Andium powers ahead – The Decent Homes standard
Powering ahead and making impressive progress with a programme geared to achieving the Decent Homes Standard, Andium Homes in Jersey inherited a huge housing maintenance backlog of properties previously owned by the States of Jersey Housing Department, as a result of years of underinvestment.
Andium Homes is a wholly state-owned, but independent company with its own board of directors and was incorporated in July 2014.
Through a combination of planned maintenance and capital programme investment, significant progress has been made over the subsequent three year period to raise the standard of accommodation and meet the minimum requirements set by the Decent Homes Standard.
Stephen Lilley, Head of Property Maintenance at Andium Homes said: “Our 2014 Strategic Business Plan set a target of 10 years to achieve 100% Decent Homes compliance across our portfolio of 4,600 properties.
“This timeframe has now been reduced to six years with a revised deadline of the end of 2020. We are currently on programme to achieve this, but need to maintain focus for the next 2 1/2 years in order to ensure success.”
Principal criteria for meeting the Decent Homes Standard are that each property: meets the current statutory minimum standard for housing; is in a reasonable state of repair; has reasonably modern facilities and services and provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.
Stephen Lilley said: “We have a small dedicated Operations Team which delivers our maintenance and capital programme work. Our organisation as a whole is very lean and significantly smaller than a comparable organisation from the UK with a similar-sized property portfolio.
“We have an ongoing programme of planned maintenance which helps to meet the Decent Homes Standard, including: replacement kitchens and replacement bathrooms, replacement windows and doors and cavity/external/internal wall insulation.
“Other improvements include roof covering replacements (and thermal upgrades), radon surveys, electric supply and heating system upgrades, periodic test and replacement of electrical installations and smoke detectors.”
Andium Homes offers a 24/7 response repair service to all of their clients for general building and plumbing and electrical repairs, some of which contribute to Decent Homes Standard compliance.
When each property is vacated, Andium Homes undertake a full electrical test/inspection and necessary refurbishment works to meet their own Andium Void Standard.
This helps to capture any previous Decent Homes Standard work refusals by outgoing tenants. Andium Homes’ response repair and void contracts are now in their second year, and include a commitment to deliver a defined element of social value.
Stephen Lilley said: “At the end of year 1 we identified an opportunity for each of our four contractors to join forces and undertake a garage conversion for one of our clients with a seriously ill son. The work has recently been completed and allows the teenager to live on the ground floor of the property with the new bedroom and wet room we created.
“Once we achieve the 100% DHS target at the end of 2020, we will need to focus on the subsequent failures over time and ensure that these are programmed in advance, in order to maintain 100% compliance.
“We have a major capital programme which will see 2,000 new homes created by the end of 2024, which will enlarge our current portfolio by more than 40%.”
Recently completed Decent Homes Standard projects by Andium Homes include:
La Grande Piece, St Peters – cavity wall insulation
In 2016 Andium Homes sought specialist advice, surveys and feasibility reports to rectify slumped foam cavity wall insulation issues by cleaning the cavities and re-insulating with resin bonded graphite coated insulation beads. This achieves an average U-value of 0.33 (based on a 65mm cavity) and is far superior to the equivalent blown fibre insulation with a u-value of 0.42.
Kitchen and bathroom replacement programme
In the coming five years, Andium Homes will be installing approximately 2,400 kitchens and 2,200 bathrooms as part of its commitment to the Decent Homes Standard and new build programme.
Andium Homes has recently procured and competitively tendered new five year contracts, which have secured better value for money and new opportunities for their clients.
Andium Homes involved a sub-committee from their Tenants Forum, RADAR, which has been actively involved with the procurement process. RADAR were also represented at the contractor interviews and were solely responsible for choosing the final kitchen finish, using feedback from a wider group of clients following a Facebook vote.
Pat Cameron, Chair of RADAR, said: “Representatives of RADAR are pleased to have been involved in this successful procurement process. Working in partnership with Andium, we’ve helped secure modern high specification kitchen and bathrooms. Being able to select a variety of tiles, handles, flooring and worktops will help fellow residents personalise their new kitchens.”
Clos Des Sables – full refurbishment
In 2013 Andium Homes commissioned a structural survey of 163 – 170 Clos Du Sables (a 1960’s-built maisonette block as part of a concrete degradation remedial programme.
The survey revealed that a number of issues with the building did not meet the Andium and Decent Homes Standard.
Andium Homes carried out multiple works to bring the property up to standard, including: structural repairs; over-cladding of the property with a low maintenance insulated render cladding system; replacement of all windows, doors and curtain walling; rewiring and the installation of new roof insulation and waterproof covering.
Further improvements included: fire safety upgrades; replacement communal LED lighting; re-plumbing of the property, including new tank and cylinder installations, and replacement kitchens and bathrooms.
10 Raleigh Avenue – full refurbishment
10 Raleigh Avenue is a mid-19th century semi-detached house incorporating five flats. The building is currently registered as a ‘Listed Building Grade 3′.
Andium Homes carried out the following works to bring the property up to standard: upgrading of single glazed windows; improved loft insulation; thermal lining of external walls; works to reduce the risk of condensation and upgrade of electrical infrastructure and protection.
Further works included replacement roof covering and insulation, new kitchens and bathrooms, a new fire alarm and smoke detection system and emergency lighting.
2 Clos De L’Eglise – garage conversion for medical purposes
This conversion was a collaboration between Andium Homes and their contractor partners AFM, JMEC, A1 and Calton.
All of the above carried out this work at nil cost to Andium Homes or the client, as part of their 2016 social value contribution under their current contracts.
The client was delighted with the works and expressed her thanks to everyone involved by saying “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”