Covid-19 Private Sector Grant update

Covid-19 – Private Sector Grant update 

As we continue to respond to coronavirus (COVID 19), we have streamlined our services to provide essential assistance and pay for completed grant-aid work.

We have suspended technical inspections and many members of staff are working from home.

We have put in place a number of new processes to reduce unnecessary social contact but enable contractors to be paid for work which has been carried out.

Important Information for applicants

  • As the contractor is employed by the grant applicant, you should ensure your contractor is maintaining a high standard of health and safety on site, observing Health & Safety regulations; this includes social distancing.
  • You and your contractor may agree to suspend work at your property during COVID-19. If so it is vital your contractor ensures the site is closed properly and left in a safe manner. Check what s/he will do to ensure the property is left safe; it is important you are satisfied with this. The Housing Executive is not responsible for your contractor as s/he is employed by you.
  • During COVID-19 we will not be inspecting properties. To process payments we will require specific documentation and photographic evidence (please read the Q&A below).
  • All documentation must be emailed to the relevant Grants Office email address; do not post documentation to us.
  • Please make sure you quote relevant information i.e. Grant Reference Number on all attachments. 

The Questions and Answers below will provide more details if you’re an applicant or contractor.  This information is also available in PDF format: Frequently Asked Questions

Information for applicants

The Housing Executive administers grants on behalf of the Department for Communities.

It will agree the total grant-aid payable and make payment(s) at the appropriate time to the
payees you tell us to.

The Housing Executive is not responsible for contractors; contractor(s) are employed by you.

Your contractor is obliged to ensure that the site is maintained at a high standard of health and safety throughout the job observing Health & Safety regulations.

This includes implementing social distancing measures.

For more information on COVID-19 and social distancing go to the Public Health Agency
website:
www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus

It is your choice whether to have work suspended at your property. Please discuss the
matter with your contractor and agree the way forward.

If you and your contractor agree to suspend work because of COVID-19 it is vital your contactor ensures the site is closed properly and left in a safe manner.

Check with your contractor what s/he will do to ensure the property is safe if s/he has to stop work before the job is completed.

The Housing Executive is not responsible for your contractor as s/he is employed by you. It is therefore important that you are satisfied your contractor ensures the site at your property is safe in the event of work having to be stopped before it is completed.

Under normal circumstances the Housing Executive will only make payments based on an
inspection by a Technical Officer. However, we have suspended these visits.

The Housing Executive has made arrangements to make payments without inspections but these will be based on evidence provided.

If the work is completed, as an applicant you can make a request for final payment or agree with your contractor s/he should do this.

If you decide to complete the return the Housing Executive will need:

  • the ‘Notification of Completion of Work’ signed to confirm the work has been completed to your satisfaction;
  • a completed Payment of Grant Monies form;
  • your Contractor’s Invoice;
  • confirmation from Building Control (see section below) that the works have been carried out satisfactorily;
  • clear photographic evidence (see section below) supplied by your contactor of the completed work; 
  • details of any changes your contractor made to the plans during work.

You should refer to the List of Works which you were sent when the Approval of Application pack was sent.

From this your contractor must provide clear photographic evidence of the grant-aid work for which a claim is being made. A couple of examples are detailed below:

Bath Out; Shower In
Photos of the bathroom showing from where the bath was removed and the new shower fitted. Additional evidence (not essential) to support the claim might include a dated copy of the purchase receipt for some / all the shower’s fittings.

Ramp access
Photo of the ramp which should include, where practical, a tape laid out alongside to show how long the ramp is.

 

Without an inspection the Housing Executive will be able to pay a maximum of 90% of the cost of the eligible works. Fees will be paid in full with exception of the Warranty Bond Fee.

It is up to you to ensure you pay for any additional non-grant aided work agreed with your contractor.

Once the Housing Executive is able to resume technical inspections we will organise one at your property.

At this time our Technical Officer will assess the work and arrange the balance to be released when s/he is satisfied the work has been completed in accordance with the specification for the relevant works and the final necessary documents (eg Building Control Certificate/s) have been received.

ANYONE KNOWINGLY MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT TO FRAUDENTLY OBTAIN MONIES IS
LIABLE TO PROSECUTION

Any payments made for work which has not been carried out to the satisfaction of the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 68 (4)(a) [Housing (NI) Order 2003] may be subject to recoupment action by the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 71 of the Housing (NI) Order 2003 if necessary.

If Building Control is not able to inspect and therefore cannot provide a certificate of completion, evidence should be provided to confirm that Building Control Approval has been applied for.

Where applicable, Building Control should have been applied for before work commenced. The person who made this application should have received an acknowledgement receipt of payment from Building Control.

