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The Challenges for Housing Associations Building Affordable Homes

Posted 07 01 2023 by webadmin

Our Managing Surveyor, Maurice Johnston talks about challenges facing Housing Associations..

At Global, we work with Housing Associations right across the UK.  The race is well underway to build enough new affordable homes to meet the ambitious new homes target.  But it’s not just building new homes, it’s improving what we already have available to make those homes more energy efficient.

Maurice Johnston, Managing Surveyor at Global talks about the current challenges faced by Housing Associations and offers his take on things.

Structural Defect Warranties on New Build Homes:

“We work with lots of Housing Associations across the UK. Some of those Housing Associations arrange their structural warranty insurance directly and some leave that to the contractor that they have appointed to the project.  We strongly advocate that if your contractor is arranging your cover for you that you check, and double check what is and isn’t covered.  Latent defect insurance policies can vary greatly and that is to be expected, but Housing Associations need to be vigilant in checking and understanding what is included before the project starts or they run the risk of problems arising for their tenants and their organisations further down the line when it’s too late.”

Clerk of Works Services for Housing Associations:

“Some Housing Associations employ inhouse Clerk of Works but many choose to outsource this important function to benefit from complete impartiality and potential cost savings.  This is such an important function within affordable housing projects bringing efficiencies and potential cost savings which can be crucial when working to tight budgets and deadlines.  But it’s not just about making sure that things are running smoothly, it’s about working closely with site teams to proactively identify potential defects, making sure that at every stage of the build, we are maximizing resources and materials.  It’s what helps us to deliver more projects on time, which are right first time. Material costs have risen sharply so it’s more important than ever to minimise waste.  With ongoing skills shortages in the construction industry, it is vital to ensure that the skills we do have available are utilised effectively. Our technical expertise and vast experience offer an added layer of quality control for the projects we carry out our clerk of works services on.”

Retro Fitting and Stock Condition Reports:

“It is no secret that the UK has some of the oldest housing stock.  It is less known however that the UK also has some of the coldest housing stock.  Recent reports indicate that some Scottish homes are colder than homes in Italy and other parts of Europe. That’s not down to geography.  It’s down to lack of energy efficiency.  This presents a massive challenge and opportunity for Housing Associations.   It’s really important for Housing Associations to have accurate information on the condition of their stock.  Levels of reporting differ greatly.  A recent article suggests that some Housing Associations in the UK don’t carry out stock condition reports at all and that of those who do, the reports are not detailed enough.  We offer a Stock Condition Report service to Housing Associations across the UK.  Our reports are comprehensive and are carried out by fully qualified, industry professionals. I believe it to be best practice to have up to date, accurate records of housing stock to enable housing associations to allocate spend effectively and make the best use of tight budgets.”