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Student residences

'You said', 'We will' 2018-19

In response to the feedback we have received from the Student Accommodation Survey, we will make the following improvements:

Agnes Blackadder Hall

 

You said issues with freedom to move furniture in rooms..

  • There is not very much space in bedrooms to move furniture, we prefer it not to be moved to minimise any damage to walls etc.

You said issues with being too harsh on room inspections..

  • Room inspections are only carried out once a month. We do not feel these are too harsh and if you are unsure of any of the requirements please come and speak to us.

You said issues with heating..

  • Our normal heating provision is 3 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening, taking account that many residents are at lectures, classes etc. This is adjusted as weather gets colder or during revision and exam times when residents spend more time in hall.  There have been a few issues with heating which caused air locks in pipes and the noise. Our estates team and porters checked radiators to resolve this.

You said issues with the package area..

  • The packages on the table are all ones that have not required a signature. We have done it like this for a few years and there have been no issues. Any package that requires a signature is kept behind reception and an email notification is sent out. There are plans for a new reception which include a new room/ area for parcels to be stored. This will hopefully start in the next few months.

You said you would like cleaning staff for the rooms..

  • Unfortunately, ABH does not provide a cleaning service for bedrooms

You said issues with the hot water for showers..

  • Currently a project in place to upgrade heating and hot water system

 You said issues with noise control..

  • If you have any issues with noise during the day, please report to reception or management team. After 7pm noise issues should be raised with the Wardens. You can also call the porter who can assist.

You said issues with new room lockout charge/ change rules halfway through the term..

  • You will only be charged on the 3rd occasion that you are locked out. There were new discipline rules this year and lockout charges were assigned for hall management to deal with, unfortunately we did not start them as soon as we should have done.

You said issues with draft in the rooms..

  • I am very sorry this was what you were told the issue should be reported to our Estates team to see if sealant could be fixed or replaced.

You said issues with study bedrooms are unable to use..

  • Study rooms are all in use now and have been since end of November doors all are opened at 8.00am and locked at 11.00pm .

You said issues with power supply in kitchens goes off after 10 minutes..

  • This is a safety feature in all kitchens to minimise the risk of fires. 



Andrew Melville Hall

 

You said issues with recycling and energy saving..

  • We are currently trialling mixed glass, mixed recycling and general waste in K2 kitchen. If this is well received, we will roll it out to the other 2 kitchens as well as the kitchens located in the flats.  We will make up signs for lights that are not on sensors.

You said issues with access to the bike shed and external recycling facilities..

  • The indoor cycle storage will be available from Monday 4th February. Access to outside recycling facilities will be available from Monday 4th February.

You said issues with reception..

  • The reception desk will be closed at odd times during the day if we have to deal with enquiries which take us away from the office.

You said issues with addressing building issues..

  • Right from day 1 we have acted with promptness and efficiency on all reported issues within the building.  However, we have at times struggled within time frames due to dependency on contractors.  We always endeavour to do our best in regards to dealing with queries, however if we cant fix it ourselves then we do need to rely on external partners.  Please let us know what issues you believe are outstanding and we will update you on progress.

You said issues with heating..

  • Heating times can be found on a postcard within the welcome pack given to each student on their arrival.  The heating comes on at 6.30am till 9am and from 4.30pm till 10.30pm, however during cold spells we have the heating on from 6.30am-10.30pm The hot water is available from 6am in the morning.

You said issues with lock out fines..

  • This is not specific to AMH but has been applied in every halls of residence in response to the large amounts of lockouts dealt with by both residence and wardennial staff.

 You said issues with accessible information..

  • Any information that we need to disperse to the hall is done via email (residence admin) and then posted on Facebook.

You said issues with showers, lighting and facilities provided..

  • It is true to say that we have had a lot of problems with the showers and plumbing since our re-opening, however these issues have been addressed. The lights have been put on to a 10 minute timer to alleviate disruption and we will replace with a softer colour once the existing lights fail. We put back all of the equipment that was in place prior to our shutdown, with the exception of the pool table which was deemed unfit for use by the then committee. We have provided new sofas, chairs, bean bags and tables. A new projector and sound system is currently being installed in the middle common room as well as a sound system in the dining room.
DRA and Fife Park

 

You said issues Cleaning Inspection, Craftsmen, Wardennial Team, etc. Always enter the flat without ringing the bell...

  • We always ask any contractor or Estates person to knock or ring the doorbell when entering apartments. We apologise if this is not happening but please let us know immediately and we will follow it up.

You said issues with reported leaking toilet and 3 days later still no-one has been to look at it..