The Housing Executive may provide payment if no Building Control Certificate can be issued due to COVID-19, but the Building Control receipt and notification to the Council that the works are completed must be sent in as evidence.

Once the COVID-19 period has passed, a copy the final Building Control Certificate must be returned.

If work has started the Housing Executive will consider making an interim payment of up to a maximum 75% of the cost of the eligible works. Fees will be paid in full with exception of the Warranty Bond Fee.

The amount will depend on the volume of work completed.

If you are submitting the request for a part-payment we will need you to:

  • complete the interim payment form;
  • provide an invoice from your contractor for work to date;
  • return a completed Payment of Grant Monies form;
  • provide clear photographic evidence (see photographic evidence section above) from your contractor of the work which has been completed to date; and, where applicable, details of any changes made to the plans during work to date.

All evidence must be sent to the Housing Executive by email. In the subject line you must provide the reference number (see Approval of Application pack) and property address.

Restrictions on email size
Please note there is a restriction on the size of email which we can receive. Therefore you must ensure that one email’s total size does not exceed 30MB. This means you may need to send more than one email.

If you need to send more than one email it is vital that each email you send contains the same subject title detailing:

  • the grants reference number; and
  • each email is marked as 1 of 4; 2 of 4, etc.

Grant Office emails:
Belfast / South East belfast.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Belfast City Council | Lisburn City and Castlereagh | Ards and North Down

Derry/Londonderry derry-londonderrygrants@nihe.gov.uk
Council area: Derry City and Strabane

North East northeast.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Antrim and Newtownabbey | Mid and East Antrim | Causeway Coast & Glens

South south.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon | Newry, Mourne and Down

West / Omagh west.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Mid Ulster | Fermanagh and Omagh

Once the Housing Executive is able to resume technical inspections we will organise one for your property.

At this time our Technical Officer will assess the works previously carried out and for which an interim payment was made to ensure that those works have been completed in accordance with the specification for the relevant works. As part of that assessment our Technical Officer will re-measure and where necessary if any change arises due to the re-measurement any payment previously made will be adjusted accordingly to reflect that change.

This will be accounted for when the final balance of the grant payable is due to be released.

ANYONE KNOWINGLY MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT TO FRAUDENTLY OBTAIN MONIES IS LIABLE TO PROSECUTION
Any payments made for work which has not been carried out to the satisfaction of the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 68 (4)(a) [Housing (NI) Order 2003] may be subject to recoupment action by the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 71 of the Housing (NI) Order 2003 if necessary.

If you used the extra support service (Radius / Gable) during the grant application process then be assured we will have told them about these new arrangements.

Contact details for these organisations:

Information for contractors

As a contractor you are obliged to ensure that you maintain a high standard of health and safety throughout the job observing Health & Safety regulations. This includes social distancing measures.

For more information go to:

Public Health Agency: www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus

HSE-NI: https://www.hseni.gov.uk/news/coronavirus-covid-19-update

FMB: https://www.fmb.org.uk/about-the-fmb/policy-and-public-affairs/responding-to-coronavirus-covid-19

The Housing Executive encourages contractors to discuss any suspension of work at the property with their customer.

It is important to ensure you fulfil your obligations to customers around the health and safety of a site.

If you and your customer agree to suspend work because of COVID-19 it is vital you ensure the site is closed properly and left in a safe manner.  

Please discuss with your customer what you will do to ensure your property is safe if you have to stop work before the job is completed.  

We have reiterated with your customer that the Housing Executive is not responsible for their contractor; you as a contractor are employed by them.  

Under normal circumstances the Housing Executive will only make payments based on an inspection by a Technical Officer. However, we have suspended these visits.

The Housing Executive has made arrangements to make payments without inspections but these will be based on evidence provided.

In order to support the local economy the Housing Executive intends to make a payment of up to 90% for completed work.  

Where work is completed and your customer is satisfied with the work a request for final payment from the Housing Executive can be made.

If your customer prefers that you submit the request for payment you will need you to:

  • arrange for your customer to sign and return the ‘Notification of Completion of Work’  to confirm the work has been completed to their satisfaction;   
  • return a completed Payment of Grant Monies form detailing to whom the grant-aid money will be paid;
  • your Invoice;
  • provide clear photographic evidence of the completed work (See 'What evidence should I provide?' below); 
  • confirmation from Building Control that the works have been carried out satisfactorily (please read the section about Building Control below); and
  • return details of any changes you and your customer made to the plans during work.

