fire safety

 A fire in a park home can be devastating, so being prepared and maintaining fire safety is very important, especially because of the materials used to manufacture park homes. Having a fire safety plan and the right equipment in your park home to deal with a fire should it occur, is essential.

Although you cannot completely protect your home from fire, you can significantly reduce the risk of one breaking out, if you follow the following fire safety tips:

  1. Fit and maintain a smoke alarm in your home. Smoke alarms really do save lives! Test it regularly and replace the batteries at least twice a year. If your fire alarm starts beeping, it’s time to change the batteries. Putting your smoke alarm in the right place is essential. Try not to have it too close to the kitchen, as it may be triggered by making toast or steam from cooking, for example. Not only will this be annoying, but you may think a real warning is a false alarm. The best place to position a smoke alarm is on the ceiling in the hallway, near where you sleep.
  1. Check electrical appliances regularly for any signs of damage and ensure they are replaced or repaired properly. If you have too many plugs in one socket, this could overload the socket and cause a fire, so one plug per socket is usually best. Unplug appliances when you are not using them and before you go to bed.
  1. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking fat, as this can catch fire very quickly, and never put water on hot fat. Make sure that cooking equipment is completely switched off when you have finished with it.
  1. If you are a smoker, make sure all cigarettes are put out properly and don’t smoke in bed to avoid the danger of falling asleep while smoking.
  1. Keep a fire blanket in your park home.
  1. Keep a fire distinguisher in your park home, and read and fully understand its instructions.
  1. Think about how to get out safely: plan an escape route from every room of your park home and be sure to keep the area clear at all times.
  1. Do some checks before you go to bed, as a lot of fires start at night.

There are many more things you can do to protect you and your park home from fire. Contact your local fire department if you would like more information.

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Your park home insurance will cover you if the unexpected happens, such as storm damage, however, general wear and tear on your park home will not be covered so maintaining your park home is very important. If your home is under warranty, you will be expected to follow a maintenance schedule to keep the warranty valid.  Keeping your park home maintained all year round, ensures that your property not only looks its best, but it will help to avoid any unnecessary damage.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your park home in a good condition:

Maintain the exterior walls of your park home

Check the exterior walls of your park home at least four times a year. Check for cracks so they can be treated as soon as possible.  Keep the exterior clean and make sure the textured coating is repainted every three years to keep the home weatherproof throughout its lifetime.

Check the seals around doors and windows

Check that the seals are not damaged or broken, as this will help to prevent mould, mildew or damp. Make repairs as soon as you can because if these are not well maintained, damage caused by broken seals may not be covered by your insurer.

Maintain the chassis of your home

Pay attention to what is happening underneath your park home. It will rest on a chassis and a supporting structure, and it’s the only thing on your park home that cannot be replaced. Get a professional to check the chassis of your home regularly, especially if your park home is over 10 years old.   The condition of the chassis and the supporting structure is important for the stability and lifespan of your park home. Check for rust as this can weaken the structure and should be taken care of straight away.  If your home has been modernised or refurbished this could affect the stability of your home.

Maintain your roof regularly

Check the roof of your park home regularly to make sure there is no damage.  Check all the joints on the roof and if you find any problems, make sure you that you deal with them straight away.  Make sure that good quality roof adhesive is used whenever any repairs are made to preserve the lifespan of the roof. Check your guttering to make sure it is free of debris and has no cracks or holes.  If your roof and guttering are not maintained properly, your home may not be covered by your park home insurer.

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We all concentrate on the look of our homes when carrying out the maintenance, such as painting the outside, clearing the guttering, wiping down our UPVC windows and doors, but one of the most critical elements of maintaining a park home is the underneath. If that fails then this could cause significant damage to your home.

In most cases regarding park homes the concrete base is the responsibility of your park owner, however the tripod jacks that your home sits on (if you are lucky to have jacks and not wood blocks, or concrete bricks) are one of the most critical elements to the structural integrity of your home.

If you are unfortunate to have a support like this under your park home (this was a home we were asked to provide finance on, when we provided Park Home Finance), then you really need to get this changed As Soon As Possible. The problem with wooden supports is that they rot, they can be flexible and in this particular case they will transfer damp from the ground and into the floor joist.
When this support fails, so will the floor drop, and if the support has transferred moisture into the floor joist, that too can fail.

This is better than the wooden support shown above, and at least it is supporting the chassis rather than the floor-joist in the above

picture. They don’t look like the most stable of bricks and stone and the likelihood that this support is millimetre perfect is highly unlikely meaning that either there is a gap between the top brick and the chassis meaning the chassis is flexing and probably knocking, or the chassis was forced onto the bricks which means it might not be straight. It is sad to see however that whoever sited this home obviously scoured the park to find suitable stones, rather than was prepared for the homes arrival.

OK, so here we nearly have the correct jacks in place, but as can be seen they have not survived through time, and are heavily corroded and could fail at any time, resulting in the home dropping significantly, likely to cause significant damage to the chassis and the internals of the home. It is worth pointing out that should this happen, any damage would not be covered by a Park Home Insurance policy as this is a lack of maintenance issue and not an insured event on a Park Home Insurance Policy. Do your jacks look like these?

So what happens when the support to a Park Home Fails?

The photos here show the consequences of the supports failing under the home. It is possible that only one support will fail, but at the same time the weight of the home will be forced onto other supports, or onto the brick skirt, as shown in these photographs.

