What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious Legionnaires’ disease, as well as the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection.
The risk increases with age but some people are at higher risk including:
- people over 45 years of age
- smokers and heavy drinkers
- people suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
- diabetes, lung and heart disease
- anyone with an impaired immune system
Where does it come from?
Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems, e.g. rivers and ponds. However, the conditions are rarely right for people to catch the disease from these sources. Outbreaks of the illness occur from exposure to legionella growing in purpose-built systems where water is maintained at a temperature high enough to encourage growth, e.g. cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools used in all sorts of premises (work and domestic).
How do people get it?
People contract Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling small droplets of water (aerosols), suspended in the air, containing the bacteria. Certain conditions increase the risk from legionella if:
- the water temperature in all or some parts of the system may be between 20-45 °C, which is suitable for growth
- it is possible for breathable water droplets to be created and dispersed e.g. aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets
- water is stored and/or re-circulated
- there are deposits that can support bacterial growth providing a source of nutrients for the organism e.g. rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms
TouchRight is here to help…
There continues to be lots of discussion on letting agent and landlord forums about the requirements to carry out risk Legionella Risk Assessments on managed properties, and what the responsibilities are for all parties. The onus is on the landlords to get the Risk Assessment done in each of their properties, however if the property is being managed by a letting agency/property management company, then the onus is on them to inform the landlord that they should consider a Risk Assessment on their property. Although we know that residential properties are in a lower risk situation (as they generally have a high turnover of water), a risk assessment is still recommended and it will need periodically updating.
We have a number of national, qualified Legionella providers who are using TouchRight to complete Legionella Reports digitally for their clients and we have recently used this resource to help out a number of letting agents across the UK who do not have the in-house resources or expertise to complete those reports themselves.
We can help provide you with a similar service, to connect you with a national provider who have staff on-hand who are trained and ready. They will use TouchRight to produce a professional report in a fraction of the time, using the Risk Assessment template and a follow-up Review template, to periodically review the property. The templates follow guidelines set out by the Residential Landlords Association. The report will be created quickly and easily at a property on a mobile or tablet device via the TouchRight app, and then synced back to their TouchRight Dashboard for their office manager to review before sending you the PDF report for your files, ready to send onto the landlord.
If the property addresses are close together, 15 reports can often be completed in one day by one trained person. So with a little bit of coordination at your end (planning and tracking a daily schedule, letting the tenants know and getting the keys ready) you will have all your portfolio complete in no time. Invoicing will be done on a weekly basis and the good thing is that multiple back to back days will result in volume pricing…
If you think this service could be useful to you, please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call to discuss any thoughts on 01904 390109.