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Paul Reader, Partnerships Director, celebrates and reviews the highlights of NHMF conference

The National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) conference, dates back to 1994, and is dedicated to and run by housing maintenance professionals. The conference focusses on housing maintenance and asset management, and the key themes for the conference this year were:

  • Contract management and procurement – controlling cost and quality
  • Compliance – getting the balance right for risk, health and safety
  • Asset management – maintaining and improving the asset portfolio
  • New technology and innovation – driving service improvements
  • Skills shortage and worker health – flexible strategies for coping and improving

Over the two days I attended a couple of workshops which prompted an active discussion, while sharing best practice ideas and promoted new opportunities or services.

Workshop 1
The first workshop was “Fitness for Habitation legislation & the Housing Act 2018” including speakers from The Riverside Group and Brabners. It explored what ‘fit for human habitation’ means and assessed the current climate with a focus on trend analysis, external forces, regulatory issues and what type of tenancies the Act applies to. It also covered what the Act does, certain exemptions, potential battlegrounds and how to mitigate against claims by implementing strategic initiatives based on trend analysis and predictive modelling. There were particular lessons on disrepair trends and preventive maintenance that was very interesting, and we will share with our current clients.

Workshop 2
In the afternoon I attended the “Fire Safety Following Grenfell Tower: practical solutions for compliance, policy & legal risks”. The panel consisted of speakers from Anthony Collins Solicitors, National Housing Federation and Jacobs who discussed how fire safety issues continue to be a significant concern for all. The looked at how fire safety issues are multifaceted, combining legal rights and risks, policy considerations, and offered practical solutions. This interactive workshop used real life scenarios to discuss and explore key issues surrounding investigations and remediation of fire safety defects in social housing properties.

Conference dinner and awards
In the evening we attended the conference dinner and awards; these awards recognise success, ingenuity and highlights organisations who have raised the bar. It was a fantastic evening had by all, but most importantly it was great to celebrate the successes of everyone who was shortlisted and to the eventual winners. We were absolutely delighted to be awarded winners in the “Best contract” category for our work with Westminster City Council.

The following day, I spent some time on our exhibition stand meeting new and old clients while showcasing our “Data Insight Proposition”. We explained how our market leading software is collecting and using data more effectively to improve our customer’s experience and help inform investment decisions for our clients.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, it was great to connect with old clients and new, it has enhanced our knowledge and insight during the lively forums and workshops. We are looking forward to seeing everyone next year.

Paul Reader, Partnerships Director