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Maximise your chances of successful bids for Housing Association upgrades and retrofit funds

Housing Association costs are rising faster than inflation, according to new research commissioned by the National Housing Federation*.

Particularly badly hit are:

  • Construction costs where inflation accelerated to 9.6% in June 2022
  • Repair and maintenance prices with annual price increases over 2021 and 2022, peaking in April 2022 at 16.8% and still high in July, at 14%
  • The cost of new housing has also risen quickly, with inflation at 12.3% in June 2022

As NHF Chief Executive, Kate Henderson, commented, “This report demonstrates the huge financial pressures Housing Associations are currently facing with the cost of repairs, materials and building new homes already rising well above inflation…”

She added, “This is likely to worsen over the coming months, feeding through to all areas of spend and is on top of the pressures of building safety costs and the costs of retrofitting homes. Housing Associations must ensure they can continue to maintain their homes and provide vital services to residents in years ahead.”

Housing Associations must get to grips with their housing stock and asset data in order to make accurate plans in terms of costs and timelines and to successfully bid for funding opportunities.

Funding for upgrades to existing homes

The BEIS Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund second wave is due to open for applications this month (September 2022). Organisations including Housing Associations, Registered Charities, Local Authorities and Consortia can apply for the funding which is aimed primarily at improving social housing currently below EPC C. 

For major repairs to existing homes it is possible for Housing Providers to obtain funding under the Affordable Homes Programme but only in exceptional circumstances, for example a charity running alms houses where the charity cannot cover the cost of the works itself

Accurate data at the heart of successful funding bids

Accurate data on housing assets is an essential pre-requisite for applications for repairs and improvements to existing homes, including detailed information on energy efficiency modelling pre- and post-retrofits, and explanations of how improvements will meet the fabric first initiative to achieve at least the minimum energy efficiency ratings required.

Integrator Housing Solutions’ asset management software Integrator Plus and its complementary Energy Toolkit are an invaluable tool when completing bid tenders, allowing you to run reports on areas such as plans of required works including key project milestones, references to the PAS 2035 process, timelines for procurement activity, costings of upgrades, and current and projected EPCs.

Seeking one version of the (data) truth

As National Housing Federation Chief Executive, Kate Henderson, commented in a recent blog, “…asset managers are grappling with some of the biggest challenges facing both our sector and our society. Retrofitting existing stock is also crucial if we’re to make progress towards net-zero…. asset management plays a vital role in the sector’s work to ensure all housing association residents can feel safe in their homes, from essential remediation works to the complex work of implementing new building safety regulations.”

Emma Richman, Director of Operations at Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, emphasised the role of asset management in a blog for NHF, saying, “… it’s never been more important to shine a light on asset management… caring for and improving our homes is proving to be the very thing that we’ve got to get right – on so many levels.”

She added, “…we must maintain our asset base. The sector has to deal with legacy issues with its stock and needs to keep up with an increasing focus on energy efficiency and EPC scores as well as the added requirement to adhere to building safety principles. Good data and customer engagement are the key; listen to your customers, including your leaseholders and be organised with your programmes… we all need to aim towards one version of the truth, to get away from the failings of spreadsheets and to get on track to produce good digital records of all our stock.”

*“Cost inflation for housing associations”, a Cebr report for the National Housing Federation

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