Building Communities Awards 2020
In-House Maintenance Team of the Year Sponsored by J Tomlinson
- WINNER Repair 1st – Stockport Homes
Since 2005, the Stockport Homes Repair 1st team has been raising service standards and improving performance and in 2018/19 they opened a brand new fit for purpose in-house stores facility. In the same year, they repaired and relet 903 empty properties in an average of 11.1 days leading HouseMark to crown them top performer in void turnaround against 144 other ALMOs and Housing Associations. Customer satisfaction is at 98.9% and in 2019 Stockport Homes achieved Investors in People Platinum putting them in the top 1% of employers nationally.
- RUNNER UP Derby Homes
In 2010, the Council made a decision to transfer its DLO to Derby Homes. The in-house team now employs over 200 tradespeople (10% of these are apprentices) delivering a wide range of services to around 13,000 council homes. Savings of over £750,000 have been made through better management of the material supply chain, a bonus and salary review and improved productivity for the out of hours service. Introducing “customer first” initiatives to improve their service has helped to achieve over 99% across all priorities consistently over the past nine years, including customer satisfaction.
- FINALIST Resolve Solutions – Golden Lane Housing
GLH provides housing for tenants with learning disabilities. In 2014/15, a decision was taken to directly employ operatives to deliver a bespoke service which was later branded as Resolve Solutions. Initially, the team just covered the North West & Nottinghamshire but due to its success it is now operating nationally. Needs and preferences of tenants can fluctuate quickly but advisors take time on the phone to get to know the tenants and understand any issues which has helped to achieve their first time fix rate of over 90%. Unique tenant engagement initiatives have resulted in satisfaction rates of 99%.
- FINALIST North West Leicestershire District Council
In 2018, the Council made a decision to develop an in-house maintenance team rather than contracting work out. In the first twelve months, turnover increased by £1.5 million and is set to increase to £3 million during the first full financial year, and their operating surplus is expected to double. The time between tenancies has reduced from an average of 33 days to just 17 days which has reduced void rent losses allowing them to be able to put this money back into the service to keep making improvements which is a benefit to tenants. Satisfaction rates have risen significantly in the first year with an expectation for this momentum to continue.
Community Impact Sponsored by Fortem
- WINNER Novus Property Solutions – Big Five
In 2018 Novus invested £100,000 in CSR through an initiative called the Big Five to celebrate their fifth birthday. The Big Five campaign involved carrying out DIY SOS-style transformations across five locations. These included the creation of a new bereavement suite for parents who have lost new-born babies, a refurbishment of a rehabilitation centre for military veterans suffering from addiction, a brand new community centre to serve as a learning hub for parents and children, the conversion of a derelict house for a vulnerable person and the refurbishment of a Youth Action Project community hub.
- RUNNER UP Robert Woodhead Limited
The number of local students engaged in Robert Woodhead projects runs into many thousands and the number of new local jobs, sustainability and heritage seminars, apprenticeships and work experience placements provided demonstrate that community impact is at the forefront of projects delivered by Robert Woodhead Ltd. In 2019 they applied for National CSR Accreditation and achieved CSR Gold status, recording the highest score ever awarded by the scheme of 92%. The firm supports clients with ambitious community engagement programmes to tackle social deprivation, fuel poverty, and employment/skills deficits.
- FINALIST Aico in the Community Programme
‘Aico in the Community’ was launched in 2018 to help schools, colleges, charities and community organisations to achieve their goals and to help build sustainable futures. The programme focuses on five core areas; Education, Business Enterprise, Environmental Impact, Volunteering and Charity. Workshops and educational sessions are held in schools and at their Centre of Excellence training facility, many of them run voluntarily by Aico staff. All employees are encouraged to take time out of their normal working day to volunteer within communities and in 2018, Aico donated over £85,000 to charities.
- FINALIST whg
As a profit for purpose business, whg delivers a large amount of social value through its core operations and services and spends a proportion of its surpluses on helping customers to live as independently as possible. This includes a range of employment and training support, financial and digital inclusion, as well as health and wellbeing support. In 2018/19 whg generated social value of £41.9m. Developing strong relationships with schools has been one of whg’s key objectives to help increase aspirations and improve educational attainment.
