Harnessing Data for Enhanced Property Management, Part 1

Harnessing Data for Enhanced Property Management: A Deeper Dive into a Key Theme from Homes UK (Part 1)

Leveraging Data and AI for the Future of Property Management

Data’s role in property management is transforming the sector. At the recent Homes UK exhibition, Rick Awdas, Commercial Manager, recognized data as one of the three pivotal themes. This article is a deeper exploration of that topic, examining how data drives decisions in property management.

Big data is revolutionizing how we understand and manage properties. It’s a tool for growth, efficiency, and resident-focused decision-making​​. In property management, decisions impact everything from amenities to customer service. Effective use of data ensures residents feel at home from their first interaction​​.

AI’s transformative power in property management is undeniable. It’s shaping how we work, consume data, and increase output​​. AI addresses the challenges of unstructured data, which has hindered digitization in the property sector​​. It enables fast, accurate decision-making, crucial in managing buildings and enhancing operational roles​​.

The benefits of AI extend across business areas, including marketing, client interactions, and supply chain management​​. AI’s general benefits include automation, data accuracy, process efficiency, and predictive analytics, all contributing to improved customer service and security​​.

This article will delve into how landlords and contractors can harness data and AI to elevate property management services. We’ll explore property values, repair costs, rental income, and how these factors influence investment and disposal decisions.

Data Collection by Social Landlords

Social landlords amass diverse data to guide their operations. This includes:

  • Stock Condition Surveys: Conducted typically every five years, these surveys assess the state of properties.
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys: These gauge tenant happiness with services like repairs.
  • Repairs Data: Information on repairs reported, completed, and time taken.
  • Rental Income Tracking: Monitoring income per property.
  • Investment History: Data from capital works programs, reflecting historic property investments.

Contractors’ Data Generation and Management

Contractors also play a key role in data generation:

  • Repairs Management: Data on identified issues, used parts, repair methods, and maintenance requirements.
  • Observational Insights: Engineers note property conditions and resident concerns during visits.
  • Individual Repair Feedback: Customer satisfaction for each repair job.

Problem Areas in Data Management

The Housing Ombudsman’s Spotlight report underscores a widespread issue in the housing sector: poor data and record-keeping, detrimentally affecting residents daily. Only 7% of respondents reported no problems with data access and usage. Two-thirds of upheld ombudsman cases involved issues with knowledge and information management, highlighting systemic data mismanagement’s adverse impact on residents​​.

Information mismanagement has led to significant issues, including financial losses and safety risks. Looking at appointments, Mr Blakeway said poor data and record-keeping is “ubiquitous” and what can seem like a minor administrative error can have a “profound human and organisational impact”.   As contractors working in residents homes we need to understand how data affects day-to-day repairs performance.  How information provided with repairs orders can improve the changes of completing a job first time and tailoring our service to meet a resident’s needs.  How the information we provide whilst completing the repair and afterwards can help the landlord to improve their services to all residents.

Complexities of Data Management in Housing Repairs

The social housing sector’s data management challenges are multifaceted, impacting the efficiency of repairs. Various software packages used to manage different activities lack interoperability. Some have one-way data flow capabilities, complicating the sharing of information between systems. This fragmentation is exacerbated when contractors and third-party organizations, each with their own data systems, come into play, adding layers of complexity to the data ecosystem​​.

Without robust and interconnected systems, landlords risk missing essential repairs and failing to address larger systemic issues. To improve, the sector must prioritize simplifying and consolidating its software systems to ensure all relevant data is easily accessible, cross-referenced, and actionable—ultimately enhancing the living conditions for residents and preventing future tragedies​​​​.

Enhancing Service Through Data Sharing

Data sharing between landlords and contractors fosters a more integrated approach to tenant communication and service delivery. Creating a three-way communication channels between resident – landlord – contractor will give real improvements.  It can create an auditable trail, from incident reporting to resolution. This transparency is enhanced by shared systems allowing tenants online access to repair status updates. This not only streamlines communication but also builds trust and accountability.  It will also save a lot of contractors and landlords resources spent updating frustrated residents who want to know what is happening with their repair.

In terms of service delivery, integrating landlords’ and contractors’ systems improves scheduling and resource allocation. Access to contractors’ planning systems can enable landlords to book repairs directly, reducing response times. The concept of a ‘digital twin’ for each property centralizes all relevant information, from stock condition to maintenance records. This comprehensive digital repository assists in efficient inspection, repair, and compliance management, with real-time updates from contractors.  We can contribute to this providing information on repairs carried out & materials used.  If we provide instructions for future maintenance and how long the parts are likely to last then landlords can plan future repairs better.

Furthermore, moving away from traditional monthly meetings, which often focus on outdated or conflicting data, shared real-time data provides a unified view of service performance. This approach ensures compliance and enhances service intelligence, offering a comprehensive and current insight into service delivery. By adopting these shared data practices, social housing providers can significantly improve their service delivery, making it more efficient, responsive, and tenant-centric.

Expanding on the role of AI and technological advancements in managing housing repairs, integrating insights from various sources:

Leveraging AI & Other Technology for Smarter Housing Repairs

In our upcoming article, we will delve deeper into how emerging technologies, especially AI, can revolutionise repairs for landlords. This will not only cover the current landscape but also provide a glimpse into the future advancements Mila is planning to introduce next year. Stay tuned as we uncover the potential of these technologies in enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, and significantly improving service quality for landlords and tenants alike. Join us in this journey of technological transformation and discover the future of smarter housing repairs

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