The floor in the inside of the home will become un-even and for those not confident or sure on their feet could end up tripping over the un-even floor and cause themselves a personal injury.

For those of you who own twin units, it is possible that one half will drop, but the other stay in-situ, resulting in the chassis twisting or cracking at the point where the two halves are bolted together. This will then further affect the internals of your home with large cracks to the walls and ceilings and where they meet also.

To resolve the matter, the brick skirt will need to be removed, and the home jacked up again (assuming that the chassis isn’t damaged as a result) and replacement jacks re-installed once the home is levelled and then lowered again.

Then there is the cost of the re-building of the brick skirt around the base of the home and the repair of any internal damage as a result of the home dropping.

Alternatively you can make sure that this doesn’t happen by some very basic maintenance. However, the maintenance should not be carried out by yourself, and you should have professionals come ad do this work on your behalf.

If you do not have the correct supports under your home, or they have not stood up well with time, you need to consider replacing them with Galvanised tripod jacks. These jacks do not rust, and they are merely there to act as a support. With their screw adjustment they merely are wound to make contact with the chassis, and not to lift it.
This is not expensive maintenance, but you should not consider going under your home to do this yourself, you should get a speacialist team to carryout the work on your behalf.

If you are wary as to who to contact, then please call us and we will be happy to recommend, contractors we use for our day-to-day insurance claims.

Park Home Maintenance

The Importance Of Maintaining Your Park Home (Part 1)

During these summer months, we all want to relax in our gardens, or go for those summer trips to the seaside, the hills, or visit our friends and family. But there is one very important job that should be done also this time of year.

To make sure that you maximise the life of your park home and also ensure that you do not incur unnecessary repair costs in later years, or worse still suffer from damp and mould on the inside of your home, you should regularly colour-wash the outside of your home. This is obviously a job to be carried out in the late spring and summertime whilst you can guarantee (as much as the UK Summertime allows you) warm dry weather, as the last thing you want to do is have your home painted in the damp autumn winter days where all you will be doing is trapping the damp within your home.

All Park Home Manufacturers recommend that you check the outside walls of your park home regularly for such hairline cracks and you should have the cracks rectified immediately. Even if there are no hairline cracks you should have your home colour-washed no less than every two years. You must inspect your home regularly for hairline cracks in the outer walls of your home.
The external walls of your home are clad with plywood (not marine ply) and the joins are bridged with a fibreglass webbing, and then painted over with textured paint such as Resitex, or Protected Textured Coating (PTC). Over time, the UV rays from the sun, and continual expansion and contraction of the wood, will create hairline cracks in the external paint which must be fixed immediately to prevent water getting under the paint.

Should you not rectify these faults immediately then not only will water penetrate the paint and make the paint come away from the timber below is, but will then start to rot the outer walls and also create damp and mould on the inside of your home. Should this occur, this is not covered by your traditional Park Home Insurance policy or your Platinum Seal or Gold Shield Warranty as this is a lack of maintenance and not a manufacturing defect or an insured event on your traditional home insurance policy.

The cost of painting the external walls of your park home needn’t be expensive and it is highly recommended that to maintain the structural warranty on your Park Home should you have for example a Platinum Seal Warranty, you should have an experienced Park Home contractor carryout this work so they can rectify any issue they discover when carrying out the work, but more importantly so you can substantiate that the work has been carried out in the event of a future claim under your Manufacturer’s structural Warranty. To reduce the cost of this work, why not speak to your fellow neighbours and see how many others would like this work carried out, then you will be able to negotiate a discount with a contractor as they will have a number of homes that need this work carried out.

In addition to carrying out the inspection of the external walls of your home, you should also regularly check the silicone seals around the outside of all the windows and doors of your home to ensure that this also have not cracked and perished.

Silicone is also serecptible to UV rays and hot weather and will eventually fail and crack well before your Structural Warranty comes to an end, but again this is not a manufacturing defect, just merely maintenance that needs to be carried out on your home.

If you would like some work carried out on your Park Home but are concerned as to who to choose, you are welcome to contact the Park Home Assist team and we will be happy to recommend the contractors who carryout the repairs on our Park Homes whether it is for our Park Home Insurance Policy or our Platinum Seal Claims.

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The main element of your park home and the overall structural integrity of your park home is the chassis that your park home is built on. The chassis will be of steel construction, and similar to that of a Static Caravan Chassis.

Your chassis should be well supported throughout the full length of the chassis, and it is recommended that galvanised tripod jacks are used. It is not recommended that timber or concrete blocks are used, as these could cause the transfer of damp from the concrete base to the chassis and through time will cause the chassis to corrode. This in turn will affect the lifespan of the chassis.

You should regularly inspect the chassis for corrosion, however we do not recommend that you go under the home yourself, but to contact specialist contractors to carryout this inspection, ensuring that your home is well supported and the chassis is free from corrosion. However surface rust is fine.

If you live in area where there is extreme moisture, such as nearby the coast, you should increase the frequency of your inspections, and we would recommend that you have your chassis painted when there is a risk of rust of your chassis.

Also have the supports checked regularly to ensure that they are not corroding, and we would recommend the use of galvanised tripod supports.

There should also be plenty of airflow under your park home, and ideally a continual gap of 15mm to 25mm between the bottom of the drip rail of your park home and the brick skirt. No part of your park home should be touching the brick skirt or this will allow moisture to transfer to your park home.