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Ask a question There are 49 articles in this section and 347 articles in total.

Asset Management

Vehicle Use by Trade Staff

Asset Management
  • We are completing a review of our vehicle usage (trades staff vans), and would like to know what others have in place:

    1. Are trade operatives allowed to take vehicles home at the end of each working day?

    2. If they are, does the organisation cover the fuel costs?

    3. If the organisation covers the fuel cost, do you view this as a perk or adjust their salary/terms and conditions to reflect this?

    Thank you,

    (Stewart Gayden, GreenSquare Group,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (0)

Electrical maintenance contract

Asset Management
  • Blackpool Coastal Housing are due to procure the electrical maintenance contract. We are looking at what length the contract term should be! This will include responsive repairs, periodic/condition reports, void repairs and out-of-hours.

    What is length of your electrical maintenance contract for your housing stock?

    (Robert Wolstencroft, Blackpool Coastal Housing,, 01253 477473)
    Robert Wolstencroft Answers (2)

Gas safety - using injunctions instead of NOSPs

Asset Management
  • More housing associations now seem to be using injunctions rather than NOSPs to gain access to carry out gas safety checks.

    I'd like to hear more about why the use of NOSPs is not considered best practice within the sector and why landlords feel that injunctions are generally more effective at gaining access?

    I'd be grateful to hear from organisations that have switched from using NOSPs to using injunctions, why you took the decision to switch and any impact you've seen.

    (Sharon Ford, Affinity Sutton Group,, 0208 235 7214)
    Sharon Ford Answers (0)

Increasing the rent for refurbished sheltered housing

Asset Management
  • We are currently planning the refurbishment of a sheltered housing scheme. Currently there are bedsits in the scheme which will be converted into one bedroomed flats. This would usually trigger a rent increase, however we want to manage this for current tenants. Does anyone have any experience of this?

    One suggestion is to increase the target rent to a one bedroomed rent. The tenant will then only see the usual increase per year. Has anyone done this?

    Many thanks

    (Jo Webb, Colchester Borough Council,, 01206 506575)
    Jo Webb Answers (0)

Communal Heating Systems

Asset Management
  • We are carrying out a review of our long-term approach to communal heating systems at present and it would be really good to hear views from others.

    There have been issues surrounding the fairness of charges, the efficiency of such systems, heating regimes at each site etc even following energy advice and awareness visits.

    For example, does your organisation have plans to:
    - remove such systems in the longer term
    - install individual meters when boilers require replacing
    - move the communal system to background heating and provide individual top-up heaters in each appartment
    - or are continuing with communal systems?

    Any response no matter how brief appreciated.

    Thank you.

    (Stewart Gayden, GreenSquare Group,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (0)

Day to day repairs service for leaseholders

Asset Management
  • Greenfields Community Housing are investigating offering a day to day repairs service for leaseholders. Has any organization experience of such an investigation and what were the outcomes?

    (Mike Gosling, Greenfields,, 01376 535400)
    Mike Gosling Answers (0)

Smoke alarm servicing/testing in domestic properties

Asset Management
  • We are currently reviewing the smoke alarm testing and servicing intervals in our domestic dwellings.

    Our current 3* gas servicing contract includes a requirement that the contractor test and service smoke alarms fitted within tenants dwellings. They do so at the same time the annual gas service is carried out, thus significantly reducing the cost of having to pay for a separate visit.

    For those dwellings that do not have gas, we have looked at applying the same annual test/service but the cost is rather horrendous.

    Has anyone else looked at this issue and put together a smoke alarm test/service programme?

    (Paul Crow, Jephson Homes Housing Association,, 01908 226555)
    Paul Crow Answers (2)

Tenant cashback for repairs and maintenance

Asset Management
  • Iím interested in any examples of where tenant cashback for repairs and maintenance is working and how, or where organisations have decided against it and why. Are there any examples of customer consultation?

    Any help would be most welcome.