Contractor should refer to the List of Works issued by the Housing Executive for the particulars of the job.  Clear photographic evidence of the grant-aid work for which a claim is being made should be provided.  A couple of examples are detailed below:

Bath Out; Shower In
Photos of the bathroom showing from where the bath was removed and the new shower fitted. Additional evidence (not essential) to support the claim might include a dated copy of the purchase receipt for some / all the shower’s fittings.

Ramp access
Photo of the ramp which should include, where practical, a tape laid out alongside to show how long the ramp is.

Without an inspection the Housing Executive will be able to pay a maximum of 90% of the cost of the eligible works.  Fees will be paid in full with exception of the Warranty Bond Fee. 

It is up to you to ensure you arrange for payment of any additional non-grant aided work agreed with your customer.  

If Building Control is not able to inspect and therefore cannot provide a certificate of completion, evidence should be provided to confirm that Building Control Approval has been applied for.

Where applicable, Building Control should have been applied for before work commenced. The person who made this application should have received an acknowledgement receipt of payment from Building Control.

The Housing Executive may provide payment if no Building Control Certificate can be issued due to COVID-19, but the Building Control receipt and notification to the Council that the works are completed must be sent in as evidence.

Once the COVID-19 period has passed, a copy of the final Building Control Certificate must be returned.

Once the Housing Executive is able to resume technical inspections we will organise one at the property for which a partial claim was paid.  

The Technical Officer will assess the work completed, re-measure and where necessary payment will be adjusted.  

The balance to be released when s/he is satisfied the work has been completed in accordance with the specification for the relevant works and the final necessary documents (eg Building Control Certificate/s) have been received.

ANYONE KNOWINGLY MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT TO FRAUDENTLY OBTAIN MONIES IS LIABLE TO PROSECUTION

Any payments made for work which has not been carried out to the satisfaction of the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 68 (4)(a) [Housing (NI) Order 2003] may be subject to recoupment action by the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 71 of the Housing (NI) Order 2003 if necessary.

If work has started the Housing Executive will consider making an interim payment of up to a maximum 75% of the cost of the eligible works.  Fees will be paid in full with exception of the Warranty Bond Fee  

The amount will depend on the volume of work completed.

If your customer has asked that you submit the request for a part-payment you will need you to: 

  • complete the interim payment form
  • provide an invoice for work to date;
  • return a completed Payment of Grant Monies form;
  • provide clear photographic evidence of the work which has been completed to date; and, where applicable, details of any changes made to the plans during work to date. (See 'What evidence should I provide?' section above)

Once the Housing Executive is able to resume technical inspections we will organise one at the property for which a partial claim was paid.  

At this time our Technical Officer will assess the works previously carried out and for which an interim payment was made to ensure that those works have been completed in accordance with the specification for the relevant works.  As part of that assessment our Technical Officer will re-measure and where necessary if any change arises due to the re-measurement any payment previously made will be adjusted accordingly to reflect that change.

This will be accounted for when the final balance of the grant payable is due to be released.

ANYONE KNOWINGLY MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT TO FRAUDENTLY OBTAIN MONIES IS LIABLE TO PROSECUTION

Any payments made for work which has not been carried out to the satisfaction of the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 68 (4)(a) [Housing (NI) Order 2003] may be subject to recoupment action by the Housing Executive in accordance with Article 71 of the Housing (NI) Order 2003 if necessary.

 

All evidence must be sent to the Housing Executive by email. In the subject line you must provide the reference number (see Approval of Application pack) and property address.

Restrictions on email size
Please note there is a restriction on the size of email which we can receive. Therefore you must ensure that one email’s total size does not exceed 30MB. This means you may need to send more than one email.

If you need to send more than one email it is vital that each email you send contains the same subject title detailing:

  • the grants reference number; and
  • each email is marked as 1 of 4; 2 of 4, etc.

Grant Office emails:
Belfast / South East belfast.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Belfast City Council | Lisburn City and Castlereagh | Ards and North Down

Derry/Londonderry derry-londonderrygrants@nihe.gov.uk
Council area: Derry City and Strabane

North East northeast.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Antrim and Newtownabbey | Mid and East Antrim | Causeway Coast & Glens

South south.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon | Newry, Mourne and Down

West / Omagh west.grants@nihe.gov.uk
Council areas:
Mid Ulster | Fermanagh and Omagh

If your customer used the extra support service (Radius / Gable) during the grant application process then be assured we will have told them about these new arrangements.

Contact details for these organisations:

You can read more information about Covid-19 and the Affordable Warmth and Boiler Replacement Schemes

Thank you for your patience and co-operation as we adjust to this new process.

For more information on COVID-19 and social distancing go to the Public Health Agency website:


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Types of grants available
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