  • We pride ourselves on our quick response to student requests for repairs. If something has not been repaired within 48 hours, please get in touch again.

You said improve the way we are updated about any complaints we make about issues in our flat...

  • We are looking at a formal process whereby we email to keep students informed about what is happening with repairs. At the moment we do this but in a very informal way. 

You said issues inconsistent inspections..

  • We spend a lot of time training our staff to carry out inspections and consistency is key to this process. Our aim is always to assist residents to maintain standards of cleanliness in their apartments and if we can help in any way we are very happy to do so.

You said I wish each of the recycling centres also had a space for food waste..

  • There are food waste recycling bins at Nansen and Fraser. We are working with the Transitions to team to look at the posiibility of installing further bins.

You said why is Fife park laundrette not 24/7..

  • In line with our halls of residence where the washing machines and dryers are located near student bedrooms there is a cut off time due to the noise the laundry creates.

 You said issues with parcel collection times..

  • This year we have changed the collection hours to any time after 11am. We do close the service between 8am and 11am to allow us to log new parcels on to the system.
Deans Court

 

You said issues with communication with hall committees..

  • 2016/17/18 saw a vast improvement with monthly Residential experience meetings taking place

You said issues with enforcing good behaviour of all residents..

  • Recently we have seen an increase in issues raised regarding shared spaces we work very hard to resolve these issues informal however recently we have had to take more formal action.

You said issues with heating..

  • Our normal heating provision is 3 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening, taking account that many residents are at lectures, classes etc. This is adjusted as weather gets colder or during revision and exam times when residents spend more time in hall. There have been a few issues raised with heating that have quickly been resolved by our porters or Estates team.

You said issues with recylcing options..

  • We work collaboratively with our colleagues in Estates to improve recycling within our halls – we welcome suggestions from residents to make recycling even better

You said rooms are minimalistic - space for a sofa would make rooms more comfortable..

  • Unfortunately, bedroom size cannot be altered however we have recently upgraded the sofas and chairs in common room  
Gannochy Hall

 

You said issues with radiators making a banging noise at night..

  • This was due to the expansion/contraction of pipes when the heating came on/off after numerous investigations student was offered alternative accommodation which was declined.

You said staff to work longer hours at the weekend..

  • Residents can access a member of university staff 24/7 our How to get help poster explains what to do when the hall office is closed.

You said issues wiht visible/initial contact..

  • We are around for meet and greet during arrivals and we take part in the welcome talks - where possible we personally show new residents around and introduce housekeeping and porters – we have an open-door policy which resident are made aware of.



John Burnet Hall

 

You said issues with the availability of porters..

  • We appreciate there may be times when people call at the office and there is nobody there to help them. If this is the case there will always be a notice on the door with a contact number on which either the Manager or Porter can be contacted. The number given goes through to a mobile phone so time should be allowed for this to connect. As a further improvement we are making alterations to working patterns which we hope will improve availability of staff when needed. It should also be pointed out that there will always be a member of catering staff on site between 8.00am and 7.00pm and they can be contacted in an emergency if no Manager or Porter can be contacted.

You said issues with heating times and cleanes should clean ensuite bathrooms..

  • A number of factors are considered when the heating times are set such as the prevailing weather, season, times of highest occupancy in the building etc., but we always have the ability to adjust this if it is necessary. If you have concerns you should raise these at the time with any member of staff or Manager. Throughout University accommodation it is the responsibility of the occupants of ensuite accommodation to clean their own shower rooms.

You said issues with advertising for local business in rooms and by email..

  • We would never disclose any resident’s email address to anyone so, if you have been contacted in this way, it was not through R&BS. We do not allow flyers or any type of advertising to be put in bedrooms or under bedroom doors although occasionally students will be paid to do this without our knowledge or permission. This year a local restaurant gifted vouchers for free pizzas which were included in the welcome packs in rooms but this was a ‘one off’ and may not be repeated.

You said issues with laundry not being open 24/7, bigger kitchen lockers and the option for self-catering in the annexe..

  • Unfortunately there are bedrooms directly above the laundry and that is why we cannot keep it open 24/7. This is a fully catered Hall so the size of the kitchen lockers are appropriate for this, and if you require self catering accommodation this needs to be stated on your accommodation application.

You said hall would be better off with modernisation and refurbishment such as window frames..

  • There is planned window replacement/refurbishment for the first available period when business allows.

You said consult students with regards to preferred heating times..

  • We are happy for you to come to discuss this with us. You can also raise this via the student committee who will bring it to our attention.  You can also do this through Students Association President.

