The dollshouse voids challenge, stock condition surveys and partnerships at Housing 24

About this event

Last week the team had the pleasure of attending the 3-day epic that was Housing 24. The event brought together industry leaders, innovators, and experts from across the housing sector. We were thrilled to show off our three products on our new stand which became the envy of our neighbours and a great talking point for everyone who visited us on our stand. 

Over the three days, we spoke to hundreds of people across the housing sector, including housing associations, local authorities, suppliers, and residents. All were keen to learn more about Repairs, Voids and Evidence and we were understandably pleased to hear that our products are solving the everyday challenges of housing and repairs managers.

Did you take us up on the voids challenge?

People from many parts of the housing sector took us up on the Voids challenge, devised and manned by our Lead Software Engineer, Ben. For those of you who were keen to find out what happened to our dollshouse, it was donated to a local charity, Noah’s Ark Children’s Venture to be part of their new Little Flowers Club, an extra-curricular club for SEN children. 

Our pulse check at Housing 24 showed that many social housing providers are deeply uncomfortable with their current voids situation, with many citing that they didn’t feel “in control” of their backlog.

If you missed an opportunity to partake in the Voids challenge, we were asking everyone to prioirtise a set of homes based on their outstanding jobs and turn around times.

What struck us was the number of social housing providers prioritising backwards—doing the most difficult firstmost-difficult-first or, as it’s also known, first-in-first-out. 

Made Tech, by default, optimises your voids backlog to maximise the number of people housed. It can be set up to support (what we call) the “A-team model”, where the voids team goes around together in a van or as discrete jobs through a dynamic scheduler. In addition, the demands feature can enable teams to reprioritise based on high-priority housing needs from their social housing waitlists.

We deeply believe that the industry-wide goal should be to maximise the number of people in homes. We think the last 4 years, struggling with the effects of COVID, have created unique challenges in the voids space. These challenges can’t be tackled with the same approach that providers have always followed. We now struggle to see how providers can grapple with their backlogs and deliver on this without changing their approach. 

Our special guest, Laura Kennard

We were also lucky enough to be joined by Laura Kennard, Housing IT Programme Manager at London Borough of Redbridge. We’ve worked with Laura and her team over the past 18 months following the successful deployment of our Repairs product within their housing service area, which provides a self-service repair reporting option for residents.

Laura was on hand to answer delegate questions about working with us, and the results Repairs has achieved for Redbridge around increased resident satisfaction and improved first-time fix rates.

We are very grateful for Laura’s time and hope that she or one of our other clients will join us in the future at our upcoming housing events.

Connecting with partners and new suppliers

It was also great to see some familiar faces from partners we are working with on our other clients such as ROCC, MoreIQ and GovMetric – as well as meeting new suppliers who echoed our thoughts on how working together is the best way to serve our customers. We’re pleased that everyone agreed that open APIs and interoperability are key to serving our customers better, rather than building isolated systems.

Another hot topic was stock condition surveys in light of the Building Safety Act. 

We know missed appointments and scheduling them can burden providers working through their inspections backlog. Our Repairs product can meet these challenges by automating booking, resident engagement notifications and amendments to appointments. 

We’ll discuss how we’re tackling a few other challenges in this space very soon.

Looking ahead

If you didn’t get a chance to speak with us in person at Housing 24, we’ll also be at The Housing Community Summit in September and LGA in October. We look forward to continuing these important conversations and exploring new ways to innovate and collaborate within the housing sector. If you want to get in touch, email david.eaton@madetech.com

Read more about SaaS products

Online housing repairs reporting: why no login is the right fix

If you’re thinking of putting in place an online housing repair service, it’s time to weigh up the pros and cons of having a login.

Read more

How we’re shaping our Housing Repairs product to address communal repair needs

Since releasing our Housing Repairs SaaS product in March, we’ve been working to extend the product’s functionality. In the last few weeks we’ve added support for communal repairs. 

Read more