Tackling void maintenance in affordable housing

Date: 04 December 2018

Improve void maintenance efficiencies with innovative plaster products

Here, we take a look at the issues affecting void maintenance in affordable housing, how turnaround times and costs can be reduced and the efficiency-saving plaster product innovations that will help to enhance your repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) track record.

When affordable housing properties enter void status, the clock is ticking. That is why maintenance is a cost saving focus for most local authorities and housing associations. Achieving the right combination of speed and cost-effectiveness can have a positive impact on the void maintenance bottom line, resulting in a fundamental improvement on overall business results.

Properties left empty do not just cost landlords money in lost rent but it also denies homes to those who desperately need them. Speeding up void turnaround times can have multiple benefits helping to reduce void times, extend budgets and complete more jobs in a day. 

Effective void management processes can significantly improve void turnaround times. Not something that initially comes to mind, but the maintenance of internal walls, in particular, can make a real difference when it comes to speeding up the process as well as helping to extend maintenance cycles. 

According to the Housemark Repairs analysis 2016, 18 million repairs were carried out between 2014/2015 at an average of 3.38 repairs per property which each took 8.3 days to complete. This highlights a real issue when speed is of the essence in order to get the property back in use.

Take speed of decoration, for example. With even the smallest of jobs there can often be a wait time between repairing a hole or damage to a wall and it then being ready for decorating. Often, tradespeople have to wait around for a number of hours before they can continue the work, or in some cases, they leave site moving onto another job, meaning they will have to return another day to complete the repair. As well as extending the void period, this also contributes to increased labour costs. This is where choosing the right plaster products can make a real difference. 

Void Maintenance in residential housing

Addressing the challenge with innovative products

There are a number of innovative plaster products available that have been developed to address these challenges. Our Gyproc EasiFill 60, for example, will dry in an hour or less before it is then ready to be sanded and decorated. Alternatively, Thistle Universal OneCoat is also ideal for filling larger holes and chasing in, saving valuable time on site as it only requires one coat for levelling and finishing.

When it comes to finding a durable skim finish plaster, ThistlePro DuraFinish increases damage resistance by 60%. More hardwearing than standard plaster, the robustness of the product provides excellent resistance to glancing impacts or accidental damage such as scratching, gouging or chipping. Application is easy as it can be used on plasterboard or undercoat plasters, or for re-plastering and repair work on previously finished walls.

For smaller patching and repair jobs, such as filling holes around window and door replacements, shorter set undercoat plasters are ideal. Our innovative Thistle Bonding 60 is designed to provide a consistent setting time of just 60 minutes which means patching and repair jobs can be completed in half the time compared to using standard undercoat plaster, without compromising on the quality. 

Affordable housing landlords are always on the look-out for more efficient practices for void repairs and maintenance, as this can have a fundamental effect on tenant satisfaction and budgeting. By introducing the latest plaster products to your RMI process, you can make a real difference to void turn-around times, reduce disruption to residents and enable properties to be re-occupied as soon as possible. 

Void Maintenance in residential housing

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