The Connexus Standard and the Decent Home Standard - how do we compare?

Closeddate_range20 Jul, 2021, 3:45pm - 7 Aug, 2021, 6:00pm

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Below we are sharing our revised Connexus Standards, which sets out how we plan improvements and works and go above and beyond the government set Decent Home Standards

We would like you to tell us how you feel about this policy, does it explain clearly our goals? Is the language used correct and easy to understand? Do you think we do enough to meet the Decent Homes Standard? 

Please click on make a response and tell us your thoughts. Comment on each part or just pick a part that matter the most to you. Or if you don't want to do this online, you can call us on 03332 31 32 33 and ask for Simone Mansbridge who will be able to support you and gather your feedback. Either way, we really want to hear from you. We really want to know if our strategy and objectives make sense, and if they focus on what matters to you, our customer.

 

Connexus Standard

All housing associations have to ensure that all their homes met the Government’s Decent Homes Standard, originally published in 2006, which sets out the basic maintenance and repair standards that all housing association homes must meet.

The standard, covered in more detail below, sets out age and condition related criteria for components against which to assess whether a home complies with the standard.

Components such as kitchen and bathrooms continue to age, however, and for that reason Connexus have an ongoing programme of component replacement to ensure that we continue to achieve 100% compliance with the standard.

The decent homes standard is not, however, specific beyond age, adequacy and health and safety standards. Compliance areas, like gas safety, are covered by different legislation and other areas, such as estate improvements or painting and decorating, are matters of best practise and landlords discretion.

Connexus have for a long time strived to achieve and maintain Decent Home compliance for all its homes. As part of this we aim to undertake stock condition surveys of 20% of our homes each year.  The results from this will help inform our Asset Management Strategy and guide the decision when to replace a component. Up to Date stock condition data is essential to ensure that components are replaced on time; not too early so as to waste resources, or too late so as to lead to the potential for Decent Homes Standard failure.

As part of ensuring that investment standards are consistent across all parts of Connexus, it has been decided to review our standard for investment work – an investment standard –allowing stakeholders to be involved in the review and against which the quality of our investment beyond the statutory minimum can be assessed.

The document is not intended to be a technical standards document and does not cover detailed specifications or design, rather the core principles of our investment programme.

Internal Improvements

Kitchens

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus plus standard

The Government Decent Homes Standard is to replace every 30 years if it is in poor condition.

 

The Connexus standard is to:

  • Replace the kitchen every 20 years if it is in poor condition

 

  • New base and wall units with a choice of colours and handles
  • Stainless steel sink and lever mixer tap
  • Minimum 38mm worktop with a choice of colours
  • Ceramic tiled splash backs between worktops and wall units and behind the cooker space, with a choice of colours
  • Non slip vinyl  floor covering in a choice of colours
  • Energy efficiency lighting
  • Removal of old pantries if possible
  • Space for modern appliances where possible
  • Relocation and provision of new electric sockets
  • A humidistat controlled extractor fan if not already fitted to help reduce condensation
  • Redecoration
  • Re-fitting and plumbing of tenant’s own appliances
  • All new kitchens will be designed in full consultation with you to ensure we meet your individual needs.
  • Instal disabled aids to your kitchen if required, please discuss this with one of our team and we will undertake this at the time of the installation

Bathrooms

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

The Government Decent Homes Standard is to replace every 40 years if it is in poor condition.

 

The Connexus standard is to:

  • Replace the bathroom every 30 years if it is in poor condition

 

  • Bathrooms will be designed to meet your needs including fitting a deck mixer shower to the bath
  • Where a full bathroom is required a white bathroom suite will be fitted, unless some components are modern in which case a partial installation may be appropriate
  • Ceramic tiled splash backs and shower area as appropriate, with a choice of colours.
  • Non slip vinyl floor covering in a choice of colours
  • An upgrade of electrics to modern standards
  • A humidistat controlled extractor fan if not already fitted to help reduce condensation
  • Decoration
  • Instal disabled aids to your bathroom if required, please discuss this with one of our team and we will undertake this at the time of the installation

Electrical wiring, switches and sockets

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

The Government Decent Homes Standard is to replace every 30 years if it is in poor condition.

