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Welsh Housing Quality Standard - Capital Programme update - Autumn 2017

The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) is the Welsh Government's target standard for all social housing in Wales.

Council housing improvements  Welsh Government

The WHQS states that all homes should be:

  • In a good state of repair
  • Safe and secure
  • Adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated
  • Contain up to date kitchens and bathrooms
  • Located in attractive and safe environments
  • Suit the specific requirements of the household

Achieving the WHQS in Swansea

The Council has been progressing with work to improve homes and estates up to the WHQS by 2020/2021.  Over the next 4 years, the Council is investing over £200 million to ensure we comply with the WHQS. Part of this investment is given to the Council as a Major Repair Allowance grant by the Welsh Government and so far, the Council has received £9,158,000.  This grant helps improve the lives of those who live in council homes as well as providing community benefits.

The following provides information on the work completed so far as well as future planned work.

In a good state of repair

Wind and Weatherproofing programme

This includes insulating and improving the external walls and roof of the property.  Since April 2010, the Council has completed 2652 properties and work is planned for a further 1914 properties over the next 4 years.

The following table sets out the wind and weatherproofing programme for the years 2016-2016.  This includes work ongoing/almost complete for 2016 and work commencing in 2017/18.

 

Wind and Weatherproofing programme
Area201620172018
Penlan5548 
Cwmbwrla 49 
Caemawr3749 
Penllergaer28 20
Llanllienwen177  
Mayhill and Townhill schemes 1 and 2122  
Mayhill and Townhill scheme 3703 
McRitchie Place71  
Pontarddulais 2625
Winch Wen 4165
West Cross626065
West Cross (BISF) 3228
Loughor 30 
Birchgrove  42
Clase 5589
Craig Cefn Parc 2620
Sketty275055
Croft Street  105

Roofing schemes

3270 properties have received new roofs since April 2010 and new schemes are planned for the coming years with 308 properties scheduled for completion in 2017/18.  Roofing schemes also include loft insulation which will improve energy efficiency and help with heating bills.

This table shows the areas and the number of homes which have received new roofs in 2016 and 2017 to date.

Areas20162017
Blaenymaes112106
Bonymaen 36
Clase (Ewenny Place)117 
Sketty flats5 blocks 
Townhill and Port Tennant (Clay roofs) 45
Gower 63
Penlan (Wimpey no fines)59 
Three Crosses and Llangennith 22
Loughor 16
Various including Morriston, Plasmarl, Penlan and Uplands 20


Chimneys' Scheme

Chimneys which are in poor repair can cause problems with damp.  This scheme will remove, repair or rebuild the chimney.

118 chimneys were completed in 2015.  In 2016, 221 chimneys were removed or repaired.  In 2017, 340 properties will have chimneys removed or repaired if still required in: Cae Conna Road, Heol Y Maes, Bryngwastad Road, Gors Avenue and Heol Maes Y Gelynen.

Balconies

Balconies require repairs/upgrade work and 447 balconies have been completed so far with work on a further 52 being planned for 2018/2019. 

Door Renewal Programme

The Door Renewal Programme is now virtually complete with 9817 properties having new uPVC or fire safety doors installed since April 2010.

Structural repairs, drainage repairs and improvements

A number of structural repairs have been carried out, including work to retaining walls where the wall supports the land next to it.

There have also been many drainage repairs and improvements to some sites where problems have arisen with drains, culverts or water ponding.

Safe and secure

Fire Safety

Considerable work is being done to enhance fire safety in blocks of flats and sheltered complexes which includes fire doors, emergency lighting and new improved signage.

Flats with communal areas have new doors which are of a higher standard and will provide 60 minute fire protection for residents.  Other fire safety work includes work to sheltered complex communal areas and community rooms, installation of sprinklers in some complexes and new fire alarm systems.

New fire alarms have been fitted in 18 of the sheltered complexes bringing them and the emergency lighting systems up to current standards.

Sprinklers

Seven of the larger sheltered complexes have had sprinklers installed, which enhances their fire safety.  Plans are also being developed to install sprinklers in all high rise blocks of flats.

Voice Entry Systems

46 blocks of flats are schedules to have new voice entry systems fitted or upgraded, during 2017/2018.  The addition of robust doors to the blocks will enhance security and allow tenants to control who enters the blocks, helping to reduce vandalism and harassment.

