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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/12/2004
Private Sector Housing Condition Assessment



Summary & Purpose
This report advises of the need to undertake a Private Sector House Condition Assessment and asks the Executive to:

1. approve the appointment of the Building Research Establishment to carry out this exercise; and

2. waive Contract Procedure Rules (CPRW101) CPR A 105 and consequential requirements, in order to appoint the Building Research Establishment.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX BB

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
EXECUTIVE – 7TH DECEMBER 2004

_________________________________________________________________________

Title:

PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSE CONDITION ASSESSMENT

[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and purpose:

This report advises of the need to undertake a Private Sector House Condition Assessment and asks the Executive to:

1. approve the appointment of the Building Research Establishment to carry out this exercise; and

2. waive Contract Procedure Rules (CPRW101) CPR A 105 and consequential requirements, in order to appoint the Building Research Establishment.

_________________________________________________________________________

Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

E-Government implications:

There are no E-Government implications arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

The costs of undertaking the Private Sector House Condition Assessment by the Building Research Establishment can be accommodated within the approved Capital Programme Budget for 2004/05.

_________________________________________________________________________

Background

1. The Council is required to review the condition of the private housing stock in the Borough approximately every five years. This is in addition to the survey work undertaken on Council-owned dwellings. The objectives of the survey are to obtain information on the levels of disrepair, unfitness and thermal efficiency in Waverley and likely costs of repair and improvement. This, in turn, should help inform Waverley policies in respect of private sector housing.

2. However, the last private house condition survey was carried out in 1995. It would be fair to say that Members and officers have felt that a regular private sector stock condition survey in Waverley tends to confirm much of what is already known – that generally speaking, private sector housing stock is in relatively good condition. It is therefore difficult to justify a considerable capital expenditure on this area of work, when there are other pressing demands on finite resources. Nevertheless, the lack of up-to-date data on the private sector housing stock was highlighted as an area that needed attention in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment. The Council’s recently approved CPA Action Plan includes making this area of work a priority.

3. Furthermore, as a result of the Government’s Spending Review in 2002, another target was set for local authorities. Not only were all affordable homes to be made decent by 2010, but that this target should be extended to include private sector homes occupied by people in ‘vulnerable groups’. An assessment of the private sector is needed to provide the baseline data in order to establish what is required to meet this target.

4. There is also an expectation on the part of the Government Office of the South East (GOSE) that the Council will have up-to-date private sector stock condition information to inform its Housing Strategy Statement. The lack of up-to-date information could lead to a Housing Strategy Statement failing to meet GOSE’s “fit-for-purpose” criteria.

5. Officers have been taking advice as to how best to progress a private sector stock condition survey/assessment. It is estimated that to undertake a full survey of a sample of 1,500 properties will cost in the region of 70,000. There is 40,000 in the capital budget for this purpose.

Private Sector Housing Assessment

6. An alternative to a full house condition survey would be to undertake a predictive housing stock modelling assessment. This approach has been used by other local authorities and is much less expensive than a full survey. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) carries out such assessment exercises. The assessment uses data obtained from the English House Condition Survey, the Census and other sources to predict the data.

7. The advantages of the modelling assessment are as follows:

The full cost inclusive of labour, materials and expenses is 10,000 (excluding VAT);
It takes 4 weeks to complete from proposal to final report with an additional 2 weeks leading-in time. A full house condition survey will take 8-9 months from start to finish; and
It produces accurate data at ward level. A house condition survey does not.

8. The BRE modelling assessment does not currently provide data on fuel poverty (although it is hoped that this will be introduced in the near future) or an assessment of the number of properties failing to meet the fitness standard in the proposed Housing, Health and Safety Rating System in the draft Housing Bill. However, it does provide data on the number of properties that do not meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard (including for vulnerable occupiers) and the standard for thermal comfort.

9. The main problem with the BRE model is that the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) does not yet fully recognise it as an alternative for a house condition survey. Two other local authorities, Redbridge and Richmond-upon-Thames, have used the BRE assessment. Richmond-upon-Thames’s Housing Strategy Statement was deemed to meet the ‘fit-for-purpose’ criteria. A third authority, Brighton and Hove, is about to commence a BRE assessment after obtaining advice from GOSE.

10. In light of the above, officers approached GOSE for comments on the proposal to use the BRE model. Its reply advises that it is for Waverley Council to decide which method to use and to be satisfied that the method provides robust data.

11. It is the view of officers that the BRE model is a cost effective and efficient way to collect robust data on the private sector housing stock condition. However, the BRE model does not entirely replace the need for local surveys.

12. Officers are recommending that the Council begins its Private Sector Stock Assessment by commissioning the BRE to undertake a modeling exercise for the Waverley area at a cost of 10,000 plus VAT.

13. As the BRE is the only organization to undertake this work, it is not possible to put the work out to tender in the ordinary way. In order to appoint BRE, it is necessary for the Council to approve a waiver of Contract Procedure Rules (CPRW101) CPR A 105 and consequential requirements.

Financial Implications

14. The cost of the BRE modelling exercise will be 10,000 plus VAT and this can be accommodated from within the Capital Programme Budget 2004/05 approved for this purpose.

Recommendation

It is recommended that that the Executive:

1. approves the proposal that the Building Research Establishment be appointed to carry out a Private Sector Housing Stock condition assessment; and

2. approves a waiver of Contract Procedure Rules (CPRW101) CPR A 105 and consequential requirements.

________________________________________________________________________

Background Papers (DoH)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr M Shorten Telephone: 01483 523434
E-mail: mshorten@waverley.gov.uk

Mr S Brisk 01483 523421
sbrisk@waverley.gov.uk

Mr J Swanton 01483 523375
jswanton@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2004/05/326