New technology will help Yorkshire Housing improve the customer experience of repairs and renovations.
The housing association’s asset management system is to be streamlined later this year – bringing with it improvements in service delivery.
Asset management is a key factor in keeping homes safe and also compliant with regulations by repairing or replacing things.
Yorkshire Housing maintains records such as when kitchens, bathrooms, roofs and boilers were fitted.
Details are also kept of makes and models of every type of installation plus servicing records across all of Yorkshire Housing’s 19,500 homes.
It is how staff know a property has, for example, a gas boiler and when a safety check is due.
It helps plan maintenance and repairs, which is the area of asset management that will benefit from the improvements.
John Ardern, head of asset management at Yorkshire Housing, said: “The work itself will never change – it’s how we do it that will change.”
He explained: “There’s a couple of ways that repairs come in. The first one is when something breaks and a customer rings in.
“If it’s easy enough, like a dripping tap, we’ll send an engineer straight out to that.
“If it’s not so simple, say a damp patch on a wall, a surveyor will assess what needs to be done, come back in to write a report and then somebody else will do the repair.
“New technology will remove that second stage, so the surveyor can order the works there and then and arrange an appointment with the customer.”
Tenants will also be able to share pictures to enable surveyors to see what is wrong remotely.
John said of the changes: “Work orders will get planned and appointed straight away, so tenants will know exactly what is happening.
“That will make it a cleaner, slicker service.”
John’s team of 30 staff are also looking at long-term solutions to make homes even better for customers.
He said: “Our main issue at the moment is around habitation, damp and condensation.
“We’re looking at how that’s caused, how it can be avoided, building types and how they were constructed and people’s lifestyles.
“We’re also looking at the impact of sealing properties with new doors and windows and fitting internal insulation to bring heating costs down.”
And a focus on planned maintenance will reduce the need for running repairs.
John said: “The more planned work we do reduces the amount of reactive work, and reactive is more expensive.
“So the better we are at planned, the less impact there’ll be on the day-to-day, which also means less disruption for customers.”