Simon Parry takes a look at why housing providers are choosing consultants to carry out their stock condition surveys rather than keeping the work in-house?
“After carrying out research we have found that the vast majority of our clients do not possess the in-house resources or relevant skills to undertake a stock condition survey and therefore find it necessary to use external consultants. A clients choice of consultant is essential for the successful and harmonious delivery of the survey and the reporting there of, and to that, they should be extremely careful in their selection and procurement procedures. For the last 5 years of my career at Pennington, it has been my responsibility for the management and delivery of all stock condition surveys for a variety of clients such as Social Housing Providers and a number of Local Authorities providing nationwide coverage.”
There are many reasons to why clients require a stock condition survey, these can range from:
- General asset management
- Long term financial/strategic planning
- Stock Transfer
The role of the consultant within this process is to aid the client in achieving their required outcomes and to assist them in understand how they can achieve it and once achieved how they can use that data in a useful and productive way. When planning to undertake a stock condition survey, there are a number of different things which need to be considered to ensure that the information which is being collected is useful, meaningful and what was intended. Due to the vast quantity of information which can potentially be gathered during a stock condition survey, the consultant needs to be well organised have a sound surveying methodology and a clear understanding of the client’s requirements.
“It is essential therefore to select the right people. As I have said previously, many of our clients do not have the right skill set or resources available in-house to undertake a stock condition survey. Therefore the correct choice of consultant is critically important to the success of failure or the stock condition survey, with this in mind it is essential that the client has a robust selection and procurement process and is not guided purely by price, but takes everything that each consultancy can offer into account.”
We all know that clients have a limited budget available in order to carry out stock condition surveys an in fact most of the time this helps to define the scope of the survey. However, if the client wants the consultant to deliver accurate and meaningful data and for a reasonable fee, it is essential that the client provides a clear and concise scope of the works required.
This clarity of brief you would imagine, would be the corner stone of any tender document, however you would not believe the number of tenders that Pennington receives where the tender documents are so vague and poorly written that it is so difficult to ascertain what the client really wants or needs.”