Hightown Housing Association

Stock Condition Survey for Hightown Housing Association

The Project

Hightown Housing Association asked for our assistance to undertake stock condition surveys to properties within their general rented portfolio. A surveying strategy was in place to carry out regular inspections of properties and we were appointed to support the in-house surveyors to meet the target number for 2018-19. The properties to be inspected were either last surveyed more than five years ago, previously cloned from other surveys or were yet to be surveyed.

Our Role

  • To conduct as many surveys as possible from a target list of 397 properties.
  • To collect stock condition information and full RdSAP energy data capture.
  • Programme the survey inspections and make access arrangements with residents.
  • Utilise the Integrator Housing Solutions ‘Pocket Surveyor/Notus’ tablet based software.
  • Provide data for direct import into Hightown’s Integrator asset management database.
  • To provide a summary analysis report output together with financial forecasting.

The Challenges

As the target list was relatively small and the properties were spread over three Counties, we had to engage meticulous survey planning to make effective use of the surveyors’ time.

The Integrator database has a web-based portal for survey data transfer to and from tablet PCs but the database itself is not web-based. We therefore needed to implement a strategy for remote data management and validation.

The Solution

We distributed informative letters to residents to request access to their homes on a specific date with a named surveyor and provided plenty of notice. Residents were then encouraged to contact our survey administrators to book a time slot or to request an alternative date if the one provided was not convenient.

Our client was kept informed by progress reports on a weekly basis. We initially delivered 181 surveys and as Hightown were happy with the service being delivered, we then delivered a further 130 surveys in a second phase from an increased target list.

We took an export of the data files from Hightown’s Integrator and set up our own version of the database which mirrored the survey design and options file. The surveys were conducted using tablet PCs pre-loaded with the Pocket Surveyor/Notus software to return data in a format that could be directly loaded to Hightown’s Integrator database. This method meant that we could send the data promptly via digital means for import.

Added Value

We captured digital images for the properties using the tablet PC and these were embedded within the data so that they were assigned against each component within each property record.

We noted a handful of enhancements possible to the survey design which we made in our version of the database solution. We informed our client of the option file changes in order that these could be made in the main database for data compatibility at import.

We procured the project through a direct call off from Lot 3 – Asset Management Surveys of the South-East Consortium (SEC) Framework. This saved Hightown the time to undertake a selection process and there was no cost to our client for the procurement.