Stock condition surveys should be used by Associations for managing their assets and for assessing and planning their repair and maintenance programmes.
The amount of stock to be surveyed is dependent on the asset management strategy employed by the Association; however it is important that the Association ensures that sufficient data is collected to enable it to make informed decisions. Ideally a rolling survey of 10 per cent of its stock will be sufficient for an Association that maintains a good stock management system.
Where an Association does not have adequate information on its stock, a 100 per cent survey may be the only way that it can determine its future maintenance requirements. The Association will be expected to document the rationale for the approach adopted, whatever the method of survey selected, and the assumptions which support that approach. It is recommended that an Association carries out a 100 per cent survey of its stock over a reasonable period of time.
A programme and budget for planned maintenance would normally be based on past maintenance history and detailed stock condition surveys and include works such as window replacement, kitchen and bathroom replacement, upgrading fire/ smoke/ heat detection, heating upgrades, mechanical ventilation, electrical rewiring, security recommendations and external environmental improvement works etc.
A programme and budget for cyclical maintenance would normally include, for example, electrical testing, external repainting, legionella control, window servicing, the annual servicing of heating systems, fire alarms, lifts, repairs to fencing and similar items, gutter cleaning and grounds maintenance etc.
Content of the survey
Prior to producing a full survey brief the Association needs to address particular issues, including how information will be stored, the length of time to complete the survey, the future maintenance of data collected and procurement procedures.
It is important that the survey brief is prepared in full, written in clear and concise language, and covers key areas such as:
- the purpose of the survey
- any specific requirements eg level of detail required
- the scope ie is it a sample or 100 per cent survey
- access arrangements (to properties) etc
The stock condition survey should include the following items (where applicable):
- a general building description, location and record of survey addresses
- the area of the building and type of accommodation/ usage/ current occupancy
- a brief history of the building including all recent alterations or additions
- any proposals for future use including remodelling or structural alterations
- landscaping, external buildings and works – existing and recommended
- a coded building component condition ranging from very good to very poor
- the general condition of the structure, the fabric, services, facilities and fittings
- the state of repair and energy efficiency in respect of the Decent Homes Standard
- the presence, type and removal of asbestos products and an asbestos register
- measures required to reduce the incidence of crime related problems
- actions required to comply with the Disability Discrimination Order
- energy conservation measures and the standard to be achieved
- upgrading of existing, or the installation of, fire precaution measures
- alterations and improvements to comply with houses in multiple occupation
- testing for the presence of lead in drinking water
- testing for the presence of radon radioactive gas
- window testrictors fitted and an escape window from the first floor (to meet current Building Regulations)
- low-level glazing fitted with laminated safety glass
- the need for any ‘Structural Adaptations’ to meet tenants’ needs
- a prioritised five year maintenance programme with detailed estimated costs
- a 30 year projected life cycle maintenance spend profile
- the extent and any limitations of the surveys conducted
- existing floor plans and photographic evidence
- the current value of the property
- SAP assessment 2005/2009
(NB: this is not an exhaustive list)
Appointment of a consultant
When appointing a consultant (normally a building surveyor), the written appointment must clearly specify the services to be provided.
The consultant must be provided with the detailed survey brief, the Association’s survey procedures and an agreed method for the collection and presentation of data. The format and content of the survey should be compatible and readily integrated with the Association’s IT systems.
For more information see Procurement.
Further advice on stock surveys can be found in the following publications:
- Stock Condition Surveys: a guide for registered housing landlords. National Housing Federation (3rd edition June 2006)
- Collecting, Managing and Using Housing Stock Information - A Good Practice Guide (Volumes 1, 2 & 3).
NB. Other publications are also available.