    Many thanks

    (Chris Thompson, Homes for Northumberland,, 01670 542099)
    Chris Thompson Answers (1)

Electrical testing regime

Asset Management
  • We are reviewing our electrical testing, maintenance and improvement policy at present. I would be very interested to hear from colleagues about any policy or advice they may have regarding this.

    Especially for periodic and void testing, it would be useful to know:

    - How often carried out?

    - The level of testing applied (to an; ACOP, BS, legislation, guidance note or similar).

    I would also be interested in details of any standards adopted, and whether agreed with residents in some way (minimum number of sockets per room, outside lights, etc).

    All answers appreciated, no matter how brief.

    Thank you

    (Stewart Gayden, GreenSquare Group,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (1)

Heat electric systems

Asset Management
  • We are contacting tenants who have recently had heat electric systems installed to establish how the system is performing, and what impact it has on utility costs and usage of the system.

    Prior to the install the properties operated electricity storage heaters using economy 7.

    Has anybody undertaken a similar exercise, and they would be happy to share questions they asked their tenants.

    (Derek Conway, Green Vale Homes,, 01706 836334)
    Derek Conway Answers (0)

Air source heat pumps

Asset Management
  • We are contacting tenants who have recently had air source heat pumps installed to establish how the system is performing, and what impact it has had on utility costs and usage of the system.

    Prior to the install, the properties operated electricity storage heaters using economy 7.

    Has anybody undertaken a similar exercise, and they would be happy to share questions they asked their tenants.

    (Derek Conway, Green Vale Homes,, 01706 836334)
    Derek Conway Answers (3)

Asbestos surveys

Asset Management
  • I have been asked to determine how other authorities are categorising their housing stock particularly with regard to carrying out refurbishment and demolition asbestos surveys.

    North Ayrshire has at present a stock of 13,300 properties and wishes to carry out a survey for 10% of identifiable types.

    With this in mind it would be beneficial to know how other authorities have broken their stock down into manageable numbers to achieve this.

    Unfortunately the timescale for this part of the exercise is very short and I would welcome any response you could provide.

    (Ian Cathcart, North Ayrshire Council,, 01294 225156)
    Ian Cathcart Answers (3)

Contents insurance - opt out

Asset Management
  • Does anyone implement a contents insurance opt out for tenants at sign-up?

    I am currently looking at ways to improve the take up of contents insurance and would welcome any suggestions/ideas to improve this.

    (Debbie Lavis, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209018)
    Debbie Lavis Answers (1)

Aids and adaptaions

Asset Management
  • Has or does anyone have any information on means testing for social tenants before any adaptations are placed in properties?

    Does anyone have a policy on this?

    (Donna Rosser, Corby Borough Council,, 01536464601)
    Donna Rosser Answers (1)

Long-term strategy for PRC (non-traditionally) built homes

Asset Management
  • Has anyone developed a long-term strategy (up to 45 years) for Prefabricated Reinforced Concrete (PRC) homes?

    We have a number of PRC homes constructed from a range of different build types.

    Improvement and maintenance works together with regular specialist consultant inspections are undertaken to ensure the structural integrity of these property types and to monitor any deterioration. The consultants report mostly states 'good for another 20 years' and generally tenants are content to live in these homes which have good room sizes and large gardens.

    We are in the process of formulating a long-term strategy which includes consideration of the following options:

    1 Retain the stock and continue to maintain and manage in the stock long-term

    2 Bring all stock up to a mortgageable standard

    3 Redevelop all PRC sites and construct new homes

    4 A mix of the above.

    If you could let me have your views/experiences on this I would be very grateful.

    (Stewart Gayden, Westlea Housing Association,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (2)

Photovoltaics and DNO

Asset Management
  • Photovoltaic systems and district network operator

    We are currently putting together a number of PV schemes and are having issues with our DNO where we wish to install clusters of PV systems.

