We want your home to be the best living space it can be, and that means we work hard to maintain, improve and repair your home. Through our repairs service and our planned improvement works, we did lots to enhance our homes in 2017/18, and we also continued to implement new methods to manage our housing stock more efficiently.
One of the most significant things we’re doing to ensure high-quality homes is working with Engie (formerly known as Keepmoat) on our major five-year improvement programme. 2017/18 was the second year of the programme, which will see £15 million spent on upgrading over 3,000 homes overall.
Compared to the year before, we installed more kitchens and bathrooms, improved more roofs and fitted more windows. Satisfaction with the works remains high at 96.8%, so we’re pleased to know that you think we’re doing a good job of improving these key parts of your home by working with Engie.
As well as delivering our improvement programme, Engie also invests time and money in projects in the community. The contractor sponsored some of the activities at our tenth birthday community festival, as well as hosting a stall of their own. Also, one of our residents has now started the first of a number of apprenticeships that will be available with Engie at their site compound on the Harebreaks.
Responding to Grenfell
Like many housing providers, we undertook a review of the fire safety measures in our buildings following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in 2017. This confirmed that we were regularly carrying out the appropriate inspections and had suitable measures in place to protect residents. As part of our annual process, we carried out 47 Fire Risk Assessments across all of our residential blocks, ensuring our data remains up to date and that we are consistently enforcing our fire prevention strategy.
Although we are confident that our buildings are already very safe, we took the decision to go above and beyond to make further improvements to the fire safety in our buildings – particularly in tower blocks Abbey View and Munden View, where we proposed to install new, intelligent fire alarms and sprinkler systems. After consultation with residents, it has been agreed that we will install these new measures during 2018/19.
Bringing gas boiler services in house
During 2016/17 we set up an in-house team to take over the repair and servicing of gas boilers, which had previously been carried out by a contractor on our behalf. 2017/18 was the first full year for the new team and we have achieved significant savings as a result. In total we spent £449,000 on gas boiler services last year – in 2015/16, the last full year with a contractor doing this work for us, we spent £646,000. The team performed excellently too, ensuring that our housing stock was 100% compliant and also dealing well with the challenges of several cold snaps over the winter, including the heavy snowfall in March 2018 which saw around 350 homes struggle with frozen pipes affecting their heating systems.
We also looked at some of the IT systems and methods we use to help us maintain your home. To deliver a more efficient service to you, we’re now using two new IT systems to better manage your homes and organise our repairs service.
We also streamlined our repairs service by agreeing a deal with Jewson to be the sole provider of materials, rather than sourcing them from a range of different organisations. This means that Jewson will deliver the materials we need to us at a reduced cost, rather than our repairs teams picking up materials as needed.
Additionally, we’ve continued to use the Asset Investment Model (AIM) which we introduced in 2016/17. This is a tool which helps us achieve a better understanding of how our homes are performing, and uses a more holistic approach to show overall trends. We can then use this information to identify how we can best target improvements to your home.
Coming up next year
- The Asset Investment Model has helped us identify three key community areas where some actions need to be taken to ensure a higher quality of life for our tenants. This has become the basis for our upcoming Neighbourhood Area Plans, which will focus on providing improvements and support to the Harebreaks, Sherwood and Vicarage neighbourhood areas.
- We will be installing the new fire alarms and sprinkler systems at Abbey View and Munden View, and will continue to implement our overall fire prevention strategy. This will see us conducting more detailed fire safety assessments across all of our blocks, and in particular in our Independent Living schemes.
- We’ll begin a programme to replace door-entry systems to many of our housing blocks.
- Our improvement programme will continue into its third year.