I notice this afternoon that ten schools in our area are closed because they have had burst pipes.
In the holidays (28th December in fact) I had a phone call from a concerned parishioner who had noticed water gushing from our school’s boiler house. Obviously a burst pipe. She’d phoned me as she wasn’t sure who to contact about it.
So I went straight to Sandwell Council’s shiny new website and after a little hunting found a number for Emergency Property Maintainance/ Council Buildings – 0121 569 4537. But when I called the number I was told that no forwarding or answering service was available and it rang off. So not much good for Emergencies with Council Buildings, eh?
In the end I called the Chair of Governors, who had a personal phone number for the school’s Site Manager. He was able to go in and turn off the water and minimise the damage (and the water bills).
Obviously, we were rather fortunate to have had a call from someone who saw the leak and knew someone associated with the school who could do something about it. But if anyone else, without school connections, had noticed a leak in any other school building during the holidays, Sandwell Council do not really make it possible for anyone to be alerted. Time to sharpen up the act, guys. There’s not much money around and the less wasted on water damage the better.