Innovative Product Sponsored by Bamford Doors
- WINNER EnviroVent – The ATMOS® Range
ATMOS® is a new, energy-efficient range of Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) units that have been designed to eradicate the problem of condensation and mould growth, by drawing in filtered and clean air from outside and gently ventilating the home. It can be linked to the innovative AirSens® range of air quality sensors, reacting automatically to control levels of CO2, VOCs or Relative Humidity. As the only PIV unit on the market with the ability to control the ventilation unit via the myenvirovent app, the ATMOS® is ideal for social housing and takes less than 2 hours to install.
- RUNNER UP Nuaire – Faith
The Faith fan is a continuously-running compact and filterless extract fan designed specifically for Social Housing. The small, sleek and quiet fan comes with several sophisticated features, including an intelligent and energy-saving humidity tracker which continually measures the humidity levels in the home and adjusts the fan accordingly. As a further benefit to social housing providers, the daily run monitor records tenants’ operation, providing potentially useful documentation.
- FINALIST ADEY – MagnaClean Atom
Research commissioned by ADEY revealed that 47% of installers say a lack of space has prevented them from fitting an effective magnetic filter, leaving a large number of household heating systems unprotected from the damaging effects of black iron oxide sludge (magnetite). This puts those managing maintenance at risk of escalating unplanned repair costs. ADEY’s new super compact, space-saving MagnaClean Atom has been specifically developed to overcome this issue and can be adopted even in the tightest of spaces and installed in just under two minutes.
- FINALIST Vent-Axia – Lo-Carbon PoziDry Compact Pro
The innovative new Lo-Carbon PoziDry Compact Pro is the ideal solution for combating condensation and mould in problem properties without a loft. The unit has been designed to be as small as possible with multiple inlet and outlet positions allowing it to be installed in the best place every time. The unit has been designed to be the smallest on the market, making it easy to install even in the tiniest apartments. SmartSenseTM technology records usage, energy consumption and filter life to ensure the unit has been used as intended.
Apprentice of the Year Sponsored by Aico
- WINNER Joel Wilson – M&O Building Contractors – Nominated by North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College
Joel started working with M&O as a labourer and soon showed exceptional aptitude for woodwork. Joel accepted the opportunity to start an apprenticeship in site carpentry and his dedication and effort meant he finished the apprenticeship four months early and has now moved on to an advanced apprenticeship. Joel’s college assessor commented that Joel has a fantastic attitude to work and has invested a great deal in his career. He has developed significantly since he started his apprenticeship. At first, he was quiet and unassuming, but he has really blossomed and gained in confidence.
- RUNNER UP Roxy Kern – EEM Ltd – Nominated by J Tomlinson
As a Projects Apprentice, Roxy established herself as someone who can take initiative and work independently to add value to the team and the business. She manages her own meetings and workload, delivering strong measurable outcomes. Roxy has established excellent relationships with members, contractors and other team members. These relationships provide an environment of trust and likeability which encourages further business opportunities which are in line with the company objectives.
- FINALIST Jessica Scott – Rixonway Kitchens
Jessica joined Rixonway as an Apprentice within the General Admin team studying Level 2 Business Admin, but based on her assignment work, she was quickly moved onto the Level 3 qualification. Jess successfully faced many challenges with the project she chose for her final assessment, the reception refurbishment, including managing a budget, juggling stakeholders such as CAD Designers, suppliers, decorators and fitters, managing footflow as well as working with marketing and the MD to understand their vision.
- FINALIST Ashley Smith – Dodd Group
Ashley has repeatedly demonstrated a high level of ability, maturity, honesty and integrity, which provides his supervisors with the confidence to place him in most situations or tasks either forward facing with the clients or behind the scenes. Ashley has recently completed his C&G Building Services Heating & Ventilation (Industrial & Commercial) Level 2 qualification and has now commenced his Level 3. He is due to qualify in August 2021.
