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Golden Lane Housing – Striving to improve

Since Construction Industry News last caught up with Golden Lane Housing last year the Manchester-based organisation has again been striving to further improve its service by developing its own in-house works team to carry out repairs to a cross-section of its properties in the north of the country.

“Whereas we previously had to contract repairs work out, we took the decision to better utilise the skills we have within the organisation to bring this element in-house so we weren’t having to rely on third parties,” explains Mark Felton, Maintenance & Compliance Manager. “To build further on the existing team we have added three new members of staff to cover the three key areas where the service is being provided: the North-West and Greater Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, and Derby. We’ve also got a new team leader who will be managing the project for us over the next 12 months. It’s been 14 months in the planning and I’m truly delighted our new in-house repairs service has become a reality.”

In terms of the motivation behind the creation of the new in-house repairs team, an unrelenting focus on ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction was the principle driver. “Some of the contractors we were using weren’t achieving the customer satisfaction levels we wanted,” adds Mr Felton. “After taking our customer feedback onboard we soon realised there was room for improvement so set about developing an in-house service that would deliver to the standard we were looking for. Along the way we’ve involved our customers, who have had an important input in a number of areas, and by listening and involving them their support has been a great help in making the necessary changes. As a result of this level of interaction and customer involvement, very quickly we’ve been able to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction and compliments, which is great.

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The amount of progress Golden Lane Housing has been able to achieve in such a short period of time is all the more impressive given the relatively small size of the organisation, testament to the efforts of its workforce. “The nucleus of people that we employ and their ‘can do’ attitude has been absolutely vital. They all constantly try and make our customers’ experience better, regularly going above and beyond what’s expected. They never just stop at what is satisfactory, they endeavour to achieve much more. This was underlined in the pilot for the in-house repairs team, as they previously didn’t have much knowledge about what setting up such an organisation entailed. Even in the face of this lack of experience, they learnt very quickly and understood the need to continually improve, which has led to us growing significantly in terms of numbers. This is credit to our leadership team and the reason we’re all here trying to drive our service further.”

“We’re working alongside British Gas to develop some schemes in terms of new opportunities for grants and heating requirements. We’ve put in some air source and ground source heat pumps in and are increasingly looking at the efficiencies of our properties in more depth. This is something that we are definitely more proactive about moving forward, whereas in the past we’ve probably been slightly guilty of being reactive and sitting back.”

Mark Felton, Maintenance & Compliance Manager

Having so successfully implemented the new in-house repairs team, moving forward Golden Lane Housing will be looking to further develop its capabilities, while it is also increasingly exploring its operations within the energy efficient market, as Mr Felton outlines: “We’re working alongside British Gas to develop some schemes in terms of new opportunities for grants and heating requirements. We’ve put in some air source and ground source heat pumps in and are increasingly looking at the efficiencies of our properties in more depth. This is something that we are definitely more proactive about moving forward, whereas in the past we’ve probably been slightly guilty of being reactive and sitting back. With British Gas’ knowledge and experience in that sector they’re starting to take us forward, which is pleasing to see, as they’re really interested in us as a business, despite the fact we’re a relatively small operation with just over 680 properties. They listen to us, get involved and are opening doors to new opportunities for us. That’s great to see and I can’t thank them enough in terms of their service and the fact that they work so closely with our plant team.”

With the creation of its own in-house repairs team and a burgeoning relationship with British Gas, it looks like Golden Lane Housing’s residents can look forward to an ever-improving service in the months ahead.