Work content of cyclical maintenance schemes

The following guidance has been adapted from the NIHE Housing & Regeneration, Design Standards documents – External Cyclical Maintenance. [NB: The Work Content information contained in this guidance is not exhaustive]


The main objectives of cyclical maintenance are to:

  • maintain the internal fabric and fixtures of the dwelling in a cost effective manner
  • protect the Association’s built asset by maintaining the fabric of the dwellings
  • identify and rectify health and safety risks
  • maintain an acceptable appearance of Association dwellings
  • maintain all grounds and external areas that are the responsibility of the Association to a satisfactory standard

General principles

Works are essentially of a preventative and restorative nature designed to ensure that the various elements remain fit for purpose, attain optimum life span and require minimum expenditure until the next cycle.  Work should be carried out at appropriate intervals, following a thorough technical survey and appraisal of its condition.

Repair of existing elements is preferable to replacement, where this is consistent with Cyclical Maintenance aims and also Value for Money considerations.  An item should not be repaired if it patently requires replacement.

Where standards can only be achieved through replacement, the materials must comply with standard specification and, as a minimum, all designs must meet the requirements as set out in the Development Guide, where practicable.

For more information see Design Standards


  • include general minor repairs to roofs, porches, chimneys, fascias, barges, soffits and rainwater goods
  • roof cleaning is to be included when severe vegetation growth is present
  • repair existing canopies or porches but exclude major replacement or new provision
  • eaves felt replacement should be included where necessary;
  • major Replacement/ Recovering of roofs should be addressed through other programmed work categories
  • where not already in place, provide roofspace ventilation. 

External walls

  • include general minor repairs and redecoration (external rendered walls may not require redecoration at every cycle)
  • defective panels under windows should be built up in masonry, where possible
  • exclude full storey height panel replacement
  • exclude replacement of timber porches
  • exclude painting to dry dash, other than in exceptional cases of dash failure, when the options for addressing the problem should be assessed, taking into account VFM


Include general repairs, resealing and servicing of windows, frames and ironmongery.  Servicing should be in accordance with the current Code of Practice. 

External doors

Include general repairs, servicing and decoration of doors, frames and ironmongery. 

Oil and gas boilers

To ensure safety for Tenants oil boilers shall be serviced once a year, or as per the manufacturers recommendations. These services shall preferably be carried out by an OFTEC registered Engineer.

Oil storage tanks and oil supply pipe work shall be inspected for their integrity (including fire separation as per Building regs at the time of installation) and any leaks repaired.

Associated records maintained for audit purposes.

Associations should familiarise themselves with ‘A guide to landlords’ duties: Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004’  via the following link:

Notwithstanding the above, below for reference are other legislative orders which may be applicable:

  • Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978; and
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000.

Associations should seek assurance that the persons servicing the boilers are Gas Safe registered and records maintained for audit purposes.

Solid fuel heating systems

Associations shall, ensure that solid fuel systems are subject to appropriate checks to ensure tenants safety.  The HSENI has provided guidance on the matter in which the Association should familiarise themselves with. See link below:

Managing your appliances | Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (

It is recognised that some of the servicing may be responsibility of the tenants e.g ensuring the chimney is sweep regularly?

Lift inspection

Inspection and servicing of lifts in accordance with current legislation. 

Fire equipment (where appropriate)

Fire equipment maintenance

Associations shall :-

  • Inspect/test/ service firefighting equipment on an annual basis;
  • Carry out testing and servicing of hard-wired smoke and heat alarms; and
  • Carry out testing and servicing  of emergency lighting.

This testing and servicing shall be in accordance with British Standards specifically for communal blocks in apartments. It is recognised that some of the servicing may be responsibility of the tenants for example testing the batteries once a week.

Associated records should be kept for audit purposes.

Fire Risk Assessment

  • There is no specific Northern Ireland statutory legislation regarding Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) for domestic properties.
  • The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has published guidance on FRA as referenced below:

The Department has considered these points and from a Health and Safety perspective determined that FRA’s must be completed for communal areas in apartment blocks, which the Associations has responsibility for. . Associated records should be kept for audit purposes.

Communal areas

  • include general repairs, maintenance and redecoration;
  • health and safety issues should be identified - minor issues should be addressed under either response maintenance or cyclical maintenance schemes.  More extensive works should be considered under health and safety/planned maintenance schemes
  • Major improvements including privatisation of entrances/staircases/gardens etc should not be considered under cyclical maintenance 

Grounds maintenance

  • cut grass including litter picking, edge trimming, mowing around obstacles as required
  • provide grounds maintenance to shrub beds as required
  • provide an arboricultural service where large trees are creating health and safety hazards or causing actual or potential damage to property, drains or services (this service should not be provided for purely aesthetic reasons)
  • apply selective herbicide to kill weeds to communal paths and paved areas on an annual basis 


Include redecoration to previously decorated surfaces. 

External works

Include minor repairs/ maintenance eg cleaning of gutters. 

Legionella control

The Association shall apply the Approved Code of Practice & Guidance – The control of Legionella in water systems L8 see link below

- in properties for which they are responsible for.  Associations should ensure that they have policies and procedures are in place to reflect their responsibilities under the ACOP. Associated records should be kept for audit purposes.

