Strengthening our responsive service in Scotland

  01 SEPTEMBER, 2017
Strengthening our responsive service in Scotland

We recently signed a four-year contract with Bridgewater Housing Association, strengthening our responsive service in Scotland.

Bridgewater Housing Association is a charitable social enterprise which provides housing and services at an affordable price to people on low incomes. The association manages around 850 social rented properties and provides a factoring service to nearly 2,700 owner occupiers.

Worth over £250,000 per year, the contract will entail us providing year-round reactive repair services to 1,500 properties managed by the housing association, with around 5,000 reactive repairs expected to be undertaken annually as part of the agreement. Such works will vary from general reactive jobs such as securing broken windows or doors, unblocking drains and fixing electrical failures, to routine planned projects.

The partnership with Bridgewater Housing Association will include the development of a bespoke IT interface between both of our management systems. This will allow for real-time updates in relation to repair progress and planning, providing residents with improved communication. Our team will also be getting involved in community events with the housing association over the course of the contract to ensure residents get to know and trust the team, in line with our values of authenticity and responsibility.

Gary Stapleton, Technical Services Manager at Bridgewater Housing Association, said “Choosing the right contractor to oversee our reactive and planned maintenance was vital. We needed to be confident of the team’s reliability and cost effectiveness, as well as the quality of their work as operatives will work closely with our residents so trust is essential.  

“We’re pleased to be working with Novus Property Solutions for the next four years and are confident that their work will provide a boost to our tenants and factored owners in Erskine and help us as we strive to deliver affordable homes to meet local needs.”

Derek Ferguson, strategic operations manager at Novus added: “As a company we have a long-standing history of supporting the areas in which we operate and the partnership with Bridgewater Housing Association is no exception. We are hopeful that the contract will create jobs for local people, with opportunities for both apprentices and experienced tradespeople alike and look forward to working closely with Bridgewater Housing Association and its residents.”

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DELIVERING ON OUR COMMITMENT TO IMPROVE PAYMENT PRACTICES

Ahead of the filing of our latest payment practice statistics, Neil Washington, our finance director, provides a breakdown of our results. Late payments are a thorn in the side of smaller firms in the construction supply chain. That’s why we have placed an ongoing focus on doing all we can to reduce the time we take to pay our suppliers. Quite rightly, the issue has attracted negative headlines in the construction industry and large companies are now required to report on their payment practices every six months. So, with the deadline for businesses to file their latest available data falling this week, some may be nervous about what the statistics will reveal. Here at Novus, however, we’re happy to report that our commitment to reducing payment times is continuing to bear fruit. The data for the first half of the year shows that we took an average of 29 days to pay our subcontractors. This is an improvement on the already high standard we set ourselves for the same period last year, which was 30 days. To put this in context, according to Construction News’ latest analysis of payment-practice reports, the industry’s largest contractors took an average of 43 days to pay suppliers. It’s not just there where we’ve continued to make improvements. We also now pay 57% of our invoices within 30 days, up from 52% for the first half of 2018, while the proportion of payments outside of terms are down year-on-year. Of course, our work doesn’t stop here and we will continue to focus on this issue. Contractors and their supply chains are dependent on each other’s success. Prompt payment means that subcontractors can maintain healthy cashflow levels, increasing the likelihood of them accepting more work and consistently carrying out quality jobs. Late payment can also have a massive impact on cashflow, increasing the likelihood of insolvency. At a time of skills shortages, reduced access to labour and economic uncertainty, it’s vital that bigger players in the industry are doing all they can to ease the burden smaller firms face.