“Stock Condition Surveys are an essential part of managing and understanding the profile and maintenance needs of any property portfolio. Maddison’s construction experience as building surveyors and their diligent collection and processing of on site data are a winning combination” says Andrew Davidson, Housing Maintenance Manager, Runnymede Borough Council.

Following a successful tender submission, Maddisons were appointed to undertake a 40% internal survey of all houses, bungalows and flats. Addresses were selected from the asset register, supplied by the client, based on architype and geographical area. The sampling process adopted was designed to give a representation of the maintenance requirements of the stock. It was assumed that maintenance requirements would match closely the characteristics of the sample selected, thereby increasing the reliability of the results. The stock, in addition to being broken down into archetype, was further sub-analysed within each archetypal group.

The aim of the survey was to obtain an overall assessment of the condition of the Council’s stock and to develop the computerised property database that has the potential to be used as a management tool for developing short, medium and long term maintenance programmes and strategies.

The following specific requirements were seen as an integral part of the survey:

  • To assess the current condition of the main building elements and components

  • To prioritise a schedule of outstanding repairs and improvement, including any urgent repairs

  • To predict the life expectancy of the main building elements and components based on their condition, including the effects of failure

  • To identify planned maintenance requirements detailed over a 30 year period taking into consideration the Council’s 5 year painting programme

  • To collect the necessary information to enable the Council to establish the energy rating of each property

  • To collect the necessary information to assess properties against the Decent Homes Standard and the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System

  • To identify accommodation built or adapted to mobility or wheelchair standards

  • To identify the likelihood of asbestos based products for further investigation

  • To assess the current condition of the main building elements and components

  • To provide adequate information for funders

Surveys were undertaken using handheld computers and uploaded into ‘Codeman’ software which had been purchased by the client prior to tender.

Validation checks were undertaken throughout the survey, such as:

  • Random quality checks of surveys from site visits

  • Quality checks of survey forms through computerised validation routines

  • Quality checks of surveyor marking, assessment and deviation

  • De-briefing sessions after each day surveying, thereby ensuring accuracy and consistency

  • Validation of survey quantities by running queries in Codeman

In addition to the above, Maddisons undertook to input data derived from past major repair programmes, planned maintenance contracts and void upgrades. This ensured that the overall data was extremely robust and up to date. The essential part of data management is that it is constantly live and reflecting change in the stock profile and management.

The potential advantages of undertaking the stock condition survey were as follows:

  • Knowledge of the physical make up and condition of the housing stock

  • To evaluate the effectiveness of the current repairs and maintenance service

  • It allowed the Council to validate or amend its stance on reinvestment levels

  • To develop the planned maintenance programme and thus improve tenant and landlord relations

  • The ability to use resources more efficiently and to target repair priorities

  • To allow for more accurate planning generally and the formulation of strategic proposals

  • Anticipation of the financial resource requirements, which facilitates appropriate
    financial planning

  • The assessment of, and planning for, stock improvements

  • To support bids for external grant funding

  • The ability to meet statutory and legal objectives

  • The production of objective data and the testing & validation of existing records and data

  • Reporting on Decent Homes failures

With major investment identified in the Council’s business plan for maintenance, modernisation and improvement of its housing stock, the survey identified the current state of repair, together with the future needs. The key output was a 5 and 30 year costed profile of both planned maintenance and repairs to assist Runnymede Borough Council with future planning and appraisals.

The survey has, we believe, met the objectives for which it was planned and provides a sound basis for the Council’s clear commitment to provide modern homes that are cost effective, located in sustainable communities.

Since undertaking the survey, Maddisons have been appointed on an annual basis to update the database in terms of attribute data & cost and also prepare updated costed profiles.

Maddisons have also undertaken stock condition surveys for Slough Borough Council, Thames Valley Housing Association, Bethnal Green & Victoria Park Housing Association and Spitalfields Housing Association.