Classification of repairs

Tenant generated repairs are classified into three groups, Emergency, Urgent and Routine. (This guidance has been adapted from the NIHE Response Maintenance Manual.)


Request for work properly reported must be recorded and classified in accordance with the guidelines shown below.  However, in exceptional circumstances the Association may waive these if, in its judgment, this is considered necessary.

Within the Classification of Repairs all items of response maintenance work will normally be considered as either Urgent or Routine work.  However, there will be occasions when staff will identify items of work requiring a quicker response.

Such work will be classified as ‘Emergency.’  The contractor will be required to respond within 24 hours.

Associations may opt to provide an ‘Immediate Call-out’ classification as part of their own internal procedures.

A suggested classification of repairs is contained below.  This is for guidance only and the tenants’ circumstances should be taken into account when deciding on priority.

Repair classification 

The classification of repairs relates to normal, tenant generated repairs and is not intended to cover either landlord requests or those due to civil disturbance.

Associations must ensure that only genuine emergencies are classified as ‘Emergency’.

The response times and targets set by the Department under contracts for the various classifications of repairs should be as follows:

Classification Response and completion times Percentage of repairs to be completed within target
Emergency 24 hours of receipt of instruction 85 per cent
Urgent 4 working days of receipt of instruction 80 per cent
Routine 4 calendar weeks of receipt of instruction 80 per cent

The purpose of classification is to:

  • provide a uniform method of allocation priority;
  • provide a tenant with a time band within which work is scheduled for completion;
  • provide the contractor with a schedule completion time;
  • provide a means of monitoring performance.

While classification provides a timescale for completion of the work, the definitive date for completion is specified on the works order.

Acknowledgement letters must be sent to tenants for all urgent and routine jobs.

Procedures for issuing works orders

Work normally designated as Routine may be held over for inclusion in a planned scheme or Quotation contract at the discretion of the Association.  
The length of holdover for any repair must relate to the condition of the faulty element.  For example, a rotten window frame may be expected to last for another two to three months and then be replaced under a planned scheme.  However, if the fault is causing ingress of water then a temporary repair should be carried out as an interim measure.  [NB The planned scheme must be for a related element to the defect reported].

Where the work is the responsibility of the tenant, has been deferred to a planned scheme of maintenance or where a tenant contribution is required then notification must be sent to the tenant.  The tenant must also be notified where a job is suspended, cancelled, or the completion of the job is delayed for any reason.

Before attributing an Emergency Classification to any work, staff should judge the work against the following criteria:

  • are there particular needs of the tenant eg vulnerable, wheelchair bound, elderly etc?
  • is there a risk of serious injury?
  • is there a risk of a major health hazard?
  • is there a risk of extensive damage to property?
  • is there a risk of major inconvenience?

Examples of such work could be considered as:

Serious injury

  • escape of gas or fumes
  • collapse of walls, floors or ceilings
  • electrical fittings in contact with water
  • live, bare wires in accessible places
  • total failure of lighting in area where risk of fall or injury is high

Major health hazard

  • sewage overflowing or backing up into the dwelling
  • blockages to WCs or soil pipes causing sewage to back up and enter dwelling
  • Damp and Mould

Extensive property damage

  • faults which may lead to a fire
  • securing properties after void, vandalism or forced entry
  • rxternal doors which cannot be secured
  • burst tanks, pipes or cylinders
  • water penetration from another property
  • major water penetration via roof

Major inconvenience

  • failure of all lights or all power
  • failure of heating system in severe weather where no back up is available
  • failure of communal door entry system
  • failure of all communal lights


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