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Click the link below to access the Home Improvements 2013 Booklet-
The Improvements Team, (Asset and Partnering), are responsible for all of the major improvements that are carried out on Herefordshire Housing properties.
In addition to the completion of the major improvements, we also carry out stock condition surveys, energy performance certificates and asbestos surveys. This helps to guarantee that we have up-to-date information about our properties and ensures we carry out the necessary improvements safely and in accordance with the relevant legislation.
To manage the work that we do, we have produced a detailed Asset Management Strategy. This document sets out how we decide which homes have improvements carried out and what type of improvements to ensure that the properties meet local and national standards.
We currently have in excess of 5,800 homes and 2000 garages that we help to maintain. To do this we use a number of Building Contractors to complete the work. These are:
In-House Improvement Team. We have a number of dedicated trade teams that undertake approximately 40% of the annual improvement programme works. This includes installing all of the new kitchens, bathrooms, electrical re-wires, boiler replacements and new central heating systems to our properties. In addition our in-house team also install all minor adaptations up to a maximum value of £500. This has included, grab rails, access ramps, etc.
External Contractors. We also use external contractors to ensure that the improvement programme is completed each year and they are normally used to complete the large one off improvement projects. For example, they install insulation to improve the energy efficiency of our properties and they complete external works such as, re-roofing, tarmacing of garage forecourts and paths.
During financial year 2011/2012 we again spent nearly 10 million pounds improving the properties. The improvements that have been completed include installing kitchens, bathrooms and re-wiring, new central heating systems and boiler only replacements. In addition to this, we have improved the fire safety of our communal areas by installing fire doors to flats and installed fire detection systems, completed a major refurbishment to the Maisonette blocks to Hereford and completed the external refurbishment of River View flats Ross.
We also commenced works to a number of properties that had suffered major structural issues. These were at 6 and 8 Lloyd Street Hereford and Disraeli Court Hereford a large Sheltered Housing Scheme.
Fire Safety works to Communal stairwells
We have completed improvements to the communal areas of flats over the past year installing fire and smoke detectors which will detect if there is a fire and sound alarms within the flats. In addition to this we have installed fire doors to the front entrance of each flat and placed fire safety notices in communal walkways.
The refurbishment of the eight blocks in Hereford was completed in February 2012. The project was undertaken by Bullock Construction Ltd. and cost in excess of six million pounds. The work undertaken has changed the buildings from being run down into modern well equipped homes.
The works included installing a new pitched roof, external rendered wall insulation system, new windows and doors and environmental improvements to the external areas. We had a very successful resident steering group that assisted both us and Bullock with the design decisions right from the start of the works.
River View Flats Ross estate refurbishment
Our Neighbourhood Officers worked closely with the residents of River View flats to design new external communal areas. The work which was completed in February of this year and was undertaken by Thomas Vale, cost in excess of four hundred thousand pounds. The work that has been undertaken has transformed the external areas and has included building new drying and sitting areas, landscaping and security measures.
6 and 8 Lloyd Street Hereford refurbishment
These two properties suffered major structural issues which resulted in both properties being unoccupied for many years. When first built the properties were built over poor ground and over the years this caused the properties to subside with some of the internal floors dropping by over 150mm across their width.
The work which has been undertaken by Redwell Builder Ltd took approximately
nine months to complete, but the work that has been undertaken has ensured that
we have been able to let both properties to local residents.
The proposed improvement programme for 2012-2013 has now been agreed. However, all work is subject to a detailed survey and only work that is necessary will be completed.
All residents including leaseholders have received a Home Improvements 2013 Booklet detailing which properties we intend to work on, together with the type of improvement planned for that property.
If you would like to see if your home is included in the improvement programme you can view a copy of the Home Improvements booklet.
To complete the works we use a variety of contractors, both internally and externally.
In-house team – over the past year we agreed to undertake all of the major internal improvements using our own in-house team. This work includes installing new kitchens, bathrooms, electrical rewires, full heating systems, boiler only replacements and minor adaptations. This is now all undertaken by our own dedicated in-house trade teams. By doing this it allows us to control the work and reduce costs ensuring increased value for money.
External Contractor Thomas Vale – they undertake external improvements to our estates and garage sites, such as, tarmacing, constructing drying areas, security installations, etc. This year’s two major projects are at Meadow Close Hereford where the area around the flats will have new drying areas, paths and a new play area and Nursery Road Ross where we will re-tarmac footpaths, improve the drying areas and erect fencing.
