How do you apply an AM approach to Social Housing?

It is essential to fully understand all aspects of your business prior to making significant changes or adopting new practices. Assessment is essential for housing providers to ensure they are ready for the new housing technologies that are a key part of social housing plans. Before rolling out a new housing programme, businesses can adopt the principles of asset management (in particular the ISO 55001 standard) to make sure they are prepared.

To truly ensure a business is ready to adopt a new housing programme, they would need to undertake a maturity gap assessment. This would require measuring their operations against ISO 55001’s 39 subject areas. These areas include:

  • Reviewing asset management policies and strategies to make sure they fit with existing plans
  • Customer viability: access to mortgages, government grants and preferential loans
  • Reviewing external environments, including town planning policy and perceptions, and creating a ‘modular friendly’ housing and living environment
  • Whole lifecycle cost-of-ownership assessment of modular technologies, including site visits and selection of best technologies and materials
  • Resourcing strategy to gain an understanding of the level of existing, and required, competence
  • Understanding non-human resources, such as depots, plant and equipment, for acquisition and maintenance of new house types
  • Technical standards and legislation for new house type technologies, on-site works, installation, and maintenance
  • Lifecycle delivery use of systems engineering for asset creation, configuration management, maintenance delivery, reliability engineering, shutdown and fault / incident response, decommissioning and disposal
  • Land finding and pipeline development, based on a ‘modular first’ approach, with traditional building methods being used when value for money or site constraints prevent modular methods being the best option
  • Procurement and adopting the best tendering process, early contractor engagement (ECA), and compliance with relevant legislations (including the new LHC procurement framework and OJEU)
  • Types of contracts (including design, design-build-transfer, lump sum, measured, JCT, NEC3 and 4, FIDIC, and Design for Manufacturing Assembly). To include review of liabilities, insurances, advanced payments, and securities bonding (at various stages, from design, fabrication and transportation, to site, installation and defects period).
  • Asset information management assessment of existing data, information systems and management. Review of asset structures in-line with ISO 14424 good maintenance practice. Readiness for BIM and digital technologies, aligned with new information platforms for modular homes.
  • Approach to risk management, contingency planning and resilience, sustainable development, performance and health monitoring, metrics and KPIs, review, audit and continuous improvement plans.

Once the assessment of the business and its asset management systems has been completed, the next stage can begin. This is the improvement roadmap and implementation programme, which includes the development of:

  • Asset management policy, strategic plans and asset management plans
  • An improvement plan: a clear roadmap, outlining activities and timelines to prepare for receiving completed homes, and management of them thereafter
  • Commercial alignment with the new LHC procurement framework to make sure off-site manufactured processes align with on-site ground works and infrastructure works, and ensuring clear integrated responsibilities and accountabilities
  • Internal and supplier competency programme
  • A BIM model of the site to which standardised house models are imposed for each development, providing greater opportunity for scaling and repeatable processes
  • An asset information system that aligns with the current procurement framework and adopts best practice in terms of the electronic asset register, with structured hierarchy, asset attribute fields and smart ID.

A thorough assessment of the current business situation and asset management processes will allow a company to identify whether they are ready to adopt the new technologies that form part of the housing programme. Following the key operational assessment areas outlined by industry-standard regulations and guidelines, a business can fully self-evaluate. Consequently, they will be able to focus on developing a clear plan for the implementation, and development, of a social housing programme that sits within the principles of asset management.