 You said provide residents guides upon arrival..

  • We encourage people to report any problems to us as soon as they can. If it is something we can do in-house we will attend to it as soon as we can. If it is a problem which needs to be dealt with by our Estates Department we report it right away and they will attend to it as soon as they can.

You said quicker/better improvements to recurring problems e.g. toilets not flushing properly ..

  • You will only be charged on the 3rd occasion that you are locked out. There were new discipline rules this year and lockout charges were assigned for hall management to deal with, unfortunately we did not start them as soon as we should have done.

You said issues with heating in the annexe as the mornings are really cold..

We are going to monitor the heating levels (minimum and maximum) over the next few weeks and feed this information back to our Estates Department for discussion about resolving this issue.

McIntosh Hall

 

You said issues with office hours - who do we contact for help?

  • How to Get Help posters are in each bedroom and outside the RSM and Wardens offices. These give all contact information, times and phone numbers. There is also a notice on the Warden office door which gives the time of the ‘drop-in’ session (Mon – Fri 7.30 – 7.45pm).  If the office has to be left unoccupied for any reason there will always be a notice telling people who to contact for assistance.

You said issues with friendliness and apprachablity..

  • All staff are encouraged to be friendly and welcoming to students. I believe this is the case but if anyone had a negative experience, I would encourage them to bring it to me at the time and I would address it then.

You said issues with lack of information on what equipment can be brought into the Hall..

  • The new, comprehensive list of equipment etc. allowed and not allowed in Halls will help clarify the issues these raise and hopefully we can do the same for plugs and adaptors. It would help us if the PAT testers did not test and pass non-British plugs and adaptors.

You said issues with not listening to the students..

  • The RSM office door is always open to students and we are happy to help at any time. Student Experience meetings are held monthly and are should be shared by your committee

You said could study rooms be cleaned more often..

  • At present the study rooms are cleaned once a week and this has always been deemed enough. We will look at this again.

You said enforce quiet hours adn keep kitchens cleaner..

  • Quiet hours are imposed for the benefit of all residents and it is only the residents who can ensure this is respected. Similarly, the floor kitchens are cleaned once a week by the cleaners but it is the residents using these areas who should clean up properly behind them.

 You said improve the laundry and cleaning..

  • Laundry facilities are provided and managed by an external company as this was identified as the most effective way to provide this facility.  If there is a problem with heating please speak to a member of staff or manager and it will be attended to.

You said introduce recycling facilities in the rooms..

  • The size of the bedrooms makes it difficult to put any further recycling facilities in the rooms. There are, however, good internal and external recycling areas provided

You said provide full length mirrors in the bedrooms..

  • There is not enough space to have full length mirrors in all the bedrooms but we do have full length mirrors on every floor corridor.

You said more affordable accommodation, cleaning when we want it, self catering..

    • You need to request the style of accommodation to suit your needs.  We are happy to discuss any problems you may have, just come and see us, our door is always open.

You said they are spiders in my room..

  • We will never eliminate all unwanted ‘sharing’ occupants, but in instances such as this you should bring it to the attention of your cleaner who will try to relocate them without causing them harm.

 

Powell Hall

 

You said issues with interruptions with workmen carrying out snagging..

  • Unfortunately, this work was required to be carried out.

You said issues with locout charges..

  • You will only be charged on the 3rd occasion that you are locked out. There were new discipline rules this year and lockout charges were assigned for hall management to deal with, unfortunately we did not start them as soon as we should have done.

You said issues with card not working on door correctly..

  • These were reported to the contractor to repair sorry it took so long.

You said issues with shortage of outside recycling bins..

  • We have 2 recycling areas one behind Powell and one in front, the bins do fill up quickly and we are currently waiting to get additional ones.

You said room inspections are patronising..

  • Room inspections are only carried out once a month. We do not feel these are too harsh and if you are unsure of any of the requirements please come and speak to us.
St Regulus Hall

 

You said issues with food theft..

  • Unfortunately, this can happen in shared facilities – we work with residents as best we can to reduce this.

You said issues with minifridges in rooms..

  • Mini fridges are only provided on medical grounds – we do not have the space or budget to give everyone their own minifridge.

You said issues with heating..

  • Our normal heating provision is 3 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening, taking account that many residents are at lectures, classes etc. This is adjusted as weather gets colder or during revision and exam times when residents spend more time in hall.

You said Saturday openings to collect packages..

  • Residents are more likely to be in hall at weekends therefore arrangements should be made with couriers to receive packages directly.