Distributor of the Year Sponsored by ADEY Innovation
- WINNER Smith Bros. (Caer Conan) Wholesale Ltd
Boasting a delivery on-time and pick accuracy performance of more than 98%, Smith Bros have worked hard on their delivery commitments and have utilised their in-house 10 vehicle fleet to allow them to deliver nationwide next-day in most cases. Smith Bros forge strong, long-lasting relationships with the clients and suppliers and provide innovative ideas to assist them with moving to new solutions. Smith Bros take part in countless social value activities and as a result of their environmental responsibility, they are working in partnership with Prime Hybrid Energy to deliver innovative solutions to solar battery storage. This technology aims to help eliminate fuel poverty and financial exclusion.
- RUNNER UP The Bradfords Group
Bradfords have established a Central Distribution Point (CDP) within the Rugby Borough Council’s premises on a consignment stock basis – this means the products are not charged out until removed from the premises allowing van stock replenishment to take place either during working or non-working hours. The solution gives maximum stock availability per job, enables more jobs per day to be completed and less follow-ons, less fuel consumption travelling to and from various merchants and thus more efficient use of the operative’s working day.
- FINALIST Grafton Supply Chain Solutions
As one of the largest builders’ merchants in the UK, Grafton Merchanting is in 329 locations throughout the country, providing an effective service to over 200 local authorities and housing associations. Grafton recently launched ‘Stock and Go’ which is an initiative that provides an app that operatives can use on the road to order van stock, product vending machines on sites and RFID technology into pop-up stores that automatically manages stock levels. The solutions streamline operations and increasing efficiencies for public sector housing providers.
- FINALIST City Plumbing Supplies / PTS
Working with Baxi Boilers and their client Hyde Housing, CPS implemented a structured supply and delivery plan to meet Hyde’s planned boiler installs schedule. CPS arranged for deliveries to be made by their award-winning fleet from two well-located 24 hour branches where stock is managed to cover all planned installs with a very reactive service for vulnerable tenants requiring immediate installs. CPS also introduced Hyde to EEM to ensure compliant procurement, reduced administration and price consistency.
Contractor of the Year Sponsored by Cawarden Co
- WINNER Dodd Group
Dodd Group has introduced a number of technological and operational improvements that have strengthened their workforce and improved client relationships. An example is Solihull MBC where average job costs across the contract reduced by 64% electrically and 49% mechanically in 5 years. Despite a large increase to their workforce, incident rates have dropped to just 0.66 per 1000 employees. Based on the results of nine completed Social Value reports from the Social Value Portal, Dodd Group contributed an average of 51.59% of their contract values back into local communities in 2019.
- RUNNER UP J Tomlinson
2019 has been a record year of growth for J Tomlinson yet their accident rate is four times lower than industry average. Embracing the Government’s Transformation Strategy, they have introduced a unique £5m IFS Computer-Aided Facility Management system to enhance FM contract delivery by providing live data, dynamic scheduling software and bespoke integration. J Tomlinson social value initiatives focus on community engagement and investment, sponsorship and donations, tackling unemployment and building futures, raising awareness of key social issues and supporting emotional wellbeing.
- FINALIST Sustainable Building Services (UK) Ltd
During 2019, SBS continued to build its reputation. In late 2018, it was named in the London Stock Exchange Group’s 2018 list of inspiring British companies, which noted it had achieved an almost five-fold increase in turnover since 2010. Over the same period, it has improved quality assurance, while expanding its client base and supply chain. Social initiatives include ‘community hubs’ for residents whilst property works are in progress, fundraising events, supporting a homelessness charity, engaging with local schools, and communications to promote site-safety and careers in construction for women.
- FINALIST Fortem
When Fortem transformed a building of outdated 1970s bedsits and small flats into 17 comfortable 1-2 bed flats for Chesterfield Borough Council, other local authorities visited to see how they too could transform their hard-to-let properties. Fortem managed to tighten up programmes to incorporate the many variations asked for, with no impact on budget. Fortem has subsequently worked with CBC on a total of six successful projects. The contractor has also invested £1.4m into local communities in 2018 and £1.1m into its workforce, encouraging staff to attend training at their Fortem’s 4Life Academies.
