Case Study

ForHousing transforms the way its assets are managed

ForHousing, an MRI Asset Management customer for nearly ten years, is now experiencing an improved, strategic view of its assets.

MRI Housing Asset Management is the software solution of choice for housing asset management and IT professionals as it’s designed to transform the way stock is managed. It’s currently being used to manage over 900,000 properties across the UK.

A module within MRI Housing Asset Management solution, Options Appraisal is an active asset management tool for use with existing housing stock. It enables a more strategic view of housing asset management and provides stock viability assessments. ForHousing can as a result make informed and transparent decisions regarding the sustainability of stock, including future spend, redevelopment or disposal for single dwellings up to entire estates or areas. This effectively saves time and money, as manual efforts are reduced.

Real time strategic stock performance management

With active asset management becoming increasingly important across the housing industry, partially due to legislation (HCA Value for Money and Governance and Financial Viability Standard), ForHousing required a strategic solution to monitor the performance of its stock from a financial perspective. The solution needed to be a reliable option that could provide immediate benefits and comply with the regulations.

Having viewed other third party offerings, ForHousing decided on Options Appraisal as it’s the only ​​solution currently on the market that is automated. Others still use static loads into Excel spreadsheets and are not fluid in terms of completed schemes or packages of work plus no others offer the capability of scenario modelling. Option Appraisal, however, allows ForHousing to bring in information directly from the survey module. Survey information itself is updated automatically once work on a location in a project is marked as complete. Therefore, as work is completed on a project, not only is the survey data updated but this new information about their stock, is available immediately for NPV (Net Present Value) calculations.

Intelligent decision making and ability to stress test business planning

Commenting on the impact of Options Appraisal, David Lowe, Asset Manager at ForHousing said,

“Prior to using MRI Housing Asset Management, our data was held in our housing system and in various spreadsheets which made dealing with compliance, decent homes calculations and asbestos time consuming and cumbersome. As with the other modules, Options Appraisal has not only saved us time and effort but has also provided the ability to assess stock performance and analyse reasons for poor performance, all from the same master set of data.”

Options Appraisal has also provided valuable support for financial stress testing and allows ForHousing to take an intelligence lead approach to stock investment. In addition, it helps ForHousing decide if a project is worthwhile before sending anything out to tender.

John Buckland, Head of Asset Management at MRI Software commented,

“At MRI, we understand the importance of having a single version of the truth and our integrated asset management system ensures this across all modules, including Options Appraisals. A robust system is required when analysing thousand of properties with multiple factors across many years with different scenarios and stress testing assumptions for interest rates, inflation etc. Retaining and comparing the results of scenario analyses is vital.”

Enriching the solution Building on its initial use of Options Appraisal, ForHousing now incorporate social factors such as turnover, lettability, crime and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). This has given a more holistic view of how the stock is performing. ForHousing now use these scores/ratings to target investment in properties with the aim of making them more sustainable​. ​​They call this the ‘Sustainability Project’.

ForHousing also use the NPV and Combined Ratings for other councils such as Cheshire, analysing their stock and producing reports/presentations on how their stock performs. ForHousing can then give them different scenarios and recommendations on how they too can improve their stock performance.

 

 

ForHousing is a social purpose business. Established in June 2015, ForHousing has brought together City West Housing Trust, Villages Housing Association, ForLiving and property services firm Liberty under a group structure that owns and manages 24,000 homes across the North West.

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