Adequately heated

Heating

Boilers are renewed as part of a planned programme with the oldest systems treated as a priority.  The aim is to ensure all properties have efficient boilers with 9724 boilers installed so far.

Fuel Conversions

Tenants are offered the option to switch heating fuels to either gas or oil if they currently have coal or electric.  7 properties are due to be converted in 2017.  Since April 2010, 108 properties have received fuel conversions.

Upgrades

Tenants can request small items of work such as timer clocks, room thermostats or radiators for a room without one or where the existing one is inadequate to heat the room.

Up to date kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchens and Bathrooms Scheme

New kitchens and bathrooms are being installed in properties that need them.  In the last 5 years, 742 properties have had new kitchens and 1066 properties have had new bathrooms.

As part of the scheme, kitchens and bathroomsmay be adapted to meet individual medical needs.  Tenants can discuss medical needs with staff when they visit and before the kitchen and bathroom are designed.

Sometimes the property will be rewired or require partial rewiring to ensure the kitchen has sufficent sockets.

Tenants have ten weeks' notice of the work and a visit from a member of staff which provides an opportunity to discuss choices and raise any particular needs tenants may have.

Eight weeks before the work starts, a kitchem designer will come and plan the kitchen layout.  This will accommodate existing white goods, such as washing machine and fridge.  There is a choice of kitchen styles.  It is important that access is provided to allow the work to be carried out quickly as the aim is to finish the work in 4 to 5 weeks.

Sometimes, new kitchens and bathrooms are installed in empty properties  so they are in place when the new tenant moves in.

New kitchens and bathrooms were installed in 1820 properties in 2016 and 2462 properties are planned for 2017/18.

The following table shows the areas and number of properties that are included in the kitchen and bathroom scheme in 2017.  Some properties that are newer or already have modern kitchens that are up, the WHQS will be completed after 2020.

AreaNumber of properties
Birchgrove 229
Caemawr183
Clase616
Clydach451
Craig Cefn Parc50
Cwm Felin Fach221
Cwmrhydyceirw124
Llanllienwen220
Penllergaer88
Pontarddulais280

Smoke alarms

New hard wired smoke alarms have been fitted in 8935 properties since 2010 and the Council aims to ensure all homes have at least two working smoke alarms.  The Council checks these annually as part of its annual heating service.  However, these should always be regularly tested to see if they are working.  To report a fault, please contact the Housing Repairs Call Centre or the local District Housing Office - contact details are on the inside cover of this magazine.

Electrical testing and rewiring

All of the Council's properties are tested for electrical safety every 10 years.  9731 properties have been tested since April 2010.  If the electrics do not pass the test then the proeprty has to be rewired.  These safety tests are a crucial area of work and it is important that tenants allow access for this to be carried out.  In addition to electrical testing work, proeprties are also rewired every 30 years.  3837 properties have been rewired since April 2010.

Located in safe and attractive environments

External Facilities Scheme

The aim of this scheme is to ensure gardens are safe and suitable to use.  The scheme will provide a washing line and airing cupboard, repair steps and ensure protection from areas where falls may occur.

The scheme has been piloted in the Gorseinon area where at least 100 properties have benefitted so far.  A further 347 properties in the same area are receiving this work at the moment, with other projects planned elsewhere.

Community Benefits

The ongoing work to improve Council homes also benefits the wider community.

Contractors appointed  by the Council are expected to carry out work which benefits communities.  The Council has a 'Beyond Bricks and Mortar team' that works to arrange and maximise the community benefits and places a lot of emphasis on employment and getting people back to work or to learn new skills in the workplace.

The Beyond Bricks and Mortar initiative works with many of the WHQS schemes adn to date has achieved 3544 'person weeks' of training for new trainees, creating opportunities for 93 people.  This includes 22 apprentices and work experience for 6 college based apprentices.

People who have been placed on jobs have all previously been unemployed, many with barriers to getting into work such as disabilities and caring responsibilities.  For some, it is their first job and they have gained valuable work experience, enabling them to get permanent jobs as a result.  The Council will continue to use its Beyond Bricks and Mortar initiative on all future WHQS schemes and seek to expand opportunities for training and apprenticeships.

If you have any questions or would like information about the schemes affecting your property, please contact your District Housing Office.

 

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