Wates Living Space continued to grow in 2017, establishing its position as one of the UK’s leading planned and responsive maintenance providers for social landlords.
The business now maintains in excess of 500,000 homes, achieving excellent customer satisfaction levels across its 63 housing association and local authority customers. This includes the largest housing maintenance contract in the UK with Birmingham City Council, where a 260-strong Wates workforce is delivering housing maintenance and repairs across over 31,000 properties in West Central and East Birmingham. When the contract completed its first year of activity in April 2017, Living Space had spent £7.8m with small businesses in the city, with 44 of those companies situated within a 20-mile radius of Birmingham, generating £12.7m in economic benefit for the local economy.
Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017, the business reaffirmed its commitment to supporting our customers by mobilising rapidly to identify and install fire safety measures across towers in Manchester, London and Birmingham. This ensured that residents can feel safe and secure in their homes.
The business also made a substantial contribution to local economies up and down the country through its engagement of local supply chains and social enterprise partners. Social enterprises are organisations with a profit-for-purpose ethos and in Cardiff, where Wates Living Space is delivering a £3m roofing contract across 193 properties on behalf of the City Council, the business launched a campaign in July 2017 calling for local businesses to follow its lead in working with social enterprises as part of their supply chain.
To advance this aim, the business also held a series of ‘Seeing is Believing’ tours across major UK cities. This provided an excellent opportunity for the business to demonstrate to its customers and partners the difference that social enterprises can make to some of the most vulnerable members of society. The business is committed to continuing to advance this agenda in 2018 and is targeting a minimum of £1.1m spent with social enterprises.
Living Space was appointed to deliver a number of new contracts in 2017 including maintenance programmes for Sheffield City Council, The Guinness Partnership in London, Notting Hill Housing Trust, and Your Housing Group. However, the business also celebrated securing further works with existing customers such as whg and Town and Country Housing Group, reflecting the confidence and trust that its customers have in our people.
The business continues to target further improvements in 2018, supported by a £2m investment in training its people and retaining talent, in addition to recruiting to its expanding team to ensure the continued delivery of excellent service to new and existing customers.
In 2018 the business will continue to be driven by a focus on the consistent delivery of excellent service across all contracts, in addition to being a force for good by improving people’s homes. WLS will continue to be a fulfilling and nurturing place of work and by investing in the communities where it operates to improve the lives of individuals across the country.
TAMWORTH BOROUGH COUNCIL
Tamworth Borough Council appointed Wates Living Space in March 2017 to deliver a £21m social housing repairs and investment contract which includes the delivery of responsive repairs, planned works, voids and gas servicing across over 4,000 properties. The team operates from co-located offices with the council, Dodds and Local Run. This helps to forge strong working relationships and ensure the quick resolution of issues as they arise.
To date, the team has delivered over 14,000 responsive repairs, brought over 280 void properties back into use, undertaken 3,777 gas services, replaced 158 boilers, installed 204 new kitchens and 179 bathrooms and completed 108 aids and adaptations.
The team has also committed to investing in Tamworth by delivering a successful community project to revitalise the garden of a sheltered accommodation complex, in addition to delivering a workshop for elderly residents to raise awareness of loan sharks and illegal money lending. Eight long-term unemployed adults from the local area also passed through our Building Futures construction skills and employability programme, with two participants gaining full time employment on the contract as a result.
ONE MANCHESTER FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT WORKS
Wates Living Space embarked on an emergency works contract to remove and replace Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from high rise blocks across 13 high rise residential tower blocks for One Manchester in November 2017.
This 12 month programme has included working closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Homes and Communities Agency, the Greater Manchester Taskforce, building control, planning and independent fire experts to ensure that works were completed quickly, safely and in accordance with current guidance and regulations.
The team’s primary concern throughout the works was the safety and security of residents living in the high-rise blocks. This included holding regular resident meetings to provide information and peace of mind to those affected.
LONDON BOROUGH OF BRENT
“The Wates team is very approachable and their commitment to giving back to the community is outstanding. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work closely with them over the past year to deliver some really worthwhile projects for Brent residents.”
Wates Living Space is Brent Housing Management’s delivery partner on its 10-year asset management contract to provide a fully-integrated repairs, capital works, new build and major adaptations service across over 13,000 homes, including leaseholders. This £180m programme includes responsive repairs, major voids, major capital works encompassing window and door replacements, kitchen and bathroom replacements, external repairs and improvements, structural works, fire protection, aids and adaptations.
The mobilisation of this contract saw the team successfully manage the TUPE transfer of over 50 personnel from five separate service contractors and co-locate the service from the client’s offices in the heart of the borough. This has streamlined management across all work streams, improved communication, removed duplication and promoted a ‘one team’ approach. As a result, the average repairs time has almost halved from 10 to 6.32 days, calls to the contact centre have been reduced from 8,000 to 5,000 and first time fix rates have increased to above 90%.
By using information from repairs jobs, the team has also positively impacted the lifetime of assets by off-setting repairs costs against planned work. Together with the simplification and streamlining of our processes, this will provide savings of £1m a year and investment of an additional £1m a year into the local community, which will deliver an extra £20million benefit for Brent over the 10 year period.
Social value created by Wates Living Space’s presence in the borough includes supporting 24 local people into sustainable employment and training opportunities, supporting 200 local students with educational activities, employing four apprentices to support the delivery team, spending £5.3m with local small businesses and investing £58,154 into local charities and community causes such as Sufra London Community Food Bank & Kitchen which has been brought back into use through works delivered by Living Space and now provides emergency food aid to more than 3,000 people across the borough.