    It appears the electrical network and some electrical supplies to properties need upgrading in order that we can install these systems. Potentially we have a high number of electrical upgrades to do.

    Does anyone else have the same issue?

    (Chris Moorhouse, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing,, 01484 416732)
    Chris Moorhouse Answers (3)

Sustainability indicators : apportioning costs to an estate level

Asset Management
  • We are currently developing a sustainability matrix to help assess the relatively "well being" and future viability of indiviudal estates.

    As part of the matrix we want to agree a methodology for apportioning our overall operating/management costs down to an estate level.

    Has anybody attempted a similiar excercise and can share their experience?

    (Michael Barstow, Pennine Housing 2000,, 01484 824333)
    Michael Barstow Answers (1)

Solar panels

Asset Management
  • We have had a request from a resident for permission to install solar panels on the roof of their home.

    Whilst we are generally happy to give permission to the resident, subject to the usual requirements (ensuring that it is installed properly and to a professional standard, making the resident aware that it is their responsibility to maintain it, etc), we would be interested to know if any other organisations have come across any particular problems or obstacles in terms of giving permission for this type of improvement.

    (Jonathan Carr, Muir Group Housing Association,, 01928 728044)
    Jonathan Carr Answers (5)

Security fire doors

Asset Management
  • We are putting together a performance specification for security fire doors (front entrance doors). The environment is an inner city area and the stock is a mixture of high-rise, low-rise and street properties. There are crime hot spots in some areas. I should be grateful if you were willing to share information in relation to required front entrance door performance specifications suitable for use in this environment.

    I'd appreciate early responses: and should you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    (Lionel Dezoysa, Hackney Homes,, 020 8356 1647)
    Lionel Dezoysa Answers (7)

Quality framework

Asset Management
  • Our business improvement unit is currently setting up a quality framework within the housing department. If your organisation already has a quality framework in place, we would like to hear from you to learn best practice and avoid any potential pitfalls.

    (Anne-Marie Hawes, Southwark London Borough,, )
    Anne-Marie Hawes Answers (1)

GIS/electronic mapping system

Asset Management
  • We are investigating the possibility of introducing an electronic mapping system (GIS) for a variety of tasks - but spurred on recently by the transfer of responsibility of communal areas, and amenity land grounds maintenance from one of our District Councils.

    Ideally, we would like to integrate all grounds maintenance maps/trees, etc, onto this system, and then incorporate a number of other aspects covered by asset management.

    Can anyone who has an electronic mapping system recommend a company/service/specific system, and summarise what your company uses it for, and advise on the sorts of costs involved?

    Many thanks


    (Alix Nel, Paradigm HG,, 01628 811 758)
    Alix Nel Answers (7)

More than decent programme - benchmarking

Asset Management
  • We have for a number of years been running a refurbishment programme for hard-to-let voids, carrying out works to a higher standard than our normal voids programme in order to:

    - Improve lettability standard
    - Reduce ongoing maintenance costs
    - Improve the rental stream by charging higher rents.

    We have developed bespoke arrangements for the identification, specification, implementation and project management of the works which are commissioned on a unit-by-unit basis.

    The overall unit cost of the works is currently circa £32,000 per unit and we would like to find some way of benchmarking this.

    We would be interested in talking to anyone who is carrying out similar programmes of work about how they arrange such work and what the unit cost might be.

    (Peter Sheehan, Womens Pioneer Housing,, 02087 497 112)
    Peter Sheehan Answers (2)

Aids and adaptations performance benchmarking

Asset Management
  • I am carrying out a benchmarking exercise on aids and adaptations performance indicators. Are there any members willing to share major and minor works performance figures?

