Improving housing services is great, says Phil Russell, sales and marketing director, VINCI Facilities Building Solutions but it is the way that you do it that gets results.
Whatever part you play in the housing sector nowadays one crucial set of criteria everyone is judged is your behaviour. As the Fun Boy Three sang it used to be about the ‘way that you do it’, not ‘what’. Now, as society is far better informed and alert to how government and business behave, it is both.
Events like Homes UK are a great chance to show off innovation, but there is a risk they can be an echo chamber. We cannot forget that end users – tenants, homeowners and their landlords – care less about the various technical developments we are showcasing. These new whizzy ideas all happen behind the scenes. So, in the eyes of the average social housing tenant for example, they fail the ‘so what’ test. The virtual reality walk through is incredibly useful for planners, building solutions teams and local authority building control but the real test for the tenant is the quality of their home. Is it warmer, drier, less drafty and more energy efficient? Are their bills lower after improvement works delivered? Our innovations can make the build or refurbishment process slicker, more efficient and safer but unless the end product is judged a success by the tenant then we fail.
What we do is all about making a house or flat more of a home. It is about not just fixing windows, roofs or providing new bathrooms. It is about connecting with the people living in these buildings and making a life in their communities. So, responsible service providers working in the residential sector like VINCI Facilities Building Solutions must not lose sight of the demands of the end user. The ‘what’ we do is just as important as the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. That’s why we have always made a commitment to work in partnership with our client across the public and social housing sectors – no matter if it is Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Peabody, Cardiff City Council and Guinness.
Our reason for attending Homes UK is to put a marker down. We want people to know about what we do in the housing sector. But we also want people to know the way that we do it – the philosophy behind our way of working – and why VINCI Facilities Building Solutions is doing it in the first place. Yes, we are a private business working in the public sector, but our objective is to work for the public interest. We take responsibility. We work hard to do the right thing because we believe there is a moral duty to change people’s lives and deliver tangible social value. Our founding membership of Social Value UK is an indicator, but so is the many thousands of hours and cash money provided to support communities where we work. The best and most well know example is our support for Peabody’s Reading from the Start literacy programme – but everywhere we work we do something to make a difference. Because fundamentally, it is all about our behaviours as a whole. And that’s what gets results.
Hear more from VINCI Facilities Building Solutions this November at HOMES UK - visit them on stand H105 or catch Matt Hickman, Client relationship manager in the Insight Theatre at 14.00 on Wednesday 27 November.