 

The Connexus standard is to:

  • Replace the wiring every 30 years if it is in poor condition

 

  • Electrical rewires are undertaken as appropriate but we will ensure that the wiring is safe and that you have the agreed number of electrical sockets and switches that will ensure you have a modern electrical property
  • Light switches will be placed at a height of 1200mm above the floor, sockets placed at 450 mm above the floor and the consumer unit (Fuse board) will be set at 1500mm where possible
  • We will instal the wiring in plastic conduits which will be fixed to the surface of the wall but will not disturb your decoration or if you wish for the wiring to be hidden in the wall we will chase this in and plaster over it but you will need to decorate afterwards
  • We will undertake an electrical periodic test on your home every five years to ensure that your electrical system remains safe

Heating system, gas, electrical, renewable

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

The Government Decent Homes Standard is to replace:

Gas boilers every 15 years

Heating wet systems every 40 years

Electric heating every 30 years

Heat pumps there is no decent homes standard

 

The Connexus standard is to:

 

  • Gas boilers every 15 years if it is in poor condition
  • Heating wet systems every 30 years if it is in poor condition
  • Electric heating every 30 years if it is in poor condition
  • Heat pumps every 15 years if it is in poor condition

 

  • Gas boilers replaced with A rated condensing boilers either as a combi system to smaller properties and system boilers to larger properties
  • Solid fuel heating systems replaced with gas or electric systems such as an air source heat pump
  • Replace the complete wet central heating system
  • Replace storage heaters with energy efficient modern equivalents such as high heat retention heaters, plus a review of loft insulation levels
  • Thermostatic radiator valves fitted as standard
  • We will consider the use of more sustainable heating systems such as solar heating, ground and air source heat pumps
  • We will make sure that you have the correct electric meter to run your new electric heating system
  • Annual gas safety checks and boiler service

External Improvements

Windows

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

The Government Decent Homes Standard is to replace every 40 years if it is in poor condition.

 

The Connexus standard is to:

 

  • Replace the windows every 30 years if it is in poor condition

 

  • u-PVC as standard with trickle ventilation included to help reduce condensation
  • Double glazing as standard
  • High security latching systems
  • Internally beaded glazing for added security
  • Openings with the facility to be locked in an ‘ajar’ position
  • A choice of pattern or obscure glass
  • Windows to be draught proofing
  • An option to replace sliding patio doors with French doors, or vice versa
  • Redecoration of window reveals or trims as required

External Door Replacement

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

The Government Decent Homes Standard is to replace every 30 years if it is in poor condition.

 

The Connexus standard is to:

 

  • Replace the doors every 25 years if it is in poor condition

 

  • When replacing external doors, we will use a PVC/Composite door and frame including any side lights if already fitted unless it is in a conservation area, but will consult with you
  • Be offered a choice of door design and colour for the front door and a 2XG rear door in white
  • Double glazing with internal glazing beading for added security
  • Multi point high security locking systems with lever handles, door pull, spy hole, numbering and letter plate
  • Instal disabled aids if required, please discuss this with one of our team and we will undertake this at the time of the installation because some disabled aids require to be fitted when the door is manufactured

Roof structure, coverings and chimneys, external walls

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

The Government Decent Homes Standard is to replace every 50 years if it is in poor condition.

 

The Connexus standard is to:

 

  • Replace the roof covering and chimney every 60 years if it is in poor condition
  • External wall re-pointing every 80 years if in poor condition
  • External wall finish every 60 years if in poor condition

 

  • Replace the roof timber battens, instal a roof felt, new roof tiles or slates and all rainwater gutters
  • All fascia’s and soffits to be replaced with u-PVC as standard
  • Loft insulation to be topped up to a minimum depth of 300mm. This will mean that you must remove any items stored in the loft so that the loft insulation can be laid

 

  • Where chimneys are redundant, we will take down, tile over and vent the chimney stack internally

 

  • Re-point the brickwork with matching cement sand

 

  • Renew the cement sand render with a new through colour render

 