    (Mike Beecroft, Synergy Housing Group,, 01929 558 422)
    Mike Beecroft Answers (8)

Craft agency staff usage

Asset Management
  • North Ayrshire Council Building Services currently employs 200 craft operatives, carrying out around 60,000 responsive and planned repairs. Would it be possible to get feedback from members about the following issues regarding agency workers:

    - Do you use craft agency staff to cover sickness, holidays, fluctuation in workload, special projects, etc?
    - What percentage of agency staff do you use against the numbers of FTE craft operatives over the year?
    - Do you use bank staff? If yes, how do you manage this process and is it successful?
    - Do you have any partnering arrangements with other sub-contractors/councils for supply of labour?

    I would appreciate any feedback you can provide.

    (Stephen Kean, North Ayrshire Council,, 01294 606918)
    Stephen Kean Answers (1)

Gas and electric certificates for voids

Asset Management
  • Can anyone please confirm/clarify whether both of the above are a legal requirement to be provided as part of the letting process?

    If they are a legal requirement, could anyone point me in the direction of the Act?


    (Dave Stock, Redditch Borough Council,, Tel 01527 64252 Ext 3896)
    Dave Stock Answers (8)

Match funding improvement works

Asset Management
  • I was wondering what match funding improvement works schemes there are at the moment?

    So which housing associations are agreeing to a 50:50 split (or something similar), with residents who wish to (at their own cost) improve their property or communal areas within a scheme?

    I was interested in how the schemes work and their benefits?

    (Jeya Greenfield, Sanctuary Group,, 01905334501)
    Jeya Greenfield Answers (1)

Estate sustainability

Asset Management
  • We are urgently reviewing our estate sustainability measures and how we rationalise investment. Can other organisations share any best practice in this area?

    (Robert Dawson, Green Vale Homes,, 01706836350)
    Robert Dawson Answers (2)

Gas repairs/servicing

Asset Management
  • We are planning to go to market next year to let a long-term partnering contract for the installation of new gas central heating works.

    We have a housing stock of approximately 10,500 homes.

    We carry out our gas servicing/repairs through our existing housing term contract and spend a high proportion of our budget on gas repairs. We are currently considering the option to package the servicing, repairs and new gas central heating works through a three-star service contract with the aim to reduce the costs for gas repairs.

    We would like to know what benefits you may have experienced or achieved with a three-star service for gas-related works.

    We would like to know what has worked well and what has also not worked quite so well.

    Any advice or comments would be very much welcomed.

    (Gerry O'Connor, Swindon Borough Council, go', 01793 463452)
    Gerry O'Connor Answers (2)

Voids review (standards)

Asset Management
  • Solihull Community Housing is planning to review its void standard during 2010/11. As part of this review we intend to look at the following issues:

    1 Tenant/customers:
    - Involvement
    - Empowerment
    - Expectations
    - Satisfaction.

    2 Value for money - cost of repairs

    3 Equality and diversity issues.

    If you have recently conducted a similar review of your voids process, I would be grateful if you could share your experiences.

    (Malcolm Castanheira, Solihull Community Housing,, 0121 717 1607)
    Malcolm Castanheira Answers (1)

Risk register policy

Asset Management
  • MMHA uses both internal DLO and external contractors for contracts subject to CDM. Does anybody have advice on best practice for collecting, storing and sharing information on vulnerable residents and also those households where the contractor may be at risk when entering the property?



    (Bernard Quinn, Meres and Mosses Housing Association,, 01939 238840)
    Bernard Quinn Answers (2)

Satisfaction surveys

Asset Management
  • I was wondering if anyone had any resident satisfaction surveys, especially for gas safety checks, that they might be willing to share?

    Many thanks

    Hazel Howard
    Service Improvement Officer

    (Hazel Howard, Sanctuary Group,, 01905 338 716)
    Hazel Howard Answers (2)

MOTs for gas servicing

Asset Management
  • One of my responsibilities is ensuring gas appliances are inspected each year. A great deal of effort and money goes into ensuring that over 99% of our properties have a CP12 that is no more than 12 months old. This is fine, but in order to do this, it is necessary to bring forward the date we begin the process by six weeks. Obviously if we are successful in gaining access in the early stages of the process, the service has to be brought forward by a similar period next year and so on.

