Managing a portfolio of social housing is a complex task; keeping on top of maintenance can be even harder. From planned maintenance to responsive repairs, there are a vast array of considerations and a huge breadth of works that need undertaking over the course of a property’s lifetime.
Why a repair partner makes sense in social housing
For many social housing providers, the sensible solution to meet this need lies in not just outsourcing, but in building a relationship with a trusted partner to manage and deliver repair and maintenance services.
Social Housing Repair: What to look out for
Choosing a partner can be daunting with no ‘one size fits all’ solution. A few things to consider are:
What’s on offer: there will be different offerings on the table, from those who can deliver a full service offering such as dealing with insurers, keeping residents up to date and ensuring the right skills mix of technicians, through to more bespoke offerings that focus, for example, purely on responsive repairs relating to electrical or plumbing issues. Be clear about what’s important and specific about expectations.
The process: whether it’s a simple, one-off fix or an extensive programme of works over a defined period of time, it’s important to bring in a partner who can work with you to integrate your ways of working. Building a relationship with a partner will take time so make sure the basics like systems, reporting and communication are in place and will work for both sides.
Expertise: be clear about the outcomes you expect a partner to deliver so that they can ensure the right mix of expertise is made available to service the contract. It’s also worth thinking about the support needed outside of physical repairs, such as specialist surveying expertise or contract management to ensure the right degree of management is applied to repairs, residents and overall contract delivery.
What Social Housing Repair services can you expect?
From a full-service partner, there’s often an extensive list of options for you to include within your scope of works, including:
Reporting, data and KPIs
Many clients are clear about what measures are important to their business success. However, there can be a benefit in exploring this with potential repair and maintenance providers to ensure any additional insight they can offer is taken on board to help with contract management.
Set KPIs with a purpose that will drive the right behaviours from a partner, including advocating resident engagement and satisfaction as a priority alongside factors such as timeliness and cost.
The more detailed the client portal or management platform, the more likely it is that rich and insightful data will be available so it’s worth looking into how this output can be used to help inform more strategic decisions.
Technology and customer support
With technology bringing greater innovation in how repair and maintenance services can be delivered, it’s simpler than ever to manage services and ensure the transparency and robustness of management information.
Some partners may have a dedicated portal for managing work orders, allowing a seamless flow from the point a job is logged by the client through to notes around completion, the capture of relevant resident data, such as whether it is a vulnerable or lone tenant, and even details of the mileage undertaken by the technician completing the work. Such systems may also allow the capture of photos to show the before and after state, the completion of risk assessments and online approvals for work to be completed.
The RFM way
RFM is uniquely placed to provide a holistic repair and maintenance offering for social housing providers. With extensive experience in this sector, an innovative and industry-leading online client portal and in-house technicians with geographical coverage across the country, RFM is the partner to trust. Not only this, but RFM leverages the benefits of technology throughout all of its operations, meaning robust management insight and quicker, more efficient use of resource to get the job done.
RFM Group and Habinteg Housing Association working together in partnership
Habinteg Housing Association is a registered social housing provider with 50 years’ experience building and promoting accessible homes and communities. They own and manage more than 3,300 homes and operate in 86 local authorities across England and Wales.
You can learn more about how RFM Group and Habinteg work together here.
FAQ about Why a Repair Partner Makes Sense in Social Housing
Q: What is a repair partner in social housing?
A: A repair partner is a company or organization that works with social housing providers to manage and carry out repairs and maintenance services for their properties. Repair partners can provide a range of services, from emergency repairs to planned maintenance and renovation projects.
Q: Why does a repair partner make sense in social housing?
A: A repair partner can provide social housing providers with a range of benefits, including cost savings, improved efficiency, and higher-quality repairs. Repair partners can also provide a more responsive and customer-focused service, with faster response times and more flexible scheduling.
Q: What are the benefits of using a repair partner in social housing?
A: Benefits of using a repair partner in social housing include:
- Cost savings: Repair partners can often provide services at a lower cost than in-house repair teams, due to their economies of scale and specialized expertise.
- Improved efficiency: Repair partners can provide faster response times and more efficient scheduling, which can reduce downtime and minimize disruptions to residents.
- Higher quality repairs: Repair partners can provide higher quality repairs, due to their specialized training and expertise, as well as their use of the latest tools and technologies.
- Better customer service: Repair partners can provide a more responsive and customer-focused service, with 24/7 support, online booking systems, and regular communication with residents.
- Reduced administrative burden: Repair partners can handle all aspects of repairs and maintenance, from scheduling to billing, which can free up social housing providers to focus on other areas of their operations.
Q: How do repair partners work with social housing providers?
A: Repair partners typically work closely with social housing providers to understand their needs and priorities, and to develop customized repair and maintenance plans that meet their specific requirements. Repair partners may also provide training and support to in-house repair teams, or work alongside them to provide additional capacity and expertise.
Q: What types of repairs and maintenance can repair partners provide in social housing?
A: Repair partners can provide a wide range of repairs and maintenance services in social housing, including:
- Emergency repairs, such as burst pipes, gas leaks, or electrical failures
- Planned maintenance, such as boiler servicing, gutter cleaning, or painting and decorating
- Renovation and refurbishment projects, such as kitchen and bathroom replacements or energy efficiency upgrades
- Grounds maintenance, such as landscaping, tree pruning, or graffiti removal
Q: How can social housing providers choose the right repair partner for their needs?
A: Social housing providers can choose the right repair partner for their needs by considering factors such as:
- Expertise and experience in social housing repairs and maintenance
- Availability and responsiveness of service
- Quality of work and customer satisfaction ratings
- Pricing and cost-effectiveness
- Compliance with industry regulations and standards
- Sustainability and environmental credentials
Speak to the Property Experts...
Data – it’s the engine that drives improvements, promotes efficiencies and generates cost savings. Delivering repair and maintenance work across social housing portfolios and for insurance-related claims is high-volume and varied work that can involve a huge breadth of jobs.