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New research to demonstrate cost-effectiveness of longer-lasting components in affordable housing

14 April 2016
A model of a house on a construction site plan

LSBU's Life-Cycle Components (LCC) project will test and develop a new approach to the selection of building components in new-build and refurbished housing

London South Bank University (LSBU) has partnered with a cross-sector industry consortium to develop a new approach to the selection of building components – from taps and boilers to windows and doors – in the affordable housing sector.

The Government has asked UK housing associations to reduce costs, placing pressure on housing providers to cut expenditure without compromising quality. In this climate, many of the components commonly used in new-build housing and refurbishments are basic contract items with no emphasis placed on longevity. The short lifespan of these components leads to frequent maintenance call-outs, which is both costly to housing providers and also a top cause of resident dissatisfaction.

LSBU will now work with a consortium comprising local authorities, housing authorities, suppliers, contractors, consultants and end-users on a research project aiming to demonstrate that investing in components with a proven longer life-cycle, in new-build and refurbished houses, will save providers money.

LSBU’s Life-Cycle Components Project (LCC) intends to establish a robust business case for investing in these components, considering a range of issues, including:

  • Installation costs
  • Enhancing quality
  • Improving functionality
  • Reducing repair call-outs
  • Increasing resident and landlord satisfaction
  • Reducing carbon footprint

The LCC research will be overseen by a ‘Value for Money’ working group that includes Wates, the PML Group, local authorities, housing associations, key suppliers and other project partners.

LSBU will begin a pilot study for the research project in conjunction with: Affinity Sutton; London Borough of Barking and Dagenham; Barnet Homes; Basildon Council; Genesis; Guinness Partnership; London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham; Moat; Notting Hill Housing Trust; Octavia Housing; Peabody Trust; Providence Row; Raven Housing Trust; Stevenage Council and Sutton Council.

“We believe that these reliable and cost-effective life-cycle components have the potential to revolutionise affordable housing provision and the role of supply chains. Initial purchase costs should not be the only important factor in building component procurement decisions; the costs over the life-cycle of the parts ought to be considered too. If proven successful this model could help housing providers across all sectors build more smartly and sustainably,” said Dr Alex Opoku, LSBU Project Lead and Director of LSBU’s Centre for Sustainability and Resilient Infrastructure & Communities.

Jeremy Kape, Director of Property Investment, Affinity Sutton, commented: “The housing sector needs to meet the escalating needs of a growing population. It is more vital than ever that we unite to find solutions that ensure people’s happiness and secure their future prosperity. Smart technology and research like the LCC project are critical to solving the sector’s future challenges.”

LSBU is seeking additional housing providers to participate in the study. For more information on joining the project please contact Evelina Nosirevaite at LSBU’s Research, Enterprise & Innovation Department, reibusiness@lsbu.ac.uk

 
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