Thomas Vale has also been appointed to complete the energy efficiency measures to properties in the Newton Farm area. This work involves fitting an external rendered insulation system to the outside walls, re-roofing and installing new windows. Internally we will install a new ventilation system that will help reduce condensation problems. The total cost of this project will be in excess of 3.4 million pounds, however, we have secured an energy grant from Scottish and Southern to the value of 1.4 million pounds, meaning that Herefordshire Housing will contribute around two million pounds towards these energy efficiency measures
External Contractor E G Carter– E G Carter have been appointed to complete the refurbishment to Disraeli Court Hereford. Disraeli Court suffered major structural issues due to it being constructed on poor ground and it has been empty for several years. The first phase was to make the property structurally sound and this was done last year. This year, E G Carter will undertake the refurbishment of the internal areas replacing kitchens, bathroom, heating systems, plaster repairs and decoration, etc. The property should be ready for re-letting early in 2013.
Old factory spoil under the property made up of broken clay pots and jam jars
Piles screwed through debris and brackets now holding the foundations
Energy Efficient Heating Systems
To date we have installed over 140 energy efficient heating systems to properties where there is no mains gas available. This will continue this financial year as we plan to install a further sixty six heating systems to properties in rural areas. The choices for tenants are either an air source heat pump installation with radiators or electric storage heaters with solar hot water panels fitted to the roof. To increase value for money we have also secured a fifty thousand pound grant towards this project which is through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment.
External Contractor Ian Williams – this is the third year of using Ian Williams to complete the cyclical painting of the properties. Their work includes undertaking all of the pre-decoration repairs and then completing the external painting. Ian Williams are using local painting trades colleagues to undertake the work and this includes the appointment of a number of apprentices from Herefordshire.
It is the responsibility of the Local Authority to adapt homes within the County of Herefordshire for disabled use. However, we have made a promise that we will undertake certain works up to a value of two thousand pounds when requested by our residents.
We have a comprehensive Aids and Adaptation policy. Wherever possible we will install disability Aids and carry out Disability Adaptations, such as grab rails, over the bath showers, stair lifts, etc. to enable tenants to live independently in their homes.
Following a service review consultation with our residents in February, we agreed to change our adaptation policy when a large adaptation is requested, for example, walk in showers. We agreed that where a large adaptation was requested to a first floor flat or large family home that was currently being under occupied that the request would be unlikely to be successful. We wish to make full use of our housing stock and it is possible that there is a suitably adapted property locally that you could move to rather than us spending money adapting a home that is not suitable. Our Neighbourhood Officers will assist you with finding a suitable home and will help you through this transition.
For more information please view a copy of our Aids and Adaptations Leaflet.
By improving our properties we have ensured that our properties have met the decent homes standard. The standard states that: "A Decent Home is one which is wind and weather tight, warm and has modern facilities". This is a minimum standard that the Government required all Local Authorities and Housing Associations to meet to ensure that our properties meet this minimum standard and over the past five years we have concentrated on undertaking improvements to meet this standard.
When programming the next years improvement programme we still use the decent homes criteria to ensure that our properties continue to meet the standard, however, we have recently agreed a Decent Homes Plus standard which takes us beyond the minimum government standard.
This new “Plus” standard details the additional benefits that we will incorporate into the improvements that will be to the benefit of our tenants. For example, when we re-roof your home we will ensure that the loft insulation is topped up to a minimum level of 300mm (One Foot).
If you would like to know more about our Decent Homes Standard Plus standard you can view our Decent Homes Standard Plus leaflet.
We have an Asset Management Strategy which sets out how we will improve the energy efficiency of our properties and which is designed to reduce fuel poverty by ensuring that your homes are both warm and comfortable to live in and cheap to heat. The definition of fuel poverty is where:
“The Household needs to spend more that 10% of its income on all fuel use and to heat the home to an adequate standard of warmth”
To help reduce fuel poverty we have carried out various improvement works. For example, where mains gas is available we have installed highly efficient gas condensing boilers and fitted thermostatic radiator valves, we have installed loft and cavity insulation to improve the level of insulation to homes all to help reduce heating costs. We have also fitted external insulation to some of our pre-cast concrete homes which helps to improve both the insulation level but also protects the concrete from deterioration.
