Midlands & East Anglia

Norwich council homes set for higher standards

Hundreds of council homes across Norwich are being improved even further after the local authority successfully completed a key Government target.

Having achieved the Government’s Decent Homes target for 100 per cent decency in all its homes by December 2010, Norwich City Council is now back focusing on its asset management strategy of refurbishing its housing stock to an even better standard for tenants.

Affordable housing contractor Lovell has picked up the major contract to carry out housing repairs and maintenance work for Norwich City Council, filling the void left by the collapse of incumbent Connaught in September.

Under the terms of the new deal, Lovell will provide housing refurbishment, repairs and maintenance.

The contract includes replacing kitchens, bathrooms heating, electrical re-wiring and the installation of new windows and doors, as well carrying out adaptations for the disabled, plus structural and environmental improvements.

Gary Atkins, of Norwich City Council, said on completion of a five-year rolling housing stock survey of part of its 16,000 homes, work was now underway to provide new windows to 2,000 properties; internal doors to 800 homes; 800 kitchen and bathroom refurbishments; 400 homes would undergo re-wiring, and 1,000 gas boilers would be replaced.

He said: “The aim of this particular contract is to concentrate on our asset management strategy and deliver improvements on an individual basis following the successful achievement of the Decent Homes standard last December.”

The structural improvements include upgrading non-traditional built homes, replacement of concrete staircases, ground stabilization works, and carrying out adaptations for the disabled, including the installation of ramps, level access flooring and stair lifts.

Environmentally, the contract includes fitting out of solar panels on homes and other eco-friendly measures.

He said: “Lovell has stepped in and have done a real good job on many fronts, while local sub contractors have also responded well to the demands of the work.

“With a staff of 33 people and an £18 million budget for a council housing stock that covers Norwich boundaries across four miles, we are kept busy.

“However, customer feedback at 96 per cent suggests that we and our contractors are doing the job right.”

Lovell, part of construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall plc, is based locally in Thorpe Road, Norwich.

Norwich City Council has a long history of building and renting affordable homes. Today around 16,000 homes across Norwich are rented from the council.

Around 30% of all homes in Norwich are council properties and roughly 1/3 of council homes were built before 1945.

Specialising in housing maintenance and refurbishment, new-build housing and regeneration development, Lovell has offices throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Council using our experience in housing refurbishment and maintenance work to deliver a high-quality service for residents,” says Lovell regional director Simon Medler.

Lovell has become the nation’s complete housing solutions specialist by combining industry expertise, unrivalled local knowledge and a willingness to think innovatively and ambitiously.

It provides partners with the most comprehensive service in the industry – from the purchase of land to the design and build of new homes, refurbishment of existing homes, and the regeneration of communities – as well as providing a first class maintenance and repair service to keep homes in perfect condition.

It also helps create successful, sustainable mixed tenure neighbourhoods, with services ranging from repairing a leaking tap to refurbishing a resident’s home or building 100 new homes.

For over 30 years Lovell has been working with local authorities and housing associations, helping communities rebuild their identities with confidence and pride.

Lovell was already an industry leader, but has further increased the size and scope of its operations with the recent agreement to take on a number of significant contracts.


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