Thursday, 23 September 2010

Social Housing Standard #2: Home Standard

The second of the six new standards for social housing relates to the decent homes standard.

The new standards were introduced in April 2010 by the Tenants Services Authority which regulates social housing in England.

Read more about the Decent Homes Standard and its implementation on the Eric and Treby Estate at the end of this post. 


Required outcomes

Specific expectations

Quality of accommodation
Registered providers shall:
  • ensure that tenants’ homes meet the standard set out in section 5 of the Government’s Decent Homes Guidance by 31 December 2010 and continue to maintain their homes to at least this standard after this date  
  • meet the standards of design and quality that applied when the home was built, and were required as a condition of publicly funded financial assistance, if these standards are higher than the Decent Homes Standard
  • in agreeing a local offer, ensure that it is set at a level not less than these standards and have regard to section 6 of the Government’s Decent Homes Guidance
Quality of accommodation
The TSA may agree with a registered provider an extension to the 31 December 2010 date where this is reasonable. Providers shall ensure their tenants are aware of the reasons for any extension given

Required outcomes

Specific expectations

Repairs and maintenance
Registered providers shall:
  • provide a cost-effective repairs and maintenance service to homes and communal areas that responds to the needs of, and offers choices to, tenants, and has the objective of completing repairs and improvements right first time  
  • meet all applicable statutory requirements that provide for the health and safety of the occupants in their homes
Registered providers shall set out in an annual report for tenants how they are meeting these obligations and how they intend to meet them in the future. The provider shall then meet the commitments it has made to its tenants
Repairs and maintenance
Registered providers shall ensure a prudent, planned approach to repairs and maintenance of homes and communal areas. This should demonstrate an appropriate balance of planned and responsive repairs, and value for money. The approach should include: responsive and cyclical repairs, planned and capital work, work on empty properties, and adaptations.

Registered providers shall co-operate with relevant organisations to provide an adaptations service that meets tenants’ needs.

Decent Homes Standard

In its Green Paper ‘Quality and Choice: A Decent Home for All(July 2000), the Government set two targets:
  1. To reduce by 1/3 the number of social housing properties which fail the Standard by 2004
  2. To have all social rented homes meeting the Standard by 2010 (ie by 31st December 2010)
A decent Home is one which is wind and weather tight, warm and has modern facilities
The repair, maintenance and improvement requirements are based around four key components:
  • Fitness for Habitation - it must meet the current statutory minimum for housingmeet the current statutory minimum for housing
  • Disrepair - it must be in a reasonable state of repair
  • Modern Facilities - it must have reasonably modern facilities which are defined as:
    • a kitchen which is 20 years old or less; 
    • a kitchen with adequate space and layout; 
    • a bathroom which is 30 years old or less; 
    • an appropriately located bathroom and WC;
    • adequate external noise insulation; and 
    • adequate size and layout of common entrance areas for blocks of flats.
  • Reasonable Degree of Thermal Comfort - every decent home must have heating which is energy efficient and effective insulation
Significant government funding from the public purse has been mobilised to improve kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems in order to meet the aforementioned requirements.

Eric & Treby: Will EastendHomes meet the Decent Homes deadline?

The critical issue for EastendHomes tenants is whether or not all homes on the estate will meet the decent homes standard by 31st December as required by gover - and if not, why not. 

On the Eric & Treby Estate:
  • kitchen and bathroom refurbishment should take about 4 weeks to complete
  • the plan is to complete all works to the inside of people's homes by 31st March 2011 (ie 3 months after the deadline which was signalled 10 years ago).
Consider these points:
  • Despite misleading statements which have been made by EastendHomes managers from time to time, updating of kitchens and bathrooms does NOT require planning permission, could have been done at any time and should have been done before the due date.
  • Delivery of decent homes by the due date was always required irrespective of anything that got decided about the regeneration work.
  • The contract for updating the kitchens and bathrooms on the Eric & Treby Estate is being undertaken by Mullaley (ie not Telford Homes) 
  • The decent homes standard work is completely independent of all the regeneration work being undertaken by Telford Homes plc.  
Responsive Maintenance Contract

In August, EastendHomes has tendered a four yearcontract for General Building Maintenance, Responsive Repairs and Out-of-Hours Emergency Works but to date does not have a shortlist of possible contractors. 

Performance of this contract MUST meet the Home Standard for responsive maintenance.

This is what the EastendHomes tender document says about service delivery and performance standards.

The Service Provider must be multi-trade with the capacity to manage a range of works including.
  • responsive, cyclical and planned maintenance including plumbing; roofing; windows & glazing; carpentry; joinery; electrical services; mechanical services; groundworks; brickwork; masonry; ironmongery; metalwork; painting & decorating; specialist treatments; to occupied and unoccupied properties, common areas and estates.
  • Out-of-Hours Emergency service - ie specified emergency responsive repairs outside normal working hours.
The Service Provider will provide:
  • a comprehensive service during normal (as specified below) working hours.
  • an Out-of-Hours Emergency service (24hrs/day, 365 days/year, attendance within 1 hour completion within and 24 hours) for specified emergency responsive repairs outside normal working hours.
  • regular performance monitoring data (weekly job progress reports and performance information) and additional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • an appointment system with two hour "slots"
  • early morning, early evening and Saturday morning appointments.
  • a service which meets good practice as set out by Regulatory bodies such as the TSA and compares favourably to national and local performance.

Leaseholders MUST be consulted before this contract is let.

EastendHomes are also asking for tenants to be involved in and to assist with the quality assessment of the shortlisted building firms.

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