Dublin Housing Maintenance Data

Report to the Chairman and Members of the Housing Social and Community Affairs Strategic Policy Committee

Housing Maintenance
Staffing and Financial Resources Report

Vincent Healy
Senior Executive Officer
December 2010

1. INTRODUCTION

The Housing Maintenance and Estate Management Section, Housing & Residential Services Department, carries out a wide variety of services, which can be summarised as follows –

• A repair and upkeep service to over 27,000 dwellings.

• Upkeep and repair of all public areas in and around complexes including open spaces, playgrounds, parking areas etc.

• Modernising of up to 700 vacant dwellings per annum prior to reletting.

• Provision of Caretaker service to approx. 12,000 flats / apartments.
• A planned programme of capital works including painting, installation of central heating, provision of new roofs to flat complexes, etc.

• Weekly removal of furniture / heavy goods / rubble abandoned in flat complexes and in their environs.
• Carrying out adaptation works for tenants with a disability including provision of ramps, handrails, level access showers, and construction of ground floor bedroom and bathroom extensions.

• Construction programme of additional bedrooms where there is overcrowding in a house.
• Civic Maintenance service providing maintenance and upkeep to all City Council buildings including offices, libraries, swimming pools etc.

• Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning service to all City Council buildings and maintenance service to all communal heating projects such as Older Persons complexes and the flat blocks in Ballymun.

• Overall management and policy role in Estate Management and Anti-Social Behaviour procedure.

2. STAFF RESOURCES
The following table sets out the current staff resources employed in the Housing Maintenance and Estate Management Section at November 2010 and comparable staff figures in July 2009.
GRADE
NUMBER OF STAFF
AT NOV 2010
NUMBER OF STAFF
AT JULY 2009
Area Maintenance Officers 13 16
Foremen 42 45
Chargehands 24 23
Trades 213 232
General Operatives 187 195
Sub Total 479 511
Caretaker Team Leaders 7 7
Caretaker Supervisors 3 3
Caretakers 160 170
Sub Total 170 180
Office Staff / Professional 23 28
Heating VAC Unit 18 21
Anti-Social Policy Unit 4 4
Wages/Finance Staff charged to Housing Maintenance 4
4
Sub Total 49 57
Less Staff retiring in Dec 2010 6

OVERALL TOTAL 692
748
Notes on Staff Resources
• The above table shows that over the period of 16 months from July 2009 to November 2010 that depot staff have reduced by 32, the Caretaking staff by 10 and that overall the Housing Maintenance and Estate Management service is being provided by 56 less staff.
• There are 13 staff who must retire in 2011 and there are 14 other staff who have the option to retire in 2011. It is anticipated that approx. 20 more staff will leave Housing Maintenance in during the course of next year.

3. FINANCE RESOURCES
The following table sets out the proposed revenue budget for 2011 in respect of Housing Maintenance and Estate Management and comparable figures for the 2010 budget –

SERVICE
Proposed BUDGET 2011
BUDGET 2010
Maintenance of Local Authority Units 46,005,513 48,777,555
Caretaking / Estate Management 8,148,157 8,229,335
Anti-Social Unit 411,781 300,000

TOTAL
54,565,451
57,306,890

Notes on Finance Resources
• The percentage reduction in the Maintenance budget is 5.7 %, the reduction in the Caretaking/Estate Management service is 1 % and overall the percentage reduction is 4.8 %.
• The increase in the costs of the Anti–Social Unit service is caused by an increase in legal costs due to a number of ongoing court actions.

4. MANAGEMENT OF SERVICE WITH REDUCED RESOURCES

• Some areas have been identified that will allow for savings in the Maintenance budget. There will be a significantly reduced cost for the provision of the lift service to the remaining ten Ballymun flat blocks as the contract is out to tender. In addition, savings have been achieved in the payment of service charges on apartment properties.
• Housing Maintenance will continue to look for efficiencies and value for money in the carrying out of its functions. However, there are areas where a cut-back in service will happen and they are set out below.
• Due to all area maintenance depot budgets being reduced significantly and the reduction in staff numbers, there will inevitably be delays in dealing with repair requests from tenants and delays in refurbishment of void properties by direct labour. Depots will be prioritising repair requests to ensure that emergency/urgent complaints are completed with as little delay as possible.
• The budget for contract maintenance has been significantly reduced. This budget allows for small contracted building and electrical works. Delays will occur in completing small specialist repair jobs that maintenance staff do not have the required expertise, such as the repair and replacement of cctv, the provision of railings, repairs to electronic gates, solar panels etc.
• The planned maintenance programme of painting of flat complexes will have to be phased over a longer period of time.
• Non-replacement of retired staff in the area of Estate Management will result in minimal service provision by the Caretaking section. Core work in flat complexes will continue, however, any additional services that have been provided in the past will be curtailed in 2011.

5. CAPITAL FUNDING – ADAPTATIONS / EXTENSIONS
• The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in its Social Housing Improvement Works Programme for 2010 allocated a total of € 1,750,000 to Dublin City Council for adaptations/extensions for tenants with a disability and for extensions to relieve overcrowding.
• In line with this funding, the Council drew up a priority programme of works to be carried out which included the installation of 70 level access showers, 24 stair lifts and 14 extensions in Council tenant properties. The programme has been ongoing through the year and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

• On notification from the Department of the allocation for these works for 2011, a new priority programme will be prepared by the Council. Aside from the above funding, Dublin City Council does not have any internal financial resources for the carrying out of these types of works.

6. CAPITAL FUNDING – VOIDS

• The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government approved the provision of € 7 million to the City Council for the retrofitting of void properties in 2010. However, this funding was conditional on the works being carried out that improve the energy efficiency BER rating of the property to a C1 standard, otherwise the Council may only recoup 50 % of the cost of the void works, subject to a maximum of € 15,000 per unit.
• Following representations to the Department, a revised circular was issued to local authorities approving the recoupment of up to € 35,000 for each long-term void property refurbished. Such refurbishment is not subject to the energy efficiency conditions set out above.
• This revised circular has allowed the Council to again engage contractors to refurbish void properties and there are approx. 120 void units currently being renovated.
• The Department has yet to notify the Council of the funding that will be available in 2011 under the retrofitting programme.