BUILT ENVIRONMENT JOURNAL

Housing maintenance, repairs and improvements competency

To achieve the competency Housing maintenance, repairs and improvements you must be able to understand, and be ready to apply, a range of other skills

Author: Ewan Craig

26 April 2020

Housing maintenance, repairs and improvements is one of the optional competencies of the Building Surveying APC pathway. Work in this area demands the ability to apply other technical competencies together successfully, including Building pathology, Construction technology and environmental services, Design and specification, Inspection, and Legal/regulatory compliance.

The levels

At Level 1, you should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature of building maintenance as well as the principles and practice of building maintenance management.

At Level 2, you should apply your knowledge to gather housing maintenance information, formulate policies, and implement housing maintenance management operations.

At Level 3, you should be able to provide reasoned advice, and prepare and present reports on maintenance management issues.

You should be familiar with the housing maintenance, repair and improvements issues in your final submission documents and be ready to address relevant questions.

Questions

Actual questions for final assessment will be based on the candidate's experience. This should be at Level 2 but could exceed this. An example at Level 2 is given below; the answer should explain the pertinent issues.

Q: Please explain how you carried out a stock condition survey of flat B and the block it is in.

A: My housing association decided to use in-house staff for condition surveys to support our development and enhance our skills. This work was part of our first year of in-house surveys, targeted to renew older data, check previous findings and support planned maintenance. The association developed the set of survey questions using GoReport, with a pilot survey and assessment of our data to collect the right information for our needs.

A targeted sample of properties were selected in my allocated area and the residents were offered the opportunity to have a survey. Flat B's resident requested one, and I arranged a convenient appointment for a stock condition survey with them. I carried out pre-inspection checks such as a health and safety risk assessment and ascertaining whether there were any customer safety concerns.

The survey was restricted to areas that were safely accessible and carried out on a visual, non-intrusive basis. I used surveying equipment that included a torch, ladder, damp meter, services keys, laser measure and tape measure.

I introduced myself to the resident and surveyed the flat and block, using the pro forma on an iPad; this enables a methodical and focused inspection covering attributes such as key exterior and interior components, together with an indicative score under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. I followed my association's guidance for surveys, such as our component life cycle, which is derived from BCIS and our own data.

Some information was pre-populated, such as the unique property reference number and known attributes, which I checked as I surveyed. I completed the flat's survey concentrating on the interior features such as finishes, sanitary fittings, kitchen, smoke detectors and services. The survey of the block covered the exterior and communal areas such as roofs, walls, lifts and entrances.

I completed the pro forma as I progressed, with details such as each component's age and quantity. Photographs were included of features such as the flat's kitchen and a broken electrical socket. I reported to our maintenance team that wires were protruding from the damaged socket as this was a significant health and safety matter for immediate attention.

After the inspection, I reviewed my survey forms and my line manager checked the surveys before they were batched and uploaded to our internal secure asset database. I also saved the photographs against the property records and confirmed that the repair to the socket had been carried out.

Care

Given the time constraints of the APC, your response should be brief but comprehensive; the answer given above is not exhaustive. Care should be taken to demonstrate your own skills, abilities and knowledge to the assessors.

Ewan Craig is an APC assessor, APC coach, and public sector construction assurance lead

Related competencies include: Housing maintenance, repairs and improvements

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