- YOUR UNION
WELFARE, ADVICE &
SPORTS CLUBS &
- B4 BAR
Click here to download the below information as a .pdf document.
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR RESIDENTS OF ASTON BROOK GREEN
Firstly, I apologise if this comes across as a big list of ‘dos and don’ts’, but it is meant to make your stay at ABG trouble-free and can save you time and money if you read it thoroughly.
Aston Brook Green was developed from 58 run-down properties some 30 years ago. The properties are owned by Midland Heart Housing Association Ltd. and are managed by Aston Students’ Union.
This booklet has been produced to let you know how the site is run and how to get things done. I am responsible to a Management Committee made up of students and staff of the University. Student representatives on this committee are either elected from Union Council or the Residents’ Association. If you wish to know more about either of these, particularly the latter, please contact me.
I would ask that if you do have problems that they are reported to the relevant person as soon as possible. Please do not put it off, as the situation will only become worse. I am unable to ascertain whether repairs have been effectively carried out so if you are not happy with the rate at which things are going please inform me.
Reading this carefully will help make Aston Brook Green a safe and pleasant environment to live in. With the co-operation and involvement of all the tenants Aston Brook Green is a close-knit community and we would like it to remain so. If you have any suggestions as to how this situation can be improved please let me know.
My hours are -
Monday - 0800 - 1600
Tuesday - 0800 - 1300
Wednesday - 0800 - 1700
Thursday - 0800 - 1600
Friday - 0800 - 1600
The schedule below will tell you where I will be and my availability to see you. Although it is not cast in stone because of emergencies and meetings I aim to keep to this schedule at least 90% of the time. Please note that I am not available on Tuesday afternoons.
With the exception of an emergency I should not be contacted outside of these hours and then only if you cannot locate one of the Deputy Wardens.
If they are unavailable please ring me on the mobile phone number you will find in the booklet circulated to all flats or at the bottom of any email from me. (I do not respond to text messages)
Please note that an emergency is an occasion where there is likely to be damage to your person or to property or you have lost your keys. Anything that can reasonably wait until normal office hours to be dealt with should be left until then.
This applies to the carpets, curtains and furniture, including cookers and fridges. Problems with these items and with decorations should be reported to the Housing Manager for his attention.
From 11th January 2010 there will be a handyman service available at Aston Brook Green. The handyman will work out of the Office at Flat 1 during the following times -
Monday 11.00am - 3.00pm
Wednesday 9.00am - 5.00pm
He will be able to carry out minor maintenance such as -
plus other non-major type of maintenance items. If you are not sure just email the Housing Manager and he will let you know whether the work can be carried out by the handyman or needs to be reported to the Housing Association for their attention.
If you have any repairs of this nature please download and complete this form. The form can either be filled in electronically and emailed to the Housing Manager or printed off, completed by hand and posted through the office letterbox at Flat 1 Aston Brook Green.
This applies to the fabric of the building, including the heating, water, doors, windows and electrical systems and is the responsibility of Midland Heart Housing Association Ltd. who owns the properties. Before reporting a fault with the heating/hot water system please read the section about central heating. These types of problems should be reported to Midland Heart Customer Services Team on:
0345 602 0540 (daytime)
(calls to the above number are included within the inclusive minutes of a mobile phone contract)
0845 604 5607 (night time)
Please keep logs of phone calls and copies of emails so that if there are problems we have proof of them being reported should a problem arise.
How quickly will your repairs be done?
Attended within two hours, completed within 24 hours.
Relates to danger to life or a loss of property (e.g. burst pipes, severe roof leaks, loss of heating in cold weather where there is no other form of heating available).
Completed within 5 working days.
Relates to repairs that materially affect your comfort or convenience (e.g. partial loss of electrical power or light, partial loss of water or gas supply, leak from a water or heating pipe, tank or cistern, rotten stair tread).
Completed within 28 working days.
Relates to non-urgent repairs (e.g. windows sticking, sinks, doors, etc.). Many of these will need to be reported as minor repairs, as outlined above. The handyman service will react within 7 days.
Dealing with emergencies
If you think you have a gas leak, extinguish any cigarettes or naked flames, switch of all gas appliances and ring Transco on 0800 111999. Transco will attend the emergency free of charge - but the Housing Association does not require them to carry out any remedial work. If Transco cannot make a repair free of charge they will isolate the gas supply. At this stage you must contact the Housing Association to report the problem for repair.
If you give any instruction to Transco at this stage, you may be charged for the cost of the work.
