Fusion21’s Framework Manager for Facilities Management, Phil Woodhead, explains why 2016 is the right time for asset management and neighbourhood teams to revisit void security.
“Void management and security continues to be a challenge for many registered providers, and understandably so.
Keeping homes secure whilst vacant has notoriously added additional cost – and at a time when the housing sector remains under pressure to justify spending and save money, this area has become a target for where efficiencies can be made.
However, investing less in void security does not necessarily provide value for money – for example; securing only half a property with steel screens can leave neighbourhoods vulnerable, with accessible empty homes being an easy target for vandalism or theft.
So what is the solution? Well, did you know market costs of steel screens have decreased significantly?
Competitions ran through Fusion21’s Voids and Associated Works framework (established in May 2015) have resulted in prices reducing by up to 40% across England. We have seen a shift in customer’s purchasing decisions – with a stronger focus placed on the direct cost of void security.
There are huge savings to be made (directly and indirectly) – and so I’ve outlined five steps operational teams can take to help improve the management of void security:
Step one: Review your organisation’s void management process, including how handovers are conducted between internal teams. It is imperative that all staff involved in the process work collaboratively and are accountable for their contributions – this will help to reduce average void times and rent loss, in addition to alleviating risks of vandalism or property theft taking place.
Step two: Revisit your voids management policy to review the void security measures that are in place – and also consider how long term voids are secured. Switching to non-demountable screens could prove value for money, as charges will only be made for the initial installation.
Step three: To minimise loss of rental revenue, make sure you have a streamlined appraisal process for properties that are empty for long periods of time.
Step four: Look at your indirect costs to see where further savings can be made. You may want to consider: Do the keys to your void properties regularly go missing? Are your employees and contractors wasting time driving to housing offices to collect keys – or waiting outside properties to gain access? And finally - do you have a record of who has gained entry into your void properties and when? Non-productive time can now be significantly reduced thanks to electronic key management.
Step five: Test the market to see if you could benefit from a cheaper rate. It pays to do your homework, identifying if increased efficiency savings can be made.
Fusion21’s Voids and Associated Works framework offers a ‘Void Security’ lot; in addition to ‘Clearance ground maintenance’ and ‘Minor repairs, refurbishment, and decoration vouchers’.
We have the sector’s leading contractors on our framework including: Orbis Protect; Secure Empty Property; SPS Doorguard; and VPS – in addition to a number of regional SME’s.
Our offer provides Fusion21 members with the flexibility to call off works through an OJEU compliant framework. These frameworks have been subjected to a rigorous cost and quality process.
Lastly, as a result of greater economies of scale achieved through the framework – our members are taking advantage of some of the most competitive rates in the current market.”
To find out how Fusion21’s Voids and Associated Works framework can deliver cost efficiency savings for your organisation, email Phil Woodhead on email@example.com on call 0845 308 2321