Development Strategy of the Year Sponsored by Grafton Supply Chain Solutions
- WINNER Citizen Housing
Smashing targets for completions, starts and sales, signing a landmark deal as part of a strategic partnership with Homes England, initiating a modular pilot and scooping national awards for a sector-leading transformation project – all of this has been achieved by the Citizen team in the last year. Some 700 new homes were started in 18/19 (50% more than the target) and 400 new homes were completed (12% more than the target). Not so long ago, the team were treading water to build just 250 homes a year. Citizen are determined to influence rapid change and provide a robust alternative to traditional construction methods. Their 27 home modular scheme transformed unused garage sites into state-of-the-art affordable homes and the methods delivered much higher standards then regulations require, for the same cost.
- RUNNER UP Orbit
Orbit’s target is to build 2,000 homes a year ranging from market sale and shared ownership, to affordable rent and independent living. Orbit are now focussed on acquiring land to build Orbit branded homes at scale, pro-actively shifting away from S106 acquisitions and enabling Orbit to have control over the quality of the homes they provide. Orbit believes that off-site construction could help them deliver their ambitious build programme, so after conducting extensive due diligence and market research, they are piloting circa. 20 modular homes on four small sites. Orbit will further shape and set the criteria for the standard of their homes by receiving regular feedback from customers in tenancy in the pilot homes on the cost of living, product durability and aesthetics. If the pilot is successful, Orbit will utilise the learnings from these pilot sites to help determine its development pipeline and establish partnerships with preferred manufacturers.
- FINALIST Ashfield District Council
Ashfield District Council created an Affordable Housing Delivery Strategy in 2019 that identified an annual shortfall of 223 affordable homes in the area. The challenges in reducing this shortfall are areas having low land values, limited financial capacity, limited expertise in development and limited capacity to take on additional workload. Feasibility studies are being conducted on two sites that could provide up to 200 new homes and approval has been granted to establish a Housing Development Company
wholly owned by ADC. In the short term, affordable homes have been purchased from the open market and directly from developers, financed through a blend of funding streams including Right to Buy receipts, commuted sums and Housing Revenue Account reserves. RP’s have also been encouraged to acquire or build properties in the area.
Partnership of the Year Sponsored by Nationwide Windows & Doors
- WINNER Stockport Homes Group and B4Box
Stockport Homes and B4Box designed and implemented an original and innovative Employment and Training initiative that has seen over 250 local residents (87% from disadvantaged priority groups) benefiting from training qualifications, with over 150 then gaining employment. The partnership has delivered a trailblazing social and economic value of £6 for every £1 invested and has achieved 8 construction apprentices per £million of works (the highest ratio in the country according to the CITB).
- RUNNER UP J Tomlinson and Nottingham City Homes
J Tomlinson was selected by NCH to undertake a major maintenance programme in 2016. As a successful partnership developed, NCH subsequently appointed J Tomlinson to complete several additional projects and adherence to the planned programmes currently stands at 99.1%. By investigating the root cause of issues, providing future-proofed solutions and using innovative technologies and methods, J Tomlinson have been able to provide an effective and cost-efficient service to NCH. The partnership benefits all parties including residents and the wider community.
- FINALIST Fortem and Chesterfield Borough Council
In 2017, CBC initially appointed Fortem to renovate a 1960s-built sheltered housing scheme for vulnerable people. Fortem managed to tighten up programmes to incorporate the many variations asked for, with no impact on budget. Fortem rose to several challenges and completed the first project successfully leaving residents “gobsmacked” at the beauty, and an ongoing and unified relationship was established. Fortem went on to complete a total of five sheltered accommodation blocks, with multi-million pound combined contract values.
- FINALIST Sustainable Building Services (UK) Ltd and Nottingham City Homes
In 2015, SBS won a 3-phase contract to install External Wall Insulation to 1,150 properties for NCH. After completion, the partnership continued to evolve with SBS being awarded subsequent contracts including projects that involved creating the world’s largest ever battery-based domestic power storage facility, and the UK’s first low-temperature district heating system. By working closely in partnership with other parties such as EON, PermaRock and Nottingham Trent University, SBS have been able to deliver several complex projects and secure funding where others were failing to find any.