Burst pipes or water leaks
Turn off the water supply at the stopcock (normally located under the kitchen sink). Turn off the central heating and open all sink / bath taps to drain the system and report problem to the Housing Association.
Turn off electricity at the fuse-board (normally situated in storage cupboard or hall). Unplug all appliances and turn the electricity back on. Then check for the faulty appliance by plugging them in each one in turn. If the electricity goes off when you plug an appliance in you know it is that one that is faulty.
No decoration is to be undertaken without the express permission of the Housing Manager. If your flat needs attention then please contact the Housing Manager. In most instances permission to decorate the flat yourself will be granted and the cost of your materials reimbursed.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT NOISE
If you are having trouble with neighbours who are disturbing you by making too much noise you must, in the first instance, contact them. They may not be aware that they are causing you a problem and it may be easily resolved by a polite conversation with them.
If the situation persists then please inform the Housing Manager, in writing, of the dates and times that the noise has occurred and he will take up your complaint.
A new Residents’ Association needs to be formed every year. There is a budget of about £600 available to be spent, within reason, how the R.A. see fit. Largely it exists to promote social events and come up with ideas for general improvements to the site. Anyone interested in getting involved
GAS AND ELECTRICITY BILLS
It is vital that the accounts have all of the flat-sharers on the contract and that these are updated should there be any change of occupancy (ask me to take the readings when this occurs). It is important to know that you are jointly and severally responsible for the payment of bills. That means that the energy suppliers will chase any or all of you for the full amount of any unpaid bills until they have collected the amount due.
From time to time you will receive estimated bills from your energy providers. When the bills arrive, read them carefully and look to see if they are actual (real) meter readings or whether they are based on an estimate of the fuel the energy provider thinks you might have used. I strongly suggest that when you get these you contact me for accurate readings so that you pay the actual amount due.
All refuse must be placed in the large bins adjacent to Flats 40, 52 and 61. They are emptied on Tuesdays and Fridays. Please do not leave refuse outside your house as it will not be collected and will attract rats. If the Deputy Wardens or myself have to clear any refuse from outside of your flat you will be charged.
We do not expect to see road signs, etc. accumulate anywhere on the Green (remember there are video cameras to prove who brought such items onto the site!).
In order to make Aston Brook Green a pleasant environment tenants are requested to pick up litter and place it in the refuse bins. It takes little time but will make a big difference to your enjoyment of Aston Brook Green.
Please do not attach washing lines to trees or drainpipes as this causes damage to the pipes and trees. There is a further risk that someone will walk / run into them in the dark and cause themselves a serious injury. If you have put up a washing line please take it down.
Rent is paid termly in advance and is due by the end of the second week of term. You will not receive an invoice and rent must be paid directly into the Finance Office on the third floor of the Guild who will issue you with a receipt. Cheques must be made payable to “Aston Students’ Guild” or you may pay by debit or credit card (there is a small charge for the latter). You can also pay by Internet transfer. If you wish to pay by this method or set up a standing order mandate please contact the Housing Manager.
Their normal opening hours during term time are from 10.00 a.m. (Wed 11.00 a.m.) to 2.00 p.m. If you are unsure as to the amount you owe either the Finance Office or the Housing Manager have the information.
• Turn the lever to the left to clear the lock.
• Press buttons 241
• Turn the lever to the right to open door.
• On no account force the lock - if you have any difficulties ask someone else to try.
Tokens are available from the Finance Office on the 3rd floor of the Union. There are not enough tokens for residents to keep a stock of them so please use them within 24 hours of their purchase. During the vacations tokens may also be available from the Housing Manager in Room 316 or Gary Moulder in Room 318 between 8.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m.
The use of the launderette is entirely at your own risk. Neither Aston Students’ Guild nor Midland Heart will take any responsibility for damage to clothing. Please report any problems with the launderette to the Housing Manager.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Aston Brook Green is as safe as anywhere in the inner city. The chances of being the victim of crime are no worse than elsewhere else in Birmingham (including campus). Although relatively few incidents occur you are strongly advised to pay heed to the following advice:
• Never leave your flat door or windows unlocked and unattended for any period of time no matter how short.
• Never leave your key in the door and always take them with you when you leave your flat even when others are in. On many occasions people have been locked out accidentally by their flat-mates.
• Please ensure that you always lock your front door even if you are in the house
• If you see anything suspicious please contact the Police, The Housing Manager or the Deputy Wardens immediately.
• Do not carry your keys with anything that has you name and address on it. If you do and they are lost or stolen it will cost £75 to replace the lock and keys to your Flat.
