What’s the Best Way to Balance Repair and Maintenance Costs, Complexity and Control?

Whatever their size or ownership model, social housing providers have several things in common when it comes to repair and maintenance (R&M). While tight cost control remains essential, there’s also a renewed focus on safety and quality.

Alongside this, there is a drive for residents to have a greater say in how services are delivered and a need to balance immediate responsive repairs with long term efforts to improve the quality and energy-efficiency of the stock.

Feeling in control of events when there are so many priorities to balance can prove elusive. Is it more effective to segment the services so that individual contractors can focus on specific areas? Or is it better to have a single partner for all reactive and planned maintenance?

Breaking up the service into smaller chunks with multiple providers could be seen as more manageable. KPIs can be tracked against individual providers and contracts to identify exactly where service levels need to improve.

Where Does Real Control Come From?

But with a fragmented service, it also becomes more difficult to take a holistic view of the housing stock. It’s harder to coordinate reactive repairs with property upgrades, compliance and voids. Potentially, this means resources are not used in the most efficient way, activities can be duplicated, and costs become harder to track.

Fragmentation also brings the possibility of disjointed information flows that make it harder to establish the crystal-clear picture of asset condition needed to plan future budget allocations.

Across multiple R&M partnerships, Osborne has shown how a single provider can bring greater control over what is happening now and what needs to happen in the future. Processes can be streamlined across all services to deliver more customer-focused ways of working in which all teams of operatives work to the same goals.

Greater continuity results in a service that is easier for residents to use. Customer service teams always have complete information when they offer advice and arrange repair and maintenance visits. The compliance task is also easier to coordinate within the framework of a fully coordinated and cost-effective service.

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