Project of the Year – Under £3m Sponsored by EnviroVent
- WINNER United Living & EMH Group for Romorantin Place
EMH appointed United Living to extend, alter and refurbish two vacant sheltered housing blocks and one general needs block. Once on site, a number of structural complications within the buildings were discovered and despite the contract having no contractor design responsibilities, United Living worked closely with EMH to provide innovative solutions. United Living liaised with residents throughout the duration of the contract and the whole community is enjoying secure, beautifully landscaped areas and a reduction in anti-social behaviour.
- RUNNER UP Derby Homes for Allenton Big Build
The renovation of St Martin’s Church and Community Centre in Allenton was an exciting and ambitious project that transformed an old church building into a vibrant and dynamic community hub in the centre of one of Derby’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. As funding was unavailable, a ‘DIY SOS’-style strategy was adopted with Derby Homes’ operatives and volunteers offering their time, and generous local organisations donating materials and labour. Volunteer hours totalled 10,000 and the project cost just £225,000 overall although the commercial value was approximately £1million.
- FINALIST whg and Dodd Group (electrical works)
Walsall Housing Group (whg) and Dodd Group have worked in partnership since December 2018, delivering electrical upgrades across Walsall, improving the home life and financial stability of countless customers. Initiatives such as combining installations of surge protectors with fuseboards, providing storage containers for residents’ items during works and installing non-intrusive wireless smoke alarms helped achieve “the most fabulous customer satisfaction ever seen” by whg’s Customer Liaison Agent.
- FINALIST whg and Nationwide Windows and Doors (windows and doors)
As of November 2019, Nationwide had installed 1,119 windows and 211 doors to 106 properties for whg. Nationwide’s condition survey reports were detailed and pro-active with suggestions to improve the service to individual customers, such as different handles than specified for those with reduced mobility in their hands. Their “Contract Tracker” data sharing report and a QR code label on each window and door are initiatives unique to Nationwide that provide whg and customers with detailed and useful information. Window frames installed incorporated approximately 50% recycled material.
Project of the Year – Over £3m Sponsored by CEF
- WINNER Winwood Heights – Halsall Lloyd Partnership, Nottingham City Homes & Willmott Dixon
Winwood Heights is a new retirement complex created by the refurbishment and remodelling of two existing tower blocks of 180 flats, together with 44 new build extra-care apartments. Incorporating extensive design participation with the residents and surrounding community, the design ensured the facility has a modern external appearance, yet blends in with the surrounding natural environment. Non-combustible insulation was directly installed onto existing walls, but to give the aesthetic of a cladding panel effect, a rendered application was directly applied to the outer insulation. The inclusion of “Winter Garden” balcony enclosures allow residents to have unobstructed views out over the park and city from their apartments.
- RUNNER UP J Tomlinson – Dagfa House
Cassidy Group appointed J Tomlinson to manage a programme of works including the refurbishment of Dagfa House, a 1940s Grade II listed building that would house 19 bedrooms, en-suites, a communal area and a new boiler/heating system. The Regeneration team took great care to retain and conserve original features and value engineering exercises were implemented leading to savings of approximately £100k. J Tomlinson engaged heavily with local students and communities and even donated £1,500 to a church as a thank you for borrowed car park space throughout the build.
- FINALIST Sustainable Building Services – The Courts, for NCH
SBS completed an innovative energy-efficiency project for Nottingham City Homes. Known collectively as “The Courts”, the work on the 5-storey properties featured PV/electrical system installations, thermal improvements, Britain’s largest battery storage facility for domestic energy, and the country’s first low temperature district heating (LTDH) system. The demonstration project was part-funded by ReMoUrban, an EU-funded urban regeneration model. The work has delivered energy-efficiency improvements for residents, and will reduce overall energy consumption, thereby helping NCH to meet its climate change targets for 2050.
- FINALIST ENGIE and Northampton Partnership Homes
NPH contracted ENGIE to undertake the transformation of a troublesome block of flats into 40 modern self-contained apartments. The project not only involved the renovation of the building, but also the complete regeneration of the surrounding area. The project included a number of initiatives and community schemes and NPH commented that working in partnership with ENGIE has allowed them to not only to provide great quality apartments for local families, but to also offer a training programme to help residents connect with each other and start to build a thriving community.