HQN blog – Do you fully understand your property asset demands and liabilities?

In my last blog http://hqnetwork.co.uk/news/hqn-blog-balancing-the-scales-in-asset-management-2057, I asked how confident you are in your organisation's approach to asset management and, importantly, if the data and business intelligence that underpins your decisions robust and accurate?

Funding in many housing associations has been diverted from property investment identified by stock condition surveys to support the rent cut and, since the Grenfell fire, additional investment in compliance. There is a risk therefore that the funding assumptions in your business plan may not be sufficient to maintain safe and decent homes for your tenants as well as meeting the new property investment demands on your organisation.

Good asset management practice requires that your organisation continues to be informed by a robust stock condition survey. This should provide an accurate and statistically reliable assessment of the repair liabilities and improvement costs over the period of your business plan to inform your long term financial plan, investment and procurement plans, performance modelling and option appraisal decisions.

It is also essential that your stock condition survey data is enhanced by data and intelligence on other property investment demands and investment aspirations identified in your business strategy – in other words, the things you want to do to improve your customers’ homes. For example:

  • Property compliance – fire safety improvements
  • Residents’ priorities – warmer homes and tackling damp
  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • Green technology – for example, installing PVs and solar thermals
  • Remodelling and property improvements – for example, changes to communal or  external space.

This approach will allow you to explore these additional demands and the funding requirements over and above usual planned stock investment identified as part of the stock condition survey and measures required for decent homes compliance.

The new HQN asset management toolkit can help your organisation to understand its stock investment requirements in this way. The toolkit is in the form of a self-assessment checklist and sets out the key components of an effective asset management framework to help you understand performance and manage your property assets to support your corporate strategy and wider business priorities.

The ‘asset and stock condition’ component of the toolkit poses a series of questions about your stock condition survey and the other property demands within your business to inform your strategic business decisions. Covering topics such as: the quality of your stock condition data, trend analysis, liabilities capture and the link or 'golden thread' to your financial planning, investment planning and budget setting process.

By working through the toolkit your organisation and Board will be equipped to fully understand the impact of decisions to change the level of property investment on the future performance and sustainability of your assets and resident satisfaction. This means that any decision to, for example, reduce property investment expenditure or reallocate funding to complete necessary fire safety and compliance works will be made with a better understanding of the real implications.

Completing the toolkit will also support your organisation to define an affordable property standard to enable you to deliver a stock investment programme which will maintain your property assets to an appropriate standard and provide clarity on those unfunded investment aspirations in your organisation.

 

By Mike Victory-Rowe, HQN Asset Management Network lead associate