Welcome

The UK’s economic climate at the start of 2012 was not significantly different to that of 2011. However, it does feel tougher because of the realisation that it will not improve quickly. We have gone from hearing that, regardless of the urgency of the project there simply wasn’t the funding, to knowing twelve months later, that there is still no money available. This means we have to respond in two quite different ways simultaneously. On the one hand, we have to go back to basics and make sure our current operations are as efficient as they can be, while on the other, we need to be strategic, forward thinking and more innovative then ever before. Both demand the investment of time, which is the recurring theme of the articles in our NHMF Bulletin this year.

The UK’s economic climate at the start of 2012 was not significantly different to that of 2011. However, it does feel tougher because of the realisation that it will not improve quickly. We have gone from hearing that, regardless of the urgency of the project there simply wasn’t the funding, to knowing twelve months later, that there is still no money available. This means we have to respond in two quite different ways simultaneously. On the one hand, we have to go back to basics and make sure our current operations are as efficient as they can be, while on the other, we need to be strategic, forward thinking and more innovative then ever before. Both demand the investment of time, which is the recurring theme of the articles in our NHMF Bulletin this year.

Project management begins with a clear objective and a certainty as to where the project sits in the triangle that balances the constraints of time, cost, and quality. If you are pressed for time you are more likely to spend money. Therefore, if you have less money, you must spend more time planning and researching to achieve your objectives within budget.

In this NHMF Bulletin our contributors urge us to invest time in the procurement of contracts and to involve stakeholders. They require us to examine the opportunities associated with the Green Deal, new technologies and performance management, and to minimise risk.

In contrast to project management, organisational management is a more fluid juggling act where the balls are time, money and people. Delegates attending NHMF training days usually conclude that the success of a responsive repairs contract is heavily dependent on the people involved, underpinned by effective communication between both the individuals and teams. It takes time to gather the skills and information required to meet the objectives of the tender process.

Looking forward to 2013, the NHMF plans to continue to provide senior maintenance professionals with opportunities to share their skills and expertise to ensure that the basic standard of service is as high as possible. As well as hosting the ever-popular NHMF Maintenance Conference in January 2013, we are widening our horizons by:

• setting up an NHMF Contractor’s Forum to provide a vehicle to explore new approaches to the procurement and management of contracts
• working with the CIH supporting the new event ‘Homes 2012’
• launching an NHMF study tour to Europe
• running regular NHMF training days

We have developed very good practice in housing maintenance over a long period. It is important that we continue to build this resource through encouraging each other to view things from a different perspective. Conferences and training days provide the opportunity to hear from experts in relevant fields, to share knowledge and information, but above all to test ideas with colleagues who have practical experience in building maintenance.

On behalf of the NHMF I would like to thank all our contributors for their time spent preparing these articles for print and for sharing their views and expertise.

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