Friday 16 December 2011
VPS helps Bolton charity deliver home improvements
Bolton at Home is a registered charity that owns and manages 18,000 social housing properties. Over the next five years, Bolton at Home’s staff will make £124 million of improvements to their homes and estates, as well as other disadvantaged areas in the borough. They do this by working in partnership with Bolton Council and many other agencies.
Before a new tenant moves in, Bolton at Home has to ensure that the property is cleared of rubbish, made secure if necessary, and then cleaned. This process can leave a property empty for a while making it a possible target for criminals. To reduce that risk, Bolton at Home needs to make sure its homes are properly secured.
Bolton at Home appointed VPS on an ongoing contract basis valued at £650,000 per annum to provide a range of responsive, cost-effective vacant property services.
Once a property is empty, VPS clears the property and garden of general rubbish. Additional services, such as fumigations, needle sweeps and graffiti removal, are available if needed. If necessary, VPS then makes the property secure using a combination of physical and electronic security, both of which are quick to install, and can be deployed rapidly.
For some vacant properties, VPS provides close-weave, minimum-vision net curtains, installed internally, to make the property look occupied. Where there’s a higher risk of criminal activity, windows can be fitted with discrete polymer screens or more substantial steel screens to limit damage or stop intruders gaining access.
Electronic security, such as the VPS Alarm, can also be rapidly deployed to provide instant security. Sensors provide immediate detection and report on a range of incidents including intruders, flooding and fire. Entirely free-standing, they use wireless GSM mobile phone technology and a long life battery so mains power or phone lines are not required.
Before the new tenant arrives, VPS returns to the property to remove the security measures and clean it after any remedial work has been completed.
VPS completes on average 80 ‘clear and cleans’ a week for Bolton at Home, often with a 24 hour turnaround, and an average of 20 security jobs a week. VPS has been providing Bolton at Home with security services since July 2008 and undertaking ‘clear and cleans’ since December 2009.
Quarterly review meetings ensure agreed standards are being met in line with the expectations of Bolton at Home and its tenants.
Mark Delaney, Senior Project Manager at Bolton at Home, said: “Employing specialists such as VPS helps us better manage our empty properties and reduce the amount of time they stand unoccupied. Good communication is important. VPS have been able to ensure that over 99% of our properties are cleared, secured and cleaned within the agreed time frame.”