You said longer office open hours..

  • Office hours have been extended – the office is now open earlier- we found that residents are more likely to require assistance first thing before going out for the day.

You said issues with laundry machines..

  • We have recently upgraded/changed laundry supplier we work closely with our colleagues in Circuit/Washstation to ensure  service requirements are met.

 You said issues with designated quiet spaces..

  • The library would be considered a designated quite space, however if this is not the case residents can call on RSM/DRSM or wardens for assistance to remind others that the library is a designated quite space.

You said issues with new furniture..

  • Over the past three years we have replaced old with new furniture in all common spaces.
St Salvator's Hall

 

You said issues with office hours..

  • Office hours have been extended – the office is now open earlier – we found that residents are more likely to require assistance first thing before going out for the day.

You said issues with communication..

  • We have an open-door policy – we communicate via hall committee – Facebook and res-admin

You said issues with extra toilet paper..

  • We have recently changes supplier our systems now hold more toilet paper – which is filled regularly

You said issues with bathrooms not being cleaned at the weekend..

  • Service levels are met according to contracts

You said issues with lack of vacuuming of bedrooms..

  • Vacuums are available if additional vacuuming is required – rooms are vacuumed weekly

You said issues the laundry facilities..

  • We have recently upgraded/changed laundry suppliers – we work closely with our colleagues in Circuit/Washstation to ensure service requirements are met.

 You said issues with interaction with residents..

  • Staff attend annual customer care training – we use a variety of communication methods/tools to ensure we are engaging with residents – we have an open- door policy.



University Hall

 

You said issues with heating..

  • Heating times can be found on a postcard within the welcome pack given to each student on their arrival.  The heating comes on at 6.30am till 9am and from 4.30pm till 10.30pm, however during cold spells and revision periods we have the heating on from 6.30am-10.30pm.  The hot water is available from 6am in the morning.  If you feel that your radiators are not that hot then please come to the office and we will get a heating engineer to look at the problem.

You said issues with office accessibility..

  • Our office has an open door policy so anyone can come along for a chat or a query. We are also accessible by email or the University hall Facebook group.

University owned and managed properties

 

You said issues with noise..

  • Monitoring and investigation of any received comments or complaints regarding noise or disruption to residents with appropriate advice and assistance issued to deal with any problems of this nature.

You said issues with how to get help..

  • Updated information/easy guide on how to get help has been introduced for all residents.

  • University Estates & Security staff provide an on-call response to any maintenance emergencies that occur out with our normal working hours.

  • Office space has been created at Angus & Stanley Smith House allowing Property Assistants to have a daily presence on site.

  • Student Accommodation staff are available to assist with all enquiries, maintenance requests etc. and emails are/will be issued to residents confirming any access requirements by either University staff or their appointed tradesmen.

You said issues with recycling and environmental..

  • Clothes drying facilities are available and additional outdoor rotary dryers have been provided as required.
  • Environmental, Energy and Sustainability advice and information is provided on the University web pages, and in the tenancy information packs which are issued to tenants with house keys on arrival. 
  • Coloured recycling containers are being purchased for distribution in the University owned properties.
  • Food waste recycling is to be reviewed with the Estates Office Environmental team.
  • Waste disposal facilities are monitored regularly at each University owned site.

You said issues with communication and access to properties by staff and contractors..

  • We aim to ensure that we have good communication channels with our tenants regarding all required access to their accommodation and also if a matter requires further investigation or works. We try to keep them advised of progress and up to date with developments. 
  • We aim to carry out as many Estates contactors maintenance visits during vacation periods where possible and when this is not possible to schedule these for dates when our own staff are on site carrying out our own weekly checks thus reducing disturbance to our residents.
  • University staff are required to visit regularly to carry out Health & Safety checks to ensure compliance with current legislation, University accommodation contract terms & conditions and the welfare of our residents.   
  • Liaison with University Estates Office to ensure reactive response to maintenance issues that occur in University owned accommodation.
  • Emails are being introduced as a follow up to the tenancy renewal application letters for the University managed properties which are issued in early January, just to remind residents that these are to be completed and returned to us ahead of the requested date and that an email application is also acceptable.

You said issues with marketing and advertising.

  • University Property Management Scheme is promoted on our web pages, using the electronic message board sited in The Students Union, St Marys Place, using the street ‘A board’ Information in North Street, the new signage on the Property Services vehicle and in the local press as required.
  • Student Accommodation Services and Residences staff held an open day and drop in sessions at various locations, to advise returning students on the application process and the choice of properties available for them.  
  • Continue to provide up to date property information for tenants ahead of the accommodation application stage, following the viewing of the properties that tenants are interested in applying for and then at their lease signing meeting following their successful allocation.