    The net result will eventually be that most of our dwellings will have an extra service in a period of around nine years (a cost of up to £2m, or £220,000 per annum, to us). The cost of this across the country must be many millions of pounds. Clearly no one wants to compromise on gas safety, but I do not believe the legislation ever intended this literal interpretation, nor do I believe that it is an imperative to ensure safety.

    When we renew the annual MOT on our cars (which is another important safety check), we are able to preserve the anniversary date of the certificate even if the inspection is carried out a month early.

    My question is, could the same methodology, as now applied to vehicle MOTs, be applied to gas servicing? In my view this would not compromise safety, but would save millions of pounds across the country.

    (Martin Weaver, Hackney Homes,, )
    Martin Weaver Answers (3)

Exploding oven glass doors

Asset Management
  • We have had a number of glass oven doors fail. The event is kinetic and very distressing for our tenants. We have had a high number of doors fail in relation to the number installed.

    I would very much like to know if other members have experienced the same type of failure?

    (Mark Allum, Housing 21,, 03701924257)
    Mark Allum Answers (2)

Tenant profiling

Asset Management
  • How are other housing providers tackling tenant profiling?

    I would love to hear from providers that have looked at this.

    How have you collated information on your tenants, the response rate, how you have/are going to get information on all of your tenants and how you are going to ensure that the information is kept up to date?

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 743643)
    Nicola Levett Answers (2)

Monitoring contractor compliance with equality and diversity

Asset Management
  • Has anybody out there got a template that they use to monitor the performance of their contractors in terms of equality and diversity issues? I am looking in particular at areas like training, contractor staff profiling, disciplinary issues, how the contractor embeds E&D throughout their organisation, etc.

    I would appreciate it if anybody is further down the line than me and doesn't mind sharing whatever documents they use.

    Thank you.

    (Lyn Bowker, Liverpool Mutual Homes,, 0151 23 52550)
    Lyn Bowker Answers (2)

Differential void lettable standards

Asset Management
  • Does any organisation have differential void lettable standards? Is there a consistent national void minimum standard with an enhanced standard in some areas with some property types that best fits any issues around design, low demand, client group, etc?

    Is anyone willing to share how they do this and the benefits gained?

    (Sharon Ford, Affinity Sutton Group,, 01442 283103)
    Sharon Ford Answers (1)

Rechargeable repairs

Asset Management
  • Do you insure your housing stock against fires, floods, structural damage, etc?

    Do you recharge tenants for damage caused by negligence or accidents, ie, chip pan fire, overflowing baths, blocked drains?

    Thank you

    (Paul Bishop, Hull City Council,, (01482) 614470)
    Paul Bishop Answers (3)

Forced entry in an emergency

Asset Management
  • I've been working on a procedure for forced entry to properties in an emergency, of the sort that needs instant entry (water pouring through floors, etc).

    On the face of it, it looks as if the Public Health Act 1936, s287 comes the closest to permitting unfettered access, but I'm still not sure. Can anybody give some definitive pointers as to what a local authority is permitted to do in such circumstances, and which legislation covers it?

    (Rebecca Clements, Southwark London Borough,, 020 7525 602)
    Rebecca Clements Answers (1)

Feed-in tariff funding for landlords

Asset Management
  • MMHA has recently installed five ground source heat pumps. We are led to believe that the new feed-in tariff will apply to GSHP at a rate of 7p/kWh for 23 years, and that the landlord will receive the grant.

    If this is true it could revolutionise our provision of affordable heating to off-gas rural properties.

    Do any other members have similar schemes in place/are contemplating the FiT issue for alternative energy sources, such as GSHP, air source, photovoltaic, etc?

    I would be grateful for your views/experience.

    (Bernard Quinn, Meres and Mosses Housing Association,, 01939 238840)
    Bernard Quinn Answers (7)

Void repair policy/standards

Asset Management
  • I am the void operations manager for Calico.

