As the UK’s biggest provider of cosmetic repair services to the construction industry, we were largely in agreement with the findings of a report last week from strategy consultancy, Credo, which identified a potential further saving for the social housing sector of £1.8 billion through outsourcing maintenance work.
Our only caveat is that the figure might be even higher if everyone recognized the value of repair over replacement.
The report compiled on behalf of contractor, Morrison, also acknowledged that ‘after shocks’ from the demise of Rok and Connaught continue to cloud confidence, leading to RSLs hedging their bets by spreading work out amongst a greater number of companies. Research also indicated that spending in the sector was so far largely unaffected by Government cost cutting, while providers of affordable housing are looking for more collaborative ways of working.
Dineshi Ramesh, principal consultant for Credo, said: “The untapped £2 billion opportunity in outsourcing social housing is undeniable. But in recent times local authorities and housing associations have shown greater caution in moving to bolder forms of outsourcing, this is an understandable but, we think, temporary effect.
“As their financial situation becomes clearer, housing managers and chief executives can turn their attention to how they can get a slice of the savings offered by outsourcing.”
Guy Wakeley, chief executive of Morrison, added: “While social housing has remained relatively untouched by cost cutting to date, largely as a result of some expenditure such as reactive maintenance being considered non-discretionary, there remains a considerable need to drive for savings from housing providers.
“The sector has to respond to this demand, but it must be done in the right way; squeezing prices is not a sustainable option and will only lead to poor quality services which are likely to fail.”
“I believe (collaborative working) is a positive change for the sector, as it will help drive increased creativity by service providers who are looking to secure new contracts and extensions, and ultimately drive service levels for clients and residents.
“The social housing sector can no longer afford to use the same old methods – it must become more flexible if it is to make the savings it needs whilst meeting increased demand.”
Plastic Surgeon of course concurs with the need for contractors, as well as social housing clients, to adopt new methods of working: with our 100 plus, regionally based finishers providing an unparalleled repair service for maintenance as well as snagging work.
What our unique repair methods do is make it possible to save components such as doors, windows, sinks, baths, basins, shower trays and other products from having to be replaced.
In many cases the finisher will complete the task in far less time than it would take to replace fixtures, while also saving significant waste from having to go to landfill. External to the building, we can also repair or recoat masonry to conceal damage and remove graffiti. Some of the finishers are even equipped to polish relatively deep scratches out of glass – a problem RSLs often face in areas such as communal entranceways.
Beyond this, Plastic Surgeon’s bespoke VisibilITy software, which links feedback from the finisher’s palm pilots with the company’s data base, offers customers the chance to view the tonnages of waste saved; and incorporate it into their own sustainability reporting. Most significantly, our records indicate that clients on average save £3 for every £1 they spend with us.
With home ownership financially out of reach for large sections of the population, demands are only likely to increase for the social housing sector, but we at Plastic Surgeon are ideally qualified to help stretch the budgets: saving on maintenance to release money for new building.
Plastic Surgeon is the UK’s market leading repair expert for social housing associations and public sector housing.
Specialising in Social Housing Maintenance and Repairs, Plastic Surgeon can restore almost any damaged interior or exterior surface for housing associations across the UK.