Electrical testing

Landlords shall:-

  • Carry out an electrical inspection prior to a new tenancy starting, recording the electrical equipment (including the consumer unit) appropriateness and condition; and
  • Carry out checks on electrical installations for social housing at least every 5 years to confirm the safety and compliance of the electrical systems with current electrical regulations
  • Carry out Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) on all electrical appliances that are provided by social landlords as part of a tenancy.

Landlords have an obligation to ensure electrical systems, within their properties, are safe to use. As such it is essential for Associations to provide assurance to their Board that associated electrical checks are being undertaken in compliance with, but not limited, to the above. It is the Departments view that Landlords should undertake these checks listed above.

All the above shall be carried out by a qualified electrician and associated records maintained for audit purposes.

Mechanical Safety

Landlords have an obligation to ensure bespoke mechanical installations within their properties, as listed below, but not limited to, are safe to use. It follows that Associations have an obligation to provide assurance to their Board that associated mechanical installations are being maintained.

Mechanical Devices

Associations should ensure that Mechanical Devices under their care are subject to an annual inspection and associated maintenance such as checking and replacing worn or damaged parts, lubrication, and making routine adjustments and results recorded. Notwithstanding the Manufacturer’s guidance should be followed at all times, especially where failure to do so may lead to Tenant injury/harm.


The Association shall ensure that all lifts procured are subject to the Machinery Directive / Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations. They should also ensure that the lifts are:

  • constructed to be safe;
  • supplied with Instructions;
  • have a Declaration of Conformity; and
  • an appropriate CE marking.

Landlords are responsible for maintaining lifts and for carrying out periodic thorough examinations and inspections to ensure these lifts operate safely. Please refer to the link below for guidance:

Lifts which involve a hazard of falling from a vertical height of 3m or more are subject to Annex IV (item 17) of the Machinery Directive. Associations shall insure compliance with this.

Patient hoists – equipment used in health and social care

Hoists and slings used to lift patients, e.g. from beds and bathsare provided for safe use  and subjected to Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) inspection. 

Associations shall carefully consider how LOLER applies to lifting equipment provided for use in their properties where a vertical lifting platform is installed, to help residents with impaired mobility bypass short flights of stairs, Associations should satisfy themselves that they are manufactured to ISO 9386 Part 1: Vertical lifting platforms. Advice on the design, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of vertical lifting platforms is provided in:

  • BS EN 81-41 “Vertical lifting platforms for use by persons with impaired mobility”; or
  • BS 6440: “Powered vertical lifting platforms having non-enclosed or partially enclosed liftways intended for use by persons with impaired mobility.”

Powered operated Doors and Gates

Associated maintenance records for power operated doors and gates including their safety features instruction manual  shall be are kept for record and audit purposes.

Powered (automatic) gates for use on private domestic premises must comply with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 when first installed. Associated records should be kept for audit purposes.

Portable appliance testing

To be tested annually (where appropriate) 

Asbestos – asbestos register in place

The Association shall, where appropriate, have in place an Asbestos Register. This register shall be  reviewed on a regular basis, in line with the Control of Asbestos Regulations (NI) 2012 and other relevant legislation.

The Asbestos Register should be made available to all those involved in providing the Associations maintenance activities.

Carbon monoxide alarms

The Association shall ensure where there is a fuel-burning appliance, whether gas, coal or oil fired, that a carbon monoxide detector is appropriately installed, in the room where the appliance is located. All detectors must be properly serviced and associated records maintained for audit purposes.

The operation of the carbon monoxide detector should be demonstrated to the Tenant.

If the appliance is located in, a non-habitable space such as a hot press the detector should be installed to ensure Tenants/vistors etc can hear it if it sounds!

Thermostatic Mixing Valves

Where ‘Social Care’ is within a domestic household the requirement to install/fit Thermostatic Mixer Valves (TMVs) (specifically Type 3) may be required to reduce the risk of scalding to vulnerable person residing in the property. Where shower adaptations are provided or other sanitary ware (for example Wash Hand basins), account should be taken of the potential vulnerability of Tenants.

“Vulnerable people” are defined in the Health and Safety Executive’s Health Services Information Sheet 6:

  • children;
  • older people;
  • people with reduced mental capacity,
  • mobility or temperature sensitivity; or
  • people who cannot react appropriately or quickly enough, to prevent injury.

Where TMVs are installed they shall be maintained/inspected once a year or as per the manufacturer’s recommendations (especially where failure to do so may result in Tenant injury/harm). This maintenance/inspection shall be carried out by a competent person and associated records maintained for audit purposes.

To ensure safe systems are installed and to reduce/mitigate the ‘Burn’ and/or ‘Scalding’ risk to tenants, with particular reference to schemes where adaptations being implemented, Associations shall seek to adopt a policy with regard to the specification, commissioning and on-going maintenance of such showers. This policy should be recorded and made with the person receiving care or those in control of the premises where care is provided (e.g. by outside organisations such as local authorities, care agencies or community nurses).

Damp and Mould

Ensure cyclical maintenance is carried out to mitigate risk factors associated with Damp and Mould.


  • full cyclical maintenance work should only be included to void dwellings where they are planned for occupation in the near future - other reinstatement works to voids should not be included
  • other than where explicitly referred to in this document, exclude internal replacement/ repair work
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