 

Cyclical Pre-Decoration Repairs and Decorating

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

  • There is no Government standard
  • All pre-decoration repairs will be completed to any area to be painted prior to the decorating commencing
  • External painting undertaken on a 5 year cycle. Customers will be given a choice of colours where applicable when we decorate including a choice of colours
  • Communal areas will be painted every 5 years at the same time of the external decoration. Where there is a choice of colours customers will be consulted and the majority colour choice will be used to paint surfaces. We will ensure that the painting scheme matches the Disabled Discrimination Act requirements and meets the latest fire precaution recommendations

Environmental Improvements

Environmental Improvements – Estates

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

There is no Government standard

 

  • Undertake estate inspections along with the Housing team and with residents to improve your estate
  • Improved or additional car parking, bin stores
  • Landscaping external areas to improve the look and feel of an estate, additional fencing
  • Security improvements for example, lighting, footpaths

Environmental Improvements – Communal Areas

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

There is no Government standard

 

  • Undertake communal inspections along with the Housing team and with residents to improve communal areas
  • New flooring, painting
  • Security improvements for example, additional lighting, door entry systems

Health and Safety

Asbestos Management

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

There is no Government standard

  • Undertake an asbestos survey of your home prior to any improvement works being completed.
  • This survey will normally involve an intrusive survey where we will open up elements to establish if there is any asbestos presence within the element or behind it
  • We normally leave any asbestos in place if we find it and manage it while it remains there. All asbestos and its location is recorded on our asbestos management system

Servicing – Gas appliances

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

  • There is no Government standard
  • Undertake a service of your gas boiler every year. We will leave a copy of the gas service report with you and organise any repairs that are require. If you have installed your own appliance it will be your responsibility to service and maintain it

Servicing – Periodic Electrical Testing Safety Checks

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

  • There is no Government standard
  • Undertake a periodic electrical inspection test of your home every 5 years. This will ensure that it is safe and meets any relevant standards that are currently in place

Servicing – Fire Risk Assessments of Communal Areas

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

  • There is no Government standard
  • Undertake an annual fire risk assessment of all communal stairwells and complexes to ensure that they meet the current fire standards. Any changes required to meet the standards will be undertaken and all residents notified of the work

Adaptations

Adaptations

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

  • There is no Government standard
  • Undertake adaptations up to £1,000 for you without the need to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) which is issued through the Local Authority. Minor adaptations up to a value of £500 we will undertake without the need for an Occupational Therapist (OT) report Those over £500 and up to £1,000 we will require an OT report
  • If there is a medical need and you are due to receive an internal improvement, we will carry out adaptations to your home, for example a walk in shower
  • If you are not due an internal improvements but still require an adaptation over £1,000 you will need to apply for a DFG through the Local Authority

Consultation

Customer Consultation

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

  • There is no Government standard
  • We will consult with customers through Customer Focus groups. This will involve discussing various aspects of the work we undertake and the focus group will then help shape this
  • Where we undertake improvements to your home and there are choices we will consult with you and agree the choices you require with you before we commence the work

Leaseholder Consultation

Decent Homes Standard

Connexus standard

  • There is no Government standard
  • We will consult with Leaseholders in accordance with the Section 20 Leasehold Consultation. This is a legally prescribed way of consulting with Leaseholders when we intend to undertake works to the blocks and communal areas of flatted accommodation where there are Leaseholders.
  • This consultation Process has three stages:

 

  1. A notice of Intention to do the work
  2. Notifications of estimates obtained
  3. Notification of award of the Contract

 

  • We undertake this process so that Leaseholders are aware of the work we intend to undertake and to inform them that they will be charged
  • When we undertake work, we will only charge Leaseholders in accordance with their individual lease. It is recommended that all Leaseholders understand Connexus’s and also their own obligations under the lease
  • When we undertake work to blocks and communal areas, we intend on being Proactive, we do not wait until a component fails completely before replacing it. For example, we will not wait until a roof starts leaking before we replace it (Listed above are the timescales when we replace components)

Themes

internal improvements
external improvements
kitchen and bathroom