Renewable heating in social housing

I am sure you may have heard stories about social housing organisations across the UK that have had bad experiences of all types of heat pumps; Biomass, ASHP and GSHP – good news travels down the street but bad news spreads all over the town. The ending is normally the same in that these new “green” systems had to be taken out, or only a small number installed, with little harm done.

To be or not to be… resilient?

After far too wet a winter period, finally spring has arrived. Some of you reading this article may be adding to that list the issues of structural damage, the costs associated with reinstatement, loss of rental income, rehousing/temporarily housing residents and increases in insurance premiums. For others, this is thankfully someone else’s problem, not yours. However, in the future it might well be, and if it is, how resilient is your stock to climatic events and changes?

Affordable water for affordable housing

First Wessex’s estate of over 20,000 homes, predominantly in Hampshire, has been in an area of water stress since 2007. Supply of this essential resource is often taken for granted, and its conservation clearly important. Excluding our commercial use, residents consume approximately seven million litres per day, and there is a need to reduce this consumption and save this precious resource.

Developing a winning strategy for safety

How do you weave health and safety into your strategic thinking? A guide produced for directors and board members by the Institute of Directors in alliance with the HSE is a good starting point.

Where does the fire safety buck stop in your organisation?

It is 12 months since the Rule 43 letters were issued after the Lakanal House and Shirley Towers inquests. A Rule 43 letter is issued by a coroner in order to highlight issues raised during an inquest and to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances. Unusually, the Southwark Coroner issued four letters to various parties including the London Borough of Southwark. The Coroner for the Shirley Towers Inquest issued a Rule 43 letter and quoted a previous Rule 43 letter that was issued in Stevenage following an Inquest into the deaths of two firefighters in 2005.

‘All that glitters is not gold; many a man his life has sold’ The Merchant of Venice …William Shakespeare.

Faberge ...correctly regarded as the height of jewellery excellence ...exquisitely replicated flower and foliage designs crafted in precious metals and gems. However beware ‘all that glitters’.

Lift codes: being prepared for change

2017 will see the most sweeping changes to lift codes for many years. We are familiar with EN81 part 1 and 2, which has represented the standard for lift installations, and has been the best point of reference for housing development and maintenance professionals to ensure that lift equipment is appropriate and safe for their residents.

Compelling reasons for development and maintenance teams to work together

There are ever more compelling reasons for development and maintenance teams to work together. It is well known that social housing maintenance and asset management teams are a different species from providers’ development teams. They have different operating environments; different challenges, and constraints; even quite different cultures; and often they do not share an office. Their objectives are however the same: to ensure that their tenants and residents are securely and comfortably housed. At the HCA’s Construction Forum in February this year, we heard from the Spectrum Housing Group on how it integrates new build development with maintenance – see the ‘Construction Forum 2014’ news article on the HCA website.

Case study: Spectrum Housing Group

Spectrum Housing Group is running a pilot, testing the integration of new build development with maintenance.

Procurement clubs: an obvious solution?

On paper, it would seem that procurement clubs offer a myriad of benefits to buyers. There is evidence to suggest that ‘buying collectively’ does bring solutions that benefit the greater good. On the other hand, there is also evidence of what can happen when a ‘procurement club’ goes wrong. At the point of writing, there are 13 consortia/procurement clubs representing almost 200 landlords who belong to the Homes and Community Agency-run Procurement Efficiency Initiative, with an estimated 20 clubs under way across England in total.

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