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Repair to prepare for housing crisis

Repair to prepare for housing crisis

Repair to prepare for housing crisis

With the end of each year comes the inevitable review, by any business, of successes enjoyed in the past and, of course, plans for the future. At Plastic Surgeon, we are no different; and can reveal that during a buoyant year we undertook 77,284 repairs: our top 10 categories covering the most common construction items to be found in any property across the country.

Which leads us also to report that our repair expertise is helping bring empty homes back into use, and quickly. Certainly with the current housing situation, perhaps our only chance to cover the housing shortage is to get a move on repairing our estimated 920,000 void properties.

Planning laws have already been relaxed to allow change of use for commercial premises into domestic residences, so these too will likely need companies like ours involved in their conversion as a far more cost effective alternative to demolition and rebuild. Plus there are an estimated 300,000 flats above shops, just in England, standing empty, that we could help make habitable once more.

Interestingly, a recent survey by charity Empty Homes showed Lancashire had the highest percentage of vacant dwellings – a shocking one in 20. Thanks to John Prescott’s well-intentioned Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder programme – intended to revitalize areas – swathes of the country’s homes have been lost. In Accrington, which was formerly a major hub of the North’s cotton and textile industry, there are rows and rows of boarded up terraced housing – 200 empty homes in all. Anyone unfamiliar with the area would be forgiven for mistaking the wasteland a result of war or natural disaster.

But although the scene looks bleak now, these streets could soon be thronged with families again as a £10million project to revive the area, which will see these homes given a comprehensive makeover, is getting under way.

So, how can our Finishers help? We think our repair statistics, from last year alone, speak for themselves: we repaired 14,894 internal doors, 8,901 windows and 6,235 worktops, as well as 6,168 external doors, 4,739 fascias and 4,444 cills. Additionally, our Finishers undertook repair work to 4,220 cupboards, 3,816 baths and 3,237 stone cills – while 2,968 cupboard doors also benefitted from our expertise.

Councils and housing associations are increasingly calling on our to help renovate and refurbish older properties’ fixtures and fittings. To name just a couple, we have a three-year contract with Edinburgh City Council to re-enamel all the old baths in its properties; while for New Charter Housing Trust, we are repairing internal and external doors, work-surfaces, kitchen units, window frames and bathroom suites, in both void and occupied properties.

In an era of dire housing shortage, with development still suppressed and many social factors compounding the problem, then the repair services we offer at Plastic Surgeon will likely become even more important in helping bring properties back into use quickly, and at low cost.