In addition to this over the last year where our properties are situated in rural areas and where mains gas is not available, we have been trialing various energy efficient heating systems. From this we have now agreed to offer two types of energy efficient heating systems:
Economy seven with solar hot water. New electrical storage heaters are both modern and efficient and make the best use of the Economy electricity rates. In addition to this where the property is in a suitable position, i.e. south/south westerly facing, then we will investigate the installation of roof mounted solar thermal panels to help heat the hot water.
Air source heat pumps. This uses a heat exchange system, which looks very similar to an air conditioning unit and works using the same principles as those used for refrigeration. The unit is placed outside of the property to heat water which is then pumped throughout the property through a radiator system.
Air Source Heat Exchanger Outside a property
We have a comprehensive Asbestos Data base that contains approximately four thousand asbestos inspections which have been carried out on our housing stock. This information is used to inform the contractors that complete improvement works on the properties ensuring that they and our residents are kept safe.
Following an inspection we notify residents of the results of the testing so that everyone is aware of the location of any asbestos products and the condition that they are in. If the asbestos products are damaged we will normally remove them, however, they can be encapsulated by painting which ensures that the asbestos is protected and stops the asbestos fibres breaking away.
You can view a copy of our Asbsetos Leaflet.
The improvement work that we carry out involves replacing complete building elements, such as, replacing the kitchen, fitting a new central heating system, etc. To give value for money, we will try and link the various work elements together, so we often install a new kitchen and bathroom and complete the electrical re-wire at the same time.
We have a number of choices that we offer residents when completing various improvements. These choices have been chosen by our customers. The choices offered are to the kitchen, bathroom and external door improvements. Following a survey, if your home requires an improvement you will be shown the choices available to you.
We have a number of information leaflets which indicate the timescale for completing the works, that you can expect when we are working in your home, how we supervise and inspect the works, etc.
If you would like to know more about specific improvements please visit our leaflets section.
We or our appointed contractor will contact residents before we commence any improvement works to inform you of the proposed improvement. They will discuss with you the choices available and how the work will be carried out. Any queries you may have can be discussed at this time. Following this visit you will be notified of the date for starting the improvement.
Whilst the work is being completed we expect our contractors to manage the work and ensure that it is completed to both your expectations and ours. Our own Surveyors will also carry out inspections as the work proceeds and we have our own Resident Liaison Officer who will assist you with any queries that you have.
On completion of the improvement work our Surveyor will inspect the works with the contractor to ensure that the work matches the agreed standards. Residents will also be asked for their opinion by completing an Improvement questionnaire which we use to improve the service we give to you.
Where external estate improvements are undertaken we will consult with you to establish your requirements and wherever possible and where budgets allow, these will be incorporated within the improvement scheme for your estate. If you would like to be involved with these consultations or would like to inform us of any issues on your estate please contact your Neighbourhood Officer and join in with the estate inspections that are undertaken.
Resident Inspectors are volunteer tenants who work with Herefordshire Housing to give a tenants eye view of the improvement work offered by Herefordshire Housing and its contractors
Through a process of face to face surveys with tenants (who have recently had works carried out), site visits during the works and attending contract meetings, Resident Inspectors collate these findings, which are then formed into a report which is presented at the quarterly contract monitoring meeting, recommendations are discussed and where possible implemented.
Areas where Resident Inspector recommendations have been implemented:
Some of our Resident Inspectors:
Sandra Lewis, Richard Johnston, Margaret Valleley and June Phillips
The contractor will leave both day time and out of hour emergency telephone numbers with you while the work is being carried out. If you have any problems then it is those numbers that you will need to ring first. However, you may also contact us via our on-line form or call our Contact Centre on 0300 777 4321
If you have a responsive repair that you wish to report that is not to do with the improvement works, you will again need to contact our Contact Centre 0300 777 4321 orvia our online form.
From time to time Herefordshire Housing will need to carry out major works to the block in which your property is situated. In accordance with your Lease you will have to contribute towards the costs of these works. For more information, please view Information Sheet 5: Major works and Improvements.
Our office opening times:
City Centre & South Wye Office:
|Where you can find us|
Herefordshire Housing Ltd.
Hereford, HR1 1LN.
Tel. 0300 777 4321
Fax. 01432 384198
City Centre Office:
84-86 Widemarsh Street,
Hereford, HR4 9HG.
Tel. 01432 346070
Fax. 01432 346089
South Wye Office:
Jubilee Court Community Facility
Kilvert Road, Newton Farm,
Hereford, HR2 7FE.
Tel. 01432 346091
Fax. 01432 379260