'Driving a new agenda in assets and repairs.'
As the CIH Repairs & Maintenance Conference & Exhibition 2018 approaches, we asked Richard Medley, our conference chair, to set out what he thinks repairs and maintenance needs to deliver for residents, for landlord organisations and for the property asset.
When it comes to repairs and maintenance, the overriding strategic challenge faced by social housing landlords is: how to optimise the value obtained from delivery of repairs and maintenance services and ensure all investment contributes to business objectives. To address this challenge, the housing sector needs a paradigm shift in its approach to repairs and maintenance which disrupts the established delivery models and the typically sterile terms of debate.
For social housing organisations, this means that a new agenda needs to be progressed, one that’s built around delivering repairs and maintenance in a way that achieves a number of key things:
• Greater economy - business plans and budgets are under huge pressure so it’s crucial that resources are invested to best effect. This means repairs and maintenance needs to be planned and delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible, driving out waste where we can.
• Delivering the asset - landlords need to make sure that what is spent on repairs is relevant and always a proper contribution to sustaining the housing assets, ideally adding value to the property.
• Instilling trust – landlords are under pressure to demonstrate that their repair and maintenance systems and approaches are delivering safe and secure homes; this requires proactive methods of compliance to be put in place.
• More fairness - future decisions over what repairs are undertaken, where and when, need to be determined in a stronger partnership with residents and more consistently aligned with a clearly articulated and transparently managed rights and responsibilities agenda.
So, what does this new agenda mean for social housing landlords and how as a sector are we going to deliver it? There are certainly a range of interesting and important initiatives that many organisations are putting in place and progressing and in many cases these are meaning that the design and delivery of their repair and maintenance services and investment is changing. We have property MOTs, ‘pre-emptive’ repairs, ‘demand-led replacement’, ‘value added’ repairs and ‘total asset management’ to name just a few.
The time is right for all organisations to be challenging how they do things, why they do things and when they do things. Then to review and reshape the offer to residents and the value repairs, maintenance and investment activities are bringing.
CIH is taking a lead on driving change and has recently established the CIH Assets & Repairs 2020 Group. Over the next couple of years this group of leading players from various parts of the sector will be pushing forward a new agenda for assets and repairs and setting out a 2020 vision for the sector that we can all sign up to.
More immediately, we have the CIH Annual Repairs & Maintenance Conference & Exhibition 2018. This too will be playing its part in developing and progressing this new agenda with its packed programme of panel style plenaries incorporating table discussions and debate, complemented by a range of practitioner focussed break-out sessions on key topics and initiatives that matter. Attracting around 200 delegates in 2017 and with impressive delegate feedback this is ‘must attend’ event.
Richard Medley is managing director of Housing Dynamics, co-chair of the CIH Assets & Repairs 2020 Group and chair of the CIH Repairs & Maintenance Conference & Exhibition 2018.
- To view the full programme for our 2018 Repairs and Maintenance Conference & Exhibition and book your place click here