    I'm reviewing our policies around void property repairs and management and wondered if anyone would be prepared to share their organisation's void repair policy or re-let standards.

    Many thanks

    (Simon Flaherty, Calico Homes Limited,, 07976 079608/01282 686455)
    Simon Flaherty Answers (8)

Non-thermostatic showers

Asset Management
  • RBC are asking the question as to whether other local authorities and housing associations have replaced as a matter of course, existing non-thermostatic showers retrospectively, or only replaced them when they become faulty or through a modernisation programme for Decent Homes, etc?

    (Liz Dunlop, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533841)
    Liz Dunlop Answers (3)

Policy development/critical friend

Asset Management
  • Hi everyone

    I am in the process of creating and reviewing a number of policies within asset management. For example, emergency procedure, defects, and defective lifts.

    It would be great if anyone can let me know any lessons learned or best practice that they have used to review or develop their policy.

    Your assistance is much appreciated.

    Kind Regards

    Neil Topping

    (Neil Topping, Family Mosaic Housing,, 0207 0891000)
    Neil Topping Answers (1)

Constant central heating repair request

Asset Management
  • Does anyone have elderly residents who have issues with their gas central heating system, and subsequently report faults that after inspection prove unfounded.

    How do you resolve issues of this nature?

    (Jeanne Bessey, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533842)
    Jeanne Bessey Answers (2)

Responsive and cyclical repairs

Asset Management
  • We are undertaking a review of our responsive and cyclical repairs policy and procedure and welcome any examples of good practice, leaflets and customer facing publications.

    Many thanks

    (Matthew Rothwell, Sanctuary Group,, 01905 725272)
    Matthew Rothwell Answers (2)

Charges for gas meter reconnections

Asset Management
  • We currently have an issue in Hull whereby supply authorities (in particular gas) are charging in the region of £640 to have services reconnected for a new customer (due to the previous tenant having tampered with the meter). Unfortunately, as the landlord we foot the bill.

    Have any other authorities experienced this and if so what measures, if any, are they taking?

    (Ian Miller, Hull City Council,, )
    Ian Miller Answers (8)

Leaseholders and gas safety certificates

Asset Management
  • The Trust are looking at asking its leaseholders to provide annual CP12 certificates. Does anybody else do this and if so how do you go about it, how succesful is it, do you enforce it and what problems do you encounter? Any help that you can give will be greatly appreciated.


    (Simon Maney, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209216)
    Simon Maney Answers (5)

Rechargeable repairs VAT charged

Asset Management
  • Our current rechargeable repairs procedure and policy are being reviewed, at present VAT is charged on a VOID property but existing tenants are not charged VAT, only the cost of the recharge plus an administration fee.

    I would appreciate feedback as to how other landlords charge VAT on void and tenanted properties.

    (Catherine Stewardson, Wolverhampton Homes,, 01902 550498)
    Catherine Stewardson Answers (1)

Rent on damaged properties

Asset Management
  • I am currently researching best practice for dealing with properties which have become uninhabitable due to fire/flood/impact damage where that tenant would require emergency housing.

    Housing Benefit will not make any contribution to the rent as the property cannot be lived in, therefore if not made void, the property will accrue rent arrears.

    If the property is made void, no rent is charged but there will be a break in the tenancy which would have repercussions for any subsequent right to buy application made by the tenant.

    Any information relating to your organisations practice would be appreciated.

    Many thanks

    (Lisa Cummings, Livin,, 0.133 816166 ext 6005)
    Lisa Cummings Answers (1)

Repairs completed during evenings and weekends

Asset Management
  • Hyde is aiming to offer appointments for repairs during evenings and weekends by 2010. Have any other members implemented this and if so,what has the take-up been from residents, and any pitfalls experienced?

    (Ian Jenner, Hyde Housing Association,, 02032 072710)
    Ian Jenner Answers (1)