The Acting Housing Service Lead’s report outlined reasons, benefits and risks associated with undertaking the proposed full Stock Condition Survey (SCS) on the EDDC housing portfolio. The completion of a full SCS was a strategic imperative for the council. The data received as a result of this complex and in-depth piece of work will enable the housing service to:
Ø Produce an evidenced based 30 year active Asset Management Strategy & delivery programme;
Ø Produce a comprehensive 50 year Estate Regeneration Strategy & delivery programme;
Ø Produce accurate planned and cyclical works programmes;
Ø Produce an accurate Housing Revenue Account Business Plan update and models;
Ø Achieve a significant reduction in the responsive repairs load;
Ø Secure improvements to the quality and futureproofing of the Council’s housing stock;
Ø Make efficiencies by maximising the ability to flex economies of scale;
Ø Fully understand the wider financial and delivery implications of the Council’s drive toward a carbon neutral housing stock;
Ø Better fulfil the obligations incumbent upon EDDC as social landlords;
Ø Ensure compliance with all statutory and legislative implications, including those of the new Building Safety Act and the resultant inspection regime;
Ø Have full and meaningful ‘conversations’ with tenants and communities enabling the Council to move forward together with EDDC’s Sustainable Communities aspirations.
Without a SCS EDDC was at considerable risk of struggling to fulfil the full remit of its duty as social landlord and also to achieve its ambitions to provide a carbon neutral housing stock across the district by 2040. Also, without the data from a SCS the Council would fail to comply with the requirements of the new Building Safety Act. The Council did not currently have the information to enable it to effectively forecast and budget for the financial implications of managing its repair and maintenance obligations. The output from the SCS would be detailed information on each property in the housing service portfolio including components, age, condition, life expectancy, energy efficiency etc. The housing portfolio also included community centres, a bore hole, sewage treatment works, shops and blocks of flats. A full database would be completed. EDDC’s membership of the South West Procurement Portal had enabled it to greatly reduce the time and cost implications of securing an appropriately qualified and experienced provider. Use of the Portal also offered the comfort that due diligence and value for money benchmarking had been undertaken on its behalf.
The Acting Housing Service Lead explained the release of Central Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) in 2022. In order to be able to submit a strong bid for funding to support the ‘Green Homes’ works programme, there needed to be a complete understanding of the housing portfolio including current EPC data on all individual homes. These data requirements were included within the specification of the SCS.
The resource required by EDDC to deliver the SCS, which would be included as part of the project team was:
· A project lead.
· A Senior Officer to oversee the day to day management of the project.
· A dedicated Officer to review/audit the Stock Condition data.
· Administration assistants to perform a tenant liaison role/address access issues and to upload data information onto the Council’s systems.
· Dedicated IT support within Housing Systems.
These would need to be new posts as there was not sufficient capacity within the Property and Asset or Housing Systems teams.
EDDC had approximately 4200 properties and had never before undertaken an internal and external 100% stock condition survey. The last SCS was carried out in 2011 on approximately 15% of the stock (around 700 homes) and had used an element of cloning/assumptions. This information had been added to by staff visiting tenants’ homes. The Strategic Lead - Housing, Health and Environment reassured members that all necessary up to date compliance data was held by the Council.
Following the initial SCS, which would be undertaken within 12 months with specialists, it was recommended that a 5-year rolling SCS programme be delivered to ensure that data was regularly updated. This five year rolling programme would require a dedicated resource in the form of a Stock Condition Surveyor as there was not sufficient resource in the existing Property and Asset team. It was noted that the costs of the SCS would fall to the Housing Revenue Account, and therefore borne by Housing, rather than from the Council’s General Fund.
RESOLVED: that the Housing Review Board note the report and discuss the Housing Stock Condition Survey recommendation further in Part B along with the costs associated with undertaking the proposed stock condition survey on the EDDC housing portfolio.