You said issues with cycle storage..

  • Bicycle storage is already available on site at Angus & Stanley.

 You said issues with laundry..

  • The ratio of  laundry facilities to students is above average at Angus and Stanley and the contractor will not install additional machines in this case

You said issues with heating..

  • All University owned properties are fitted with economical systems and controls which the residents can use to turn on/off the heating provision at any time. 
  • Properties leased by University must have adequate heating and lighting provision prior to any tenancy starting. 
  • Student Accommodation staff are available to assist with all enquiries and to show the residents how to operate the heating systems. University heating engineers and appointed University contractors are also available to show tenants the most economical way for a system to be operated should this be required.
  • Tenants are provided with back up/emergency heaters as appropriate should there be any breakdown in the heating system which cannot be immediately resolved. 

You said issues with improved facilities..

  • All managed properties are inspected to ensure properties meet statutory requirements with regards to Health & Safety and compliance with the University’s leasing requirements. Reports sent to landlords as necessary. 
  • Constant communication with landlords regarding possible upgrades as required in relation to housing stock. 
  • All properties are checked for cleanliness etc. ahead of new tenancies starting and in readiness for new arrivals. Inventories, accurate meter readings are also taken and provided.
  • Stanley Smith House and Angus House refurbishment has been completed, with improved shower and kitchen facilities now present. 
  • Provision of 2 disabled access bedrooms and facilities are now available within Angus & Stanley.
  • Gregory Place complete refurbishment now provides postgraduate accommodation for 14 students. 

You said issues with maintenance and repairs..

  • Prompt reactive response to any maintenance issues and repair requests raised by all tenants occupying all properties to ensure we continue to meet our current service levels and commitments. 
  • Our aim is for any maintenance request to be checked and completed whenever possible on the same day the matter is reported to Student Accommodation Services. 
  • Student Accommodation staff are available to assist with all enquiries, maintenance requests etc.
  • University staff are required to visit regularly to carry out Health & Safety checks to ensure compliance with current legislation and emails are and will be issued to residents confirming any access requirements by either University staff or their appointed tradesmen.
  • University Estates & Security staff provide an on-call response to any maintenance emergencies that occur out with our normal working hours.
  • Liaison with University Estates Office to ensure that there is a reactive response to maintenance issues that occur in University Owned Accommodation. 

You said issues with pre-arrivals information and arrivals weekend..

  • Property photographs and tenancy information is regularly reviewed and updated for circulation to new and prospective tenants. 
  • Copies of inventories are provided upon request at application stage, during lease signing interviews and also for information ahead of a tenant’s arrival.
  • Use of University web site for circulation of property information and availability and Student Pad software as appropriate. 
  • Continued preparation of current/updated property inventories and information for inclusion with tenancy information packs which are issued to tenants with keys when tenancy commences.
  • Information, assistance and advice in relation to council tax liability/exemption is provided to all residents on request, on the University web pages, in the Frequently Asked Questions section and is also discussed at the lease signing interviews for the managed properties.
  • Arrivals information is provided along with how and where to collect keys.  
  • Maps are available for tenants when keys are collected.
  • We are reviewing our Out of Hours Arrivals procedures to improve student experience
  • Student Accommodation staff are on duty during arrivals weekend to provide trollies, to assist residents with their luggage into their rooms and provide any directions.   
  • Staff already lower the bollard to provide access to the Angus & Stanley car park to allow vehicles to use the very limited space available for dropping off/unloading as close the residence as possible



Whitehorn Hall

 

You said issues with mail and parcels..

  • The collection of mail parcels etc, was explained in the welcome letter that was put in everyones room prior to arrival. I also emailed and put on facebook the procedure.  The new mail box system will be up and running by the end of next week. We were waiting on extra keys, now that we have them we will get little key hooks put in each kitchen with a reference to the mail box number (to be shared by all kitchen users). The procedure for parcels will still be the same (collection from RSM office if signed for and crush hall in Lumsden if not signed for). There are no plans to open reception.

You said issues with bedroom complaints..

  • If we have not acknowledged your email then we apologise. This slipped through the net. We normally reply to say thank you for letting us know and what our next step will be.  With regards to the timings, we are constricted by how quickly the contractor can respond.  We always endeavour to give at least 24hrs notice, however this is not always possible.

You said issues with recycling..

  • The big bin should not be required now that all of the recycling facilities have been put in place in each kitchen.