Senior Legal/Disrepair Surveyor – Repairs and Maintenance
Location : Manchester M9 8GQ
Salary : £34,728 - £38,890 with excellent pension scheme
Fixed Term Contract : Up to 6 months with a possibility to go permanent
Hours : 35 hours per week
Based : North Manchester
Closing date for applications : 18th January 2021 – Midday
Interviews : w/c 25th January 2021.
Main purpose of the job:
To act as Lead Officer and Expert Witness in determining legal liability and defending both Northwards housing and Manchester City Council on allocated legal cases, through the delivery of high quality case management.
To ensure compliance with the Landlords obligations in litigation and arbitration proceedings in areas of disrepair, statutory nuisance, land ownership, illegal evictions and incidents of personal injury, providing a comprehensive and vigorous defence.
To work in conjunction with the Legal Surveying Manager to lead and manage on designated specialist areas of work keeping within financial restraints and budgets, i.e. Service Level Agreements, Structural referrals, Dry/Wet rot.
Key Areas of Responsibility
- Be responsible for the management of an extensive caseload of individual/collective legal cases by providing a comprehensive and vigorous defence in a demand-led litigation system which is highly pressurised and often confrontational.
- To be responsible for the management and delivery of both the Highway Service Level Agreement, Specialist areas of Timber Infestation and Structural projects.
- Act as ManchesterCity Council/ Northwards Housing designated Expert Witness in Court Proceedings, providing a high level of technical and legal evidence in a concise and clear oral or written format.
- Defend the litigated action to minimize incurred costs.
- To deputise for the Legal Surveying Manager in her/his absence in the post holder’s own service areas. This is to involve advising on high level complex and contentious issues which have substantial implications on service delivery.
- Establish effective relationships with other sections of Northwards Housing to ensure that up to date property information is integrated into the work of the team (e.g. capital programme) and work with the Legal Surveying Manager to develop/implement policy and procedure.
- To make decisions in difficult situations exercising initiative in order to resolve serious problems.
- Be able to understand, analyse and evaluate the cost implications and the technical and legal implications of Plaintiff’s Surveyor report, Scott schedule, specialist reports and Solicitors correspondence so as to interpret and determine obligations/ liability.
- To promote and undertake comprehensive building surveys and inspections with the Plaintiff’s Surveying / Structural/Legal Expert(s) as instructed by the courts or others in order to establish and negotiate the extent of liability, costs and repairing obligations.
- To undertake detailed surveying / technical inspections which require a high level of diagnostic investigations and testing to ensure accurate work specifications in compliance with current legislation, BRE standards, professional guidelines and best practice.
- The development and justification of alternative and non-standard technical solutions to complex problems, where prescriptive solutions may be inappropriate.
- Assessment of basic structural, thermal and drainage engineering calculations/designs.
- To ensure compliance with all guidance notes, budgets, procedures and timescale requirements relating to legal cases and when necessary to commission other specialist investigations/reports ensuring that relevant specifications/recommendations are undertaken in order to negate legal liability.
- To act as Lead Officer for all cases allocated to you and to be responsible for leading the liaison with all parties, including tenants and their representatives, to efficiently and effectively resolve legal proceedings in a fully coordinated response.
- Maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health & Safety Regulations and good practice requirements throughout the company.
- Actively follow all Northwards policies including Equal Opportunities policies
- To carry out any other duties within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job as requested by management as s duties and responsibilities change, the job description will be reviewed
- Take personal responsibility for minimising Northwards impact on the environment by supporting our green agenda.
- Undertake strict confidentiality at all times.
- To act as the client’s designated officer who is responsible to the Court for complying with the Civil Proceedings Protocol of Document Disclosure in proceedings. Involving a high level of liaison and confidentiality with officers and other departments to ensure compliance with legal obligations.
- To be responsible for ensuring that all legal reports, documentation, data and supporting evidence etc is properly collated in the required format(s) and presented to legal representatives within the required strict timescales.
- To attend meetings as landlords expert at Barristers Chambers to advise on all technical issues, tenancy obligations etc in order to provide instructions to legal representatives in the management and direction of individual cases/proceedings to stringent timescales.
- To carry out full and extensive surveys of properties prior to take up of residency in the case of a legal decant, to avoid any possible further legal claims/costs. Advice landlord of any onerous conditions which may apply.
- Establish and maintain accurate and comprehensive case records and costs of pre and post contract developments and progression on legal cases and ordered works, which can be provided as evidence to support litigation in Court.
- Compile detailed schedules of work ensuring value for money (VFM). Strive in
- Improving VFM on repairs scheduled ordered and high quality service delivery.
- Action the requirements under the Party Wall Act 1996 etc.
