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Developing Sustainability Assessment Tools in Social Housing

  • Published on January 14, 2019
In the housing sector, the use of sustainability assessment tools is nearly non-existent, coupled with the problem of poor data quality. This research sets out to develop a sustainability assessment tool for the housing sector using three case studies in one social housing organisation. The first case study will focus on issues of data quality, the second looks at the strategic decision making, and the third one will look at operational decision making.
The objectives are to answer the following research questions: How do housing associations in the UK approach sustainability? Do housing associations use assessment tools to measure sustainability? If housing association measure sustainability what data is used and how is this data collected? The following activities will be carried out: Identifying the gaps in the literature The research methodology will use three case studies based in one social housing association in the Bradford Metropolitan District. The case studies do not follow a chronological order; rather, they intersect and feed information between each other. For example, the case study on data quality will use results from the second case study, while the third case study provides the basis for the assessment tool, which again relies on data findings from the first case study. After each case study, risks and ways to mitigate them will be outlined. This research will be the first of its kind to apply the sustainability assessment tool in social housing. This tool will also help housing association in reducing their repair and maintenance cost substantially. The potential impact for tenants is huge, in terms of retention, satisfaction, but also for their personal health and wellbeing. Since a sustainability assessment tool will be used that can be easily adapted for other purposes, the research findings in social housing can be also taken into other areas as well. Further impact outside of the research community lie in shaping policy decisions on a national and local level for social housing, sustainability, or the building sector. The results of the research can also be used by social housing organisations to inform their working practices to work more effectively and efficiently. Better data practices are linked to less waste, both in terms of money and time, as the literature review highlighted. Organisations can therefore greatly benefit from the results of the research. Once the research will be completed the out come of it will be published and housing associations and not only will be able to use the sustainability assessment tool.
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