Changes to the delivery of repairs, maintenance and improvement services for council housing from 1 April 2020 were agreed at a special Housing & New Homes Committee on 26 September 2018 and the council’s Policy, Resources & Growth Committee on 11 October 2018.

The changes include bringing responsive repairs and empty property services in-house following the end of the partnership contract with Mears on 31 March 2020.

We consulted tenants, leaseholders and other stakeholders about their experiences and the focus of the future services, as well as working with staff and councillors to develop the options. The feedback set out several key objectives for the services, including:

  • excellent customer service
  • the ability to self-serve
  • a strong focus on maintaining existing assets
  • a clear demonstration of value for money
  • added economic, social and environmental benefits for the city

The plans for the delivery of the services are to:

  • deliver customer service and quality assurance services in-house
  • perform responsive repairs and empty property refurbishment works to council housing through an in-house team 
  • set up at least one contract to provide planned maintenance and improvement programmes
  • set up a multi-contractor framework agreement for major capital projects
  • continue to deliver specialist work (such as lifts and adaptations) through individual contracts

We are working with a group of residents on developing new contracts for planned maintenance and improvement programmes, setting up a framework for major capital projects and establishing in-house services to deliver customer service, quality assurance and our responsive repairs and empty properties service.

Key points

  • To request a repair, you still call the same freephone number 0800 052 6140 or, if calling from a mobile, 01273 294409.
  • Vans are council-branded and all staff will carry identity cards.
  • We’ll still have contracts for ‘specialist’ services such as asbestos management, larger repairs, drainage, glazing repairs and scaffolding. We estimate that 20% of responsive repairs and 50% of empty property work will be sub-contracted.
  • We will continue to deliver a similar level of apprenticeships. We’re also planning to offer apprenticeships and learning opportunities for supervisors, quality assurance and other staff. We will be seeking apprenticeships through the planned maintenance and improvement programmes and major capital projects. This will be delivered as part of the social value requirements in the proposed contracts.

Planned maintenance and improvement programmes

Contracts for the below programmes will be split into ‘lots’ and delivered through several contracts directly managed by the council.

  • Kitchen and bathroom replacements
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • External and internal repairs and decorations
  • Rewiring
  • Roof replacements

We completed our procurement process in October 2021 and selected our preferred contractors through a robust and thorough bidding process.

We believe these competitively-procured long term agreement contracts offer the best value for money for the council and leaseholders and provide opportunities for small and medium-sized local businesses.

Our consultation with leaseholders regarding the contractors in five of the six lots ran from 21 October to 20 November 2020. We didn't consult leaseholders on the proposed contractor for kitchen and bathroom replacements as this contract only concerns tenanted properties.

The contracts are now in place and run until January 2026, with an option to extend for a further two years.

The contractors for each lot are listed below. 

  • Lot 1: Kitchen and bathroom replacement - Breyer Group plc
  • Lot 2: External and internal repairs and decorations - Breyer Group plc
  • Lot 3: Window replacement - The AD Construction Group Ltd
  • Lot 4: Roof replacement - Breyer Group plc
  • Lot 5: Door replacements (flats and street property doors) - The AD Construction Group Ltd
  • Lot 7: Communal and domestic rewires - DEH Electrical Contractors Ltd

Major capital work

Major capital work will be delivered under a multi-contractor ‘framework agreement’. This means that we will work directly with a number of pre-approved contractors, who will compete for each piece of work as it comes in.

The framework agreement should help us deliver:

  • good value for money, which we’ll test on a project-by-project basis
  • strong relationships with several contractors, leading to a good understanding of requirements and consistent service delivery
  • opportunities for the local suppliers to tender for work
  • sustained performance due to incentives for contractors to remain competitive for the work awarded by mini-competitions 

We’ve now carried out a procurement evaluation process and prepared proposals on the various contracts.

The framework is set up with two ‘lots’ – Lot 1 is for works up to and including £300,000 and Lot 2 is for works over £300,000.

There are six places on each lot, and contractors were limited to apply for inclusion on only one of the lots.

Lot 1 proposed contractors (project value equal to or less than £300,000)

  • BCS Robertson
  • Colours Building Ltd
  • Fowler Building Contractors 
  • Jove Group Ltd
  • Lee Sullivan Contract Flooring Ltd
  • Logic Contract Services

Lot 2 proposed contractors (project value greater than £300,000)

  • Cosmur Construction Ltd 
  • KSD Support Services Ltd
  • Mears Ltd
  • Niblock (Builders) Ltd.
  • Stack London Ltd 
  • Westridge Construction Limited

Five of the contractors in Lot 1 and two of the contractors in Lot 2 are Sussex-based. Ten of the 12 contractors are small or medium size enterprises (SME’s).

The framework will last for four years and all projects let through it will be subject to a mini-competition between the six contractors in the relevant lot.

Each contractor will be invited to submit a proposal for an individual project, with the value of the project determining the lot used. The proposals will be evaluated to determine the best value for money submission on a project by project basis.

Further consultation will be carried out for any work where the expected cost to leaseholders is over £250, as part of the consultation requirements in section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

We’re currently carrying out the next stage of leaseholder consultation on the proposals ahead of establishing the frameworks. 

Once in place, the framework agreement should be a quick and relatively simple process for awarding contracts for projects. The first projects are expected to begin later this spring.