Contractor Forum members ‘inspired’ by speakers and content’ and ‘excited for the next meeting’

With almost 50 delegates and a packed agenda, last week's NHMF Contractor Forum meeting was a perfect example of how our sector can come together to learn, share and take action.


Held during COP26, a lot of the focus of the Forum naturally leaned towards our sector's response to decarbonisation, PAS2035 and the recently released Heating and Buildings Strategy.

Following the welcome by Chair of the Forum, Mike Turner, Executive Director at Ian Williams Ltd, we had a comprehensive Compliance Update from United Living's Paul Maghie and NHMF Deputy Secretary Andrew Burke who shared updates to the valuable resource of the NHMF's Best Practice website, another benefit available to Forum members.

It feels now more than ever that the housing sector and subsequent service delivery demands on contractors, is facing unprecedented challenges - decarbonisation and the Road to Net Zero, the Building Safety Regulator, Future Homes Standards, the role of retrofitting, supply chain issues and labour shortages, to name a few. We'll cover these areas in depth in future meetings, but important updates were provided during the meeting and as a group, it was agreed that we still have a long way to go, but that we're moving in the right direction.

What does 'good' look like when it comes to sustainability?

With COP26 in mind, it was fitting that our first speaker was Richard Lupo from Shift Environment, an environmental consultancy who have been calculating and reporting on energy use and carbon emissions including on SECR, ESG, POE and zero carbon roadmaps for over 15 years. Richard passionately made the case for creating people and planet-friendly buildings and challenged the Forum that when it comes to emissions and sustainability, what does 'good' look like? How can we as contractors help our housing clients to achieve 'good' when it comes to saving energy, water, waste and material embedded carbon, and how do we get this data to them?

Turning data into tailored intelligence for everyone 

Data was also at the heart of the next presentation by Disruptive Innovators Network (DIN) & Proptech Innovation Network's Jenny Danson, who spoke about Communications in a Digital Age. DIN is the membership community for social housing organisations investing in innovation, by capturing best insights and knowledge from different sectors to embrace new innovations that inspire social housing leaders to transform their organisations.

The main thrust of Jenny's presentation was how do we turn data into tailored intelligence for everyone. We learned about snackable polls, heat map layering, geo-mapping spatial functioning, place-based needs analysis, drop pin marking, IoT Smart monitoring and the use of chat bots. Jenny also shared several case studies with us including one from Switchee, who worked with a housing provider to improve their maintenance and repairs efficiency through digital appointment scheduling and remote boiler testing. It resulted in a significant 89% reduction in failed callouts and 30% reduction in Repairs spend.

Communication is a conversation 

The scope and breadth of the presentations and conversations during this half day session really illuminate what members tell us is a key benefit: the learning they gain from other sectors. Take for example, technology for service delivery where the question was posed 'Is there anything we can learn as a sector from Amazon's delivery model?' The Forum helps us to look outside of ourselves to others who are perhaps more experienced or better resourced in certain areas. Why wouldn't we want to learn from them?

We have elements of our sector that are way ahead of the curve, but also some we need to keep getting better at. The Contractor Forum allows us to try and test options together.

Data and collaboraton are key, and critical to the Contractor Forum's success is the recognition that comminunication is a conversation, not a one-off event.

If you'd like to join future meetings as a guest, you're more than welcome to try us out. Contact to find out more on this, or about the 10% discount we have till the end of the year. 

Jenny Danson and Ian Wright from DIN will be back to host a plenary on Debunking Proptech at the annual NHMF Maintenance Conference in January. Please click here to book your place.

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