Rethinking stock condition surveys in the age of BIM _ Digital Leaders housing benefit eligible rent

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Against the backdrop of a real-term cut of 15% from rental income, housing boards are stress testing their business plans with a greater emphasis on exactitude so that their asset and development investment plans are ‘sustainable’. To achieve this, organisations use net present value (NPV), or variants, when appraising the sustainability of their existing and future stock.

NPV, alone, is a blunt tool for making this assessment as it does not control for social factors – after all, social homes are not simply financial assets.Housing benefit eligible rent but it also hides the relative paucity of data used for asset spend over the business plan life as it may not contain sufficient information to factor in repairs, refurbishment and servicing expenses into its calculation. The data provided by BIM could heighten the precision so that bad decisions are avoided when considering the divestment of social housing stock.

As part of the process to broaden the reach of BIM the same techniques organisations use to extrapolate their sample survey data can be engaged. Using archetypes, the housing organisation can extend this more detailed data to those like-typed buildings and blend this information into the existing data for those dwellings not surveyed. Though not to the depth of a 100% BIM survey, this approach would enhance the prevailing data to form a more semantic picture of the asset performance and condition, whilst keeping costs down.Housing benefit eligible rent likewise, models and floorplans constructed as part of the survey can be mapped using the same techniques.

By its nature, BIM, along with its near-horizon siblings the internet of things and big data, requires granularity. Granularity provides nuance, semantics and accuracy. I argue that surveys should be collecting the level of data commissioned at development handover. This provides synergies with these other technologies to unlock data possibilities to better inform day-to-day decision-making. With manufacturers getting on board with BIM representations of their products, the management of this wealth of data becomes more automated as the supply chain collaborates. ‘right first time’ repairs are delivered more frequently as the contractor is armed with the parts information ahead of their visit to the tenants’ home.Housing benefit eligible rent our offices may never hear the phrase “do you know where your stop tap is?” again.

Not so long ago, we planned road journeys with the ubiquitous ‘map of britain’, supported by the city A-zs that clogged up our car boots to navigate us through to our destination. Nowadays we think nothing of using google maps on our smartphones and tablets to direct us from A to B, pinching to zoom to focus on that fine detail provided by street view. I’m hopeful that this analogy extends to how we communicate with our tenants, contractors and other stakeholders in the coming years when reporting reactive maintenance and planning major repairs to our housing stock, using BIM as the platform for that collaboration. If we recast how we think about commissioning stock condition surveys, we might just get there sooner.