Adding value in the affordable housing sectorResearch in the School of The Built Environment and Architecture investigates the viability and methodology of reducing building costs whilst maintaining high quality
LSBU’s research Centre for Sustainability and Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (SaRIC) has partnered with Local Authorities and Housing Associations to develop a life cycle costing approach when it comes to selecting building components in the affordable housing sector.
The Government has asked UK housing associations to reduce costs, placing pressure on the housing sector to cut costs without compromising on quality. Despite improvements in the procurement of maintenance services, maintenance costs continue to rise. By improving the life cycle of components the sector can reduce these costs, as well as reduce the number of maintenance call-outs.
Achieving this has added benefits too: it means less intrusion for residents, which improves satisfaction ratings, and it will also help to minimise associations’ carbon footprint, both of which are important key performance indicators for the sector.
Making informed choices
The project aims at establishing a robust business case for investing in life cycle components in order to provide better value for money for affordable housing providers over a 30 year cycle. It will also consider wider issues such as resident and landlord satisfaction, carbon savings, installation costs and the role of the supply chain.
"We believe that the purchase costs should not be the only importance factor in building component procurement decisions, but also the overall life cycle costs," says Dr Alex Opoku, Director of SaRIC and project leader.
The research project has the potential to make significant changes to the culture of the housing sector procurement processes and the way the sector makes choices about the development and maintenance of new and existing units.
Dr Alex Opoku
Several Housing Associations and Local Authorities have signed up to be part of the pilot study and are now at various stages of the project. Organisations working with LSBU include Barnet Homes, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Basildon Council, Genesis Housing and Peabody.
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