• Try to avoid walking to and from campus alone late at night - a taxi is only about £4 from campus to the Green.
• If you leave the site for any extended period of time please ensure that your curtains are closed before you leave.
• Ensure that ground floor windows are closed and locked when you go out and at night.
• Do not display hi-fi, TV’s, microwaves, computers, etc., in full view of any windows.
• You are advised not to take the route to the rear of Waterlinks house. Always be alert and do not use your mobile phone or MP3 player when walking.
The safest route to take to and from campus is as follows:
From the Union turn left down Aston Street past the Gosta Green Pub. At the traffic lights cross over the dual carriageway and then turn left towards the Expressway. Continue along and at Dartmouth Circus (the big roundabout by ABG) turn right and come down the ramp by the bus stops and enter the site by the entrance on Aston Brook Street East.
ON NO ACCOUNT USE ANY SUBWAYS / UNDERPASSES
Please see Location Map
If you have any suggestions of how to improve the security of the site please let the Housing Manager know. In general your safety and security is very much in your own hands. If you pay attention to all of the above advice you will greatly reduce the risk of suffering from crime.
Reporting a Crime
If there is an immediate danger or criminals are still present please use the emergency number - 999. If there is no immediate danger the Police can be contacted on 101 (calls cost a maximum of 15p from landlines or mobiles).
There are 16 security cameras dotted around the site. The cameras cover the majority of the site. These cameras are linked to a 24-hour digital recorder and all persons entering the site and activity happening on most of the site is recorded.
In the event of a fire
The following instructions are for your safety – you must follow them
Fire Detection System
The Fire Detection Systems are annually maintained. Tenants must undertake weekly checks of the systems as follows –
• Choose a suitable time to do this (between 9.00am and 8.00pm)
• Ensure your flatmates are aware that you are going to test the system
• Locate the alarm control pad (marked ‘Remote Control for Smoke Alarms’) – normally situated in the living room
• Press the central white button marked ‘Test’ on and check that all alarms are sounding.
• Once you are satisfied that they are all sounding click the Test switch off.
• Report any problems to the Housing Manager.
Gas & Electricity Risks
All gas and electrical safety certificates are available to view in Flat 1 Aston Brook.
Tenants are advised to test the heat bath water before getting into a bath. If you feel that the water temperature coming through hot water taps is too hot please contact the Housing Manager who will show you how to control the hot water temperature.
CENTRAL HEATING OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS
Combination Boiler System
These normally situated in the kitchen and have operating instructions on them. Providing the boiler is switch on it will heat tap water on call (i.e. when the hot tap is opened and the heating will be on a timer. The timers are in the cupboard under the stairs or nearby the boiler. These timers will, again, have instructions for setting on the bottom panel, which just flips down. Full operating manuals for both are available in the Internet by Googling the boiler or timer brand and model number.
If you have any leaks from radiators or if you find that only the lower part of the radiator is hot should be reported as a minor repair to the Housing Manager using this form.
There are 30 cycle stands around the site. Please use these and do not lock bikes to lampposts. Bikes should be placed between the stand and the flat and not on the grass, as we cannot then cut the grass. Any bikes locked to lampposts will be removed.
It is recommended that the 'D' type locks are used and not chains as these are easy to break.
Recycling facilities are available on the tarmacked area between Flats 52 and 53. It is vital that these bins are not contaminated with the incorrect material or the local authority will remove the facility. It is therefore extremely important that you follow these instructions –
|Blue Bins||Green Bins|
|Paper and Card||Plastic, Cans & Glass|
|Yes Please||Yes Please|
|Cereal boxes & thin card||Plastic household bottles|
|Junkmail & envelopes||All glass bottles and jars (remove corks)|
|Telephone directories||Plastic drinks bottles|
|Flattened Cardboard||Food and drinks cans|
|Metal lids and caps|
|No Thanks||No Thanks|
|Milk and drink cartons||Aluminium foil|
|Soiled paper or card (e.g. Pizza boxes)||Paint and non-food tins|
|Padded envelopes||Food cartons and trays|
||Mirrors & Light bulbs|
Polystyrene and ceramics
IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHETHER AN ITEM SHOULD BE RECYCLED PLEASE PUT IT IN ONE OF THE NORMAL REFUSE BINS AND NOT THE RECYCLING BINS
ABG WIRELESS NETWORK
Getting Access to the NetworkTo use the wireless Internet connection at ABG you need a wireless adapter or a wireless ready computer. The wireless connection uses wireless Ethernet standard 802.11g. You can buy a wireless adapter (from about £10) from the computer shop on the 4th floor of the University Main Building on the back stairs opposite the north wing. Ash, in the shop can help you with the correct choice and also supply other computer equipment.
