Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Maintenance of campus accommodation: an experience of varying satisfaction

It was half past eight in the morning and I was fast asleep. As it was my day off from lectures, I wasn’t planning on getting up anytime soon. However, my peaceful slumber was soon disturbed by incessant knocking at my door; knocking that had also woken up the other seven members of my flat. A maintenance worker had come to fix something that had been reported by housekeeping during the last room check. With no forewarning that maintenance was to be coming, and not even knowing that something in my room needed fixing, it was a less than pleasant start to a Monday morning. While I was grateful something in my room was fixed, this incident highlighted issues with the on-campus maintenance procedure.

There is a lack of a system in place that alerts students as to when they should expect maintenance staff to arrive. This is especially the case when the students themselves did not report the problem and were not even expecting a maintenance worker to come and fix something. However something as simple as a post-emailing system, alerting the students that a problem in either a room or flat been reported, would be enough to inform students that someone will be arriving to fix it. This would make students aware of the procedure, so they would not be shocked when a stranger comes knocking on their door. This alert system could also work in others areas, such as when a boiler breaks and a hall finds itself without hot water -a scenario that happened in my halls, with students offered no explanation as to why.

Upon talking to other students, I’ve found other areas of the system lacking besides just a simple alert system. Many reported issues, while not urgent, haven’t been attended to. In one flat there is a noisy oven that, as soon as it has been on for more than ten minutes, makes noises that are loud enough to prevent any conversation from occurring; in another flat, broken handles, drawers and radiators. All issues were reported several times and are yet to be fixed.

The maintenance staff on campus has a lot to do, with many halls to attend to. But considering the amount of money being paid for campus accommodation each term, it is too much to ask that maintenance issues are responded to, and students are kept informed?