SDoY Maintenance Study

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This study was developed by Sust. as part of the Sustainable Designs on You Programme, following a number of requests by housing associations to produce more guidance and training for maintenance staff.

Over the last decade many housing associations (Registered Social Landlords – RSLs) have been applying sustainable development principles to their new build programmes. Through training courses run by Sust., SHARE and the SFHA a general level of awareness of sustainability exists within RSLs and that applying sustainable development principles to new build programmes is relatively easy. The word ‘relatively’ is important as there remain issues concerning cost implications and varying levels of skill within the design professions and in the construction industry. However, there is a perception that the application of sustainable development principles to maintenance is considerably more difficult both in terms of day to day repairs and of longer term cyclical maintenance programmes.

The starting point was the latest version of the ‘Sustainable Housing Design Guide 1 and interviews were carried out with maintenance and/or development staff of the RSLs that featured in the case study section of the Design Guide. These were RSLs that had already undertaken innovative environmental projects. This study aimed to examine to what extent the thinking about environmental sustainability present in their capital projects had permeated into maintenance. The study also involved a number of RSLs that do not feature in the ‘Sustainable Housing Design Guide’, but have taken part in Sust. programmes such as training courses and study tours. In all, twenty six housing associations across Scotland have been interviewed.

The report makes recommendations to:

  1. the Government that it should take a more interventionist role to ensure that all RSLs have a more pro-active approach to sustainability;
  2. the RSLs that they should ensure that maintenance teams are properly integrated into their sustainability programmes;
  3. Sust. that it should provide a greater leadership role in sustainable maintenance involving information and training.

This study was carried out by Misia Jack and Raymond Young for Sust. as part of the Sustainable Designs on You Programme.

Copies of the Final Report and Summary document can be downloaded by clicking links opposite.

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