abandoned vehicle control.
What’s a typical day like for you?
James: My day starts at 7.30 am. I’m not office-based, so any preparation for the day begins at home, where I’ll read and respond to emails and so on. I have a company van, so I set off after this initial admin at home.
I’ll spend my day travelling around the neighbourhoods I cover undertaking various tasks such as fire safety inspections, actioning on fire risk assessments, Tort control and abandoned vehicle control. I may call in at a local office at the end of my rounds to input some data, or I might do this when I get home instead.
What’s the focus for a Compliance Inspector?
James: I perform 40 fire safety inspections at the same buildings every week. It usually takes up to three days to complete these inspections, so I try to schedule them for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
The fire safety inspections involve checking the fire alarms and automatic opening vents, but it can vary depending on the type of equipment. Some are only visual inspections, but I do test some of the equipment physically as well.
I log and report these inspections using an app on my phone that connects to our in-house system as I complete each building. This helps make sure everyone has the most up-to-date information for all the sites I cover.
I chase up any actions needed from fire risk assessment recommendations on Thursdays and Fridays. This involves issuing Tort notices, displaying fire action plans, and collecting and disposing of any items that haven’t been removed from communal areas after the Tort notices have expired.
I often do Tort control and signage with my compliance team colleagues, as it can be pretty physical work if you have to remove items. It can sometimes get quite pressured too, if you’re removing things that customers don’t want you to take away, so doing this in pairs can help.
The abandoned vehicle control is more sporadic, and I deal with these when they arise.
What supports you with your role?
James: I meet customers regularly, and they can often be upset if I’m removing belongings regarding Tort notices.
I know it can be upsetting, and I understand that people may feel they don’t have room for their belongings in the home, so they want to keep them in the communal areas, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I allowed them to stay.
We only remove items that are a fire and safety hazard to make sure the building is safe for everyone. I’m always considerate of people’s circumstances and try to offer solutions if I can.
I have a very calm and logical approach to my role, which helps me a lot. I’m always polite and remind myself not to take anything said too personally.
”I perform a vital role that supports the integrity of Catalyst and I'm helping keep customers safe in their homes. I find the fact that there is a real possibility that my actions may directly save someone's life very rewarding.'
What is a Tort notice and how do we use them?
James: We use Tort notices when they found items in communal areas that could be a fire or safety hazard. The notices give a certain amount of time for items to be removed. If the items are removed after the Tort notice expires our compliance team will remove them to help, ensure the safety of everyone in the building.
What do you like best about your job?
James: I perform a vital role that supports the integrity of Catalyst and I’m helping keep customers safe in their homes. I find the fact that there is a real possibility that my actions may directly save someone’s life very rewarding.
What do I like best about working for Catalyst?
James: I’ve worked for Catalyst for almost 15 years. Back when I started in 2007, it was a much smaller business. The expansion of Catalyst means teams and neighbourhoods have grown, but within Estate Services, we still have that family-type feeling, which I like best.
What has my role taught me
James: I’ve learned a good deal about fire safety, what dangers to look out for and how to rectify them.
Tell us something about being a compliance inspector that customers might not know
James: We’re not bailiffs – we don’t want to take your belongings, and we definitely don’t want to keep them. However, Tort notices aren’t just a warning – they’re real, and your items will be removed and disposed of if you don’t take them away.
However, we’re also not machines and we’ll occasionally store some items for a short-time when we can see they have personal value or we feel the removal will cause hardship. We’ll return the items once we’ve reached an agreement with the owner about how and where they plan to store them in the future.
Find out more about fire safety
Our customers’ safety takes priority throughout the maintenance of all our buildings. Find out more about fire risk assessments, fire safety checks and the importance of keeping communal areas clear on our fire safety page.