- Carry out and report hazard identification/risk assessment as necessary.
- Complying and action Current legislation in respect of Building Regulations on extensive refurbishment projects.
- Undertake the inspection of building and allied trade repairs to ascertain and certify that:
(a) The work instruction and technical standards have been correctly interpreted and actioned.
(b) The quality of materials and work are in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract, the Schedule Specifications and any Specific Performance or Tomlin Order requirements agreed by the Court or legal representatives.
(c) The quantities and charges have been correctly applied in accordance with the contract “Schedule of Rates”.
- To ensure the prompt and comprehensive post inspection of works undertaken and to act as lead officer in establishing daily and weekly monitoring meetings as required.
- To quickly resolve any problems with the Contractors/Specialist Contractor, prepare and collate Contractual Certificates, Variations Orders, and Guarantees etc in accordance with the contract and to authorise or withhold payment in compliance with the contract and procedures. Agree on stage payments on large projects.
- Assist the Legal Surveying Manager to accurately monitor all services/budgets provided and works administered in accordance with procedures and management requirements.
- As and when directed by the Legal Surveying Manager, provide appropriate advice to other staff in respect of legal matters relating to repairing issues and to assist in the provision of any induction training initiatives to staff.
- Adopt a flexible approach to cover when staff are absent and be prepared to vary annual leave, flexi time leave applications to accommodate any legal requirements to attend at notified Court/Trial proceedings. To deputise for the Legal Surveying Manager in times of absence as detailed.
- Exploring new technical and procedural methods of working with other agencies and departments to achieve the functional requirements of the landlords repairing obligations or improvement works.
- Advising on legislation in relation to all types of buildings, including assisting in the production of technical guidance and presentation.
- Advising on the effects of City Council policies and priorities in relation to the landlords obligations.
- Through personal example, open commitment and clear action, ensure diversity is positively valued, resulting in equal access and treatment in employment, service delivery and external communications.
Where the postholder is disabled, every effort will be made to supply all necessary aids, adaptations or equipment to allow them to carry out all the duties of the job. If, however, a certain task proves to be unachievable, job redesign will be given full consideration.
Skills, Abilities, Experience
- Ability to co-ordinate and plan own workload. Ability to manage conflicting priorities in a pressurised work environment subject to frequently changing circumstances in order to meet laid down deadlines.
- Ability to work independently and within teams and to take responsibility for quality and quantity of work.
- Ability to work creatively with tenants to resolve difficulties with specifications, access and completion
- Ability to use word processing software, spreadsheets and databases.
- Ability to respond to information requests in accordance with deadlines.
- Ability to demonstrate a commitment to learning and continuous professional development.
- Excellent legal report writing skills to comply with civil procedure governing expert evidence and duties to the Court.
- Good knowledge and understanding of the Building Regulations and legislation associated with Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Environmental Protection Act, Defective premises act, Protocol for personal injury.
- To be proficient in all aspects of surveying diagnostics and equipment including the use of sophisticated instruments.
- Have experience of negotiating and limiting the validity and viability of disrepair items in the best and most cost-effective interests of both Manchester City Council and Northwards Housing.
- Excellent presentation skills to communicate complex technical issues to a variety of audiences.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills including an assertive, helpful and professional manner and the ability to communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds.
- Detailed knowledge and experiences of structural principles in particular when applied to complex projects.
- Aility to work under pressure and organise / prioritise workload.
- Evidence of successful resource and financial management.
- Competence at using a range of computer software packages.
- Ability to survey buildings, evaluates findings, produce accurate written reports, draw conclusions, and make recommendation.
- Ability to work within a performance management regime and ability to encourage others to achieve high performance through personal example.
- An effective case manager and team member.
- Effective communication and negotiating skills.
- Skills in resolving complex and sensitive problems.
- Have 5 years directly related experience in building surveying in the construction industry with a minimum HND/HNC or equivalent qualification in construction.
- Hold a CSRT qualification or full membership of CIOB or RICS with 2 years directly related experience within a legal surveying environment.
- Personal commitment to the corporate values and objectives of Northwards Housing and culture of continuous service improvement.
- Commitment to own personal development and take full advantage of training provided
- To work positively and inclusively with colleagues and customers so that Northwards Housing provides a workplace and delivers services that do not discriminate againstpeople on the ground of their age, sexuality, religion or belief, race, gender or disabilities.
- Tact, diplomacy and complete confidentiality in all areas of responsibility.
- Flexibility to adapt to changing workload demands and new organisational challenges.
- A pro-active and positive approach to be able to deal with challenges and issues as they arise.
- Self motivation and personal drive to complete tasks to strict time scales and quality standards.
- Desire to pursue own personal development and take full advantage of training provided.