You will then need to email (verbal or written applications are not acceptable) the following information to the Housing Manager -
• Your Name
• Your Flat Number
• Mobile Telephone Number
• Your Email Address
• The Device’s Physical Address
The physical address is a 12 character hexadecimal sequence. It is made up from a combination of the numbers 1 to 9 and the letters A to F. If you’re unsure you can find it by:
• If it is a USB device it may be on a label on the device or the box it came in.
• You may also find the physical address for the wireless on a label near the serial number label on your computer.
• On your pc click Start, then click Run and type ‘cmd’, then click ‘OK’ then type ‘ipconfig /all’ when the window opens. The physical address is the MAC address you need. There may be more than one and it must be the one for the wireless LAN or device.
• Apple Mac users open System Preferences, click on 'Network', then click on Airport, then click on Advanced and you will see the Airport ID (Physical Address) at the bottom of the dialogue box.
Once all of this information has been received you will be granted access to the network. This should take no more than 2 working days.
After installing the wireless network adapter, associated drivers and registering your physical address with Malcolm, you must configure the tcp/ip properties of your adapter to run using dynamic host control protocol (DHCP). This is the same for any OS.
On a pc in order to browse the Internet you will need to set the proxy in your Internet browser. In Internet Explorer this can by done by going to:
• Internet Options
• LAN Settings
• Check the box marked “Use a proxy server for your LAN”
• In Address type - 10.0.0.1
• In Port type – 8080
• Then click “OK” and you are ready to go.
Apple Mac users open System Preferences, click on Airport, then click on Advanced and then click on Proxies. All protocols apart from Auto Proxy Discovery and Automatic Proxy Configuration need to be checked (ticked) and in the web Proxy Server box to the right of each protocol type in 10.0.0.1 and 8080 in the box to the right of that. Click OK and once that dialogue box closes please click on Apply. You may need to undo these settings if you move to another Wi-Fi network.
Getting Better Reception
To get a stronger signal you need to situate the adapter as high as possible and in clear space. Behind the computer, on the floor isn’t very good. A possible solution is to buy a USB extension lead and bring the adapter higher and from behind the computer. These can be purchased form the Computer Shop on the 4th floor of the University Main Building.
Please make sure that your computer has an up to date operating system, including patches, security updates, personal firewall and anti-virus. Not having these on your computer affects how fast the Internet runs for you and other users.
All problems relating to the network must be reported by email to The Housing Manager or in person to his office. Either way the following information must be given otherwise your issues cannot be dealt with:
• What is your Flat Number?
• Is the ABG network visible to your computer?
• What is the signal strength?
• When did you last successfully connect?
• When did you become aware that you could no longer connect?
• Have you re-checked you proxy configuration in Internet Explorer?
• Are your flat-mates / neighbours experiencing similar problems
This information is required to try and ascertain whether the problem lies with the network or your computer.
Slow Service / Bad Reception
On every occasion that I have called out engineers to resolve these type of problems the cause of them has been with the end users computer. To resolve these problems you must -
• Ensure that you have downloaded and installed the latest wireless driver for your computer.
• Clean up your hard drive - back up all data and then reinstall the operating system and other software. This is good practice in any case and should be done twice a year.
• If you use MacAfee as your anti-viral software - don't! It really slows down your system by constantly running in the background. Our engineers recommend Free AVG (they use it themselves). It can be downloaded free from the Internet.
Bandwidth is currently unlimited as is the number of connections you can have. Users who continually have excessive numbers of connections open will have this reduuced.
In September 2012 the connection into ABG will be increased to 500mbps which will allow us to permit YouTube. We will however, still have to restrict access for downloading films and music.
Software / Hardware Support
No software support or hardware support is offered by ABG.
If you encounter difficulties please check that you have given the correct hardware address for the wireless device. You will find that there are two or more – it is the hardware for the wireless LAN / device that must be registered.
Please remember that this is a free service and any help we can give is only limited. We are able to provide you access to the network via your MAC address and instruct you how to set up your proxy.
ACCESS TO THE NETWORK WILL BE WITHDRAWN IF YOUR RENT IS NOT PAID AS REQUESTED
ANYONE CAUGHT TRYING TO HACK INTO THE SERVER, ROUTER OR ANY OF THE ACCESS POINTS WILL BE GIVEN NOTICE TO QUIT THEIR ACCOMMODATION