It is essential for any housing association to carry out a rigorous maintenance programme to ensure that its building stock remains in good condition. One such housing association in south Wales has invested in new heating controls, which offer more maintenance schedule flexibility, leading to a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of the maintenance team operations. LABM finds out more.
Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) is widely recognised as one of the leading Housing Associations in Wales and is responsible for a property portfolio of more than 4,000 homes. Whilst undertaking the replacement of 800 gas boilers, the decision was made to retrofit new heating controls across the entire property portfolio that would allow heating services managers to schedule maintenance work further in advance and ensure compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.
With this in mind, MHA contacted Drayton to seek advice on a heating control solution that met these requirements and would help the maintenance team meet its strict KPIs.
Adrian Simmonds, Heating Services Manager at MHA, says: “The biggest issue we faced when attempting to carry out any annual gas appliance service was gaining access to the property within the required timeframe. The service interval time controller utilised on our previous heating control system wouldn’t allow us to give the tenants enough notice of when the annual gas safety check was due, which led to a large number of delayed services to properties and a significant impact on our KPI success rate.
“We have 12 engineers in our team who cover an entire county so it’s imperative that we are able to complete scheduled maintenance work first-time as this ensures that not only are our operations are running as efficiently as possible, but that we are also compliant with strict regulations. The law requires an annual gas safety check for social landlords, whereas it is only a recommendation for homeowners.”
New heating control
Adrian continues: “When we began the replacement of more than 800 boilers, we felt this would be the opportune time to look for a new heating control solution that gave us the scheduling flexibility we desperately needed. We looked at various suppliers but felt Drayton was the best fit for us not only due to its extensive range of solutions, but also because the manufacturer could provide a system to meet our exact requirements.
“Drayton worked closely with us and recommended the use of its LP111Si time control, which allowed us to set the notice of service alert to ten months and two weeks. This gave us six weeks to organise the property visit, carry out the annual service and provide a landlord gas safety certificate, all within the timeframe set out in the regulations.
“We have also utilised the Drayton RTS thermostats, motorised valves and RT414 thermostatic radiator valves, giving our tenants complete control of their heating requirements.
“We have now rolled out the retrofit of Drayton controls, with 85% of our property portfolio having the system installed, and we have realised the benefits very quickly. We now have more control over our maintenance programme, to the point where we can target entire streets at a time, meaning we keep unnecessary visits to an absolute minimum and run our operations far more effectively. As a result, we are currently achieving a maintenance success rate of 99.93%.
“In addition to the success of the improved maintenance regime, we have also received great feedback from our tenants. With the majority of the property occupants being of retirement age, they have commented on how well lit and how simple the Drayton system is to use.”