Customers who pay a service charge will receive some or all of the environmental services Midland Heart offers. These include:
- Cleaning of communal areas
- Window cleaning
- Grounds maintenance
We've worked with our customers to develop the specification and service standards whilst recruiting a core team of contractors to deliver Environmental Services, including Grounds Maintenance, Communal Cleaning and Window Cleaning services. Read more about what each of these areas involves and meet the contractors who are keeping your local area clean and tidy.
- Meet your contractors
What level of service can you expect?
We encourage all of our contractors to work within a simple framework which includes some basic guidelines to ensure quality is always a top priority. Visits to your home during the growing season (March – November), will be completed approximately once every three weeks. During the winter months (November – February) you will receive a monthly visit (weather permitting). Please read below to find out what work is completed during these visits.
• Grass will be cut during the growing season (March to November). If the grass does not need to be cut or cannot be cut due to the weather, the contractor will complete other grounds maintenance tasks during their visit.
• The contractor will also remove the grass cuttings on the first and last grass cuts. The grass cuttings will not be removed during their other visits and a ‘Cut and Drop’ method will be used.
• The mulching process (‘Cut and Drop’) cuts the grass into fine pieces so it is naturally spread and absorbed into the grass. This method is also more eco-friendly and adds vital nutrients to produce a healthier lawn.
• After every visit the contractors will leave your communal areas clean and tidy and ensure there are no hazards such as: shrubbery encroaching on the footpaths, low hanging branches causing obstruction.
Shrub borders and hedges
• All shrub borders and hedges are cared for and pruned, mainly in the winter months (November – February), to retain the shape of the plants and allow for flowering periods.
• We are always careful to ensure that growth of these borders, hedges and climbing plants are monitored so they do not affect sight lines for traffic, block light to windows and vents, or public footpaths.
Weeds are treated using herbicide in all areas except on grassed areas. Where appropriate they will be removed manually depending on growth.
Litter is collected and disposed of during each visit. Visits can be increased where there is a specific litter issue occurring, and we will always take time to investigate where these issues increase.
Leaf fall collection
This service begins around November to collect the first fall of autumn leaves and continues over the winter period until all the leaves are cleared. This can last right up until the end of February.
What is not included?
Tree works, control of invasive weeds (e.g. Japanese Knotweed), removal of bulk waste, animal or human waste is not included in the Grounds Maintenance service.
What level of service can you expect?
Communal Cleaning takes place in a hybrid cycle, which means that every site is visited in two-week cycles (unless otherwise specified), The main tasks completed during each visit includes:
• Vacuuming carpeted areas (where electric points are available) or sweeping and mopping of non-carpeted floors.
• Wiping down of handrails and skirting boards.
• Removing marks and stains from walls, floor, and woodwork where possible.
• Dusting and polishing of surfaces removing cobwebs where necessary.
• Cleaning of internal windows, sills and frames.
• Removing litter and debris from internal bin areas.
• Wiping and removing scale from sanitary-ware in kitchens, bathrooms and washrooms.
• Replacing internal light bulbs in communal areas (excludes emergency lighting).
• Carpeted communal areas will receive an annual carpet clean.
What level of service can you expect?
The Window Cleaning framework requires all windows, frames, sills and doors will be cleaned on a regular basis. The contractors will begin cleaning at the highest level windows to avoid any unwanted drips.
Ground level windows and doors will be cleaned using a cloth and blade system and for Health and Safety reasons, no ladders will be used as standard practice. The contractor will aim to remove all obvious drips and streaks on windows.
Windows above ground level will be cleaned using an environmentally friendly Pure Water Fed Pole System. This type of system allows windows, sills and frames to be cleaned without the operative leaving the ground, which is much safer for both the operative and our customers.
The pure water cleans the windows without the use of detergents, using the water flow and a flexible brush to loosen dirt and leave the window even cleaner than using traditional detergents.
Water will be left on the windows but this will dry naturally without leaving any smears.
PLEASE NOTE: if you try and dry your windows after they have been cleaned using this system, you will cause the window to smear.
Checking contractor performance
Our Environmental Services are checked regularly for quality and value. We do this through three main channels:
Quality Site Inspections
These inspections are carried out by Place Officers and Rangers. They focus on checking quality and how each contractor has followed the agreed guidelines. A simple Pass or Fail scoring system is used.
- Pass – awarded to contractors who fit within the guidelines.
- Fail - awarded to sites which are either:
- Mostly within the guidelines but could be improved further.
- Do not meet the required standard.
Customer Inspections (Customer Ambassadors)
We have recruited a group of volunteer Customer Ambassadors who carry out their own independent inspections of their own communal area and other random sites. These inspections are crucial in establishing a balanced viewpoint of our services and wouldn’t be possible without the help of our dedicated customer volunteers.
If you are interested in being a customer ambassador please complete this form
Each month we ask an independent research company to carry out surveys with a range of customers on their overall satisfaction with Environmental Services in their area. The results of these surveys then form part of the overall scoring for our contractors.
Frequently asked questions
The grass is not collected anymore. Why is this?
Cost savings to you. Providing a grass collection service would double costs due to an increase in labour, vehicles, machinery, fuel and disposal.
- Saves time (no more bagging).
- Saves money (less water and fertiliser are needed for lawns).
- Saves landfill space which is good for the environment.
- Encourages a healthier lawn (clippings contain valuable nutrients).
- Saves energy (mowing time, hauling to the landfill)
How often will you be cutting the grass?
You will receive 13 cuts during the growing season (March to November) which works out that your grass should be cut every 2 – 3 weeks
Why don’t you cut all the shrubs at the same time?
Many shrubs go through a flowering period, and bulk pruning can stop this flowering from happening. To keep shrubs looking their best, pruning is carried out once they have finished their flowering period, which is also much better for the environment and local wildlife.
Only one side of the shrub outside of my door has been pruned, why is this?
We carry out what we call a ‘containment prune’ in areas where there is a likelihood of the shrub blocking access to properties, particularly if there is a need for disabled access. The rest of the shrub is then left alone as long as it is healthy and at an acceptable size.
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