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2016-12-02 07:23:00
Housing associations and co-operatives are independent, not-for-profit social enterprises - a vital component of Scotland's social fabric, supplying quality, affordable homes to those in need.

The scale of their endeavour is quite remarkable. There are 161 associations and co-operatives in Scotland providing more than 277,000 homes and more than 5,000 places in supported accommodation. They provide 11,000 full-time jobs and support apprenticeships in construction and maintenance.

It is in the nature of the sector that the housing stock they oversee is well-used and repairs and refurbishment account for a significant proportion of the associations' annual spend.

So it is to Scotland's credit that the average cost of making a property ready to let after a tenant moves out was the lowest in the UK, according to the most recent figures from HouseMark, the leading provider of social housing data and insight.

But the costs are still substantial - £1,666 in Scotland for a re-let, and an average of almost £2,500 in the wider UK. And there are further costs for responsive repairs, cyclical maintenance and major works.

According to another HouseMark Report, the 2014-15 Benchmarking Report, the total cost per property for major works and cyclical maintenance in organisations of more than 5,000 units was £1,637. Responsive repairs and void works cost another £806.

Properties average between 2.5 and 3.5 responsive repairs per annum at average costs of up to £222 per repair.

So at a time when housing association budgets are under ongoing stress, cost savings must be assiduously sought and the introduction of a new type of robust, fire-resistant multi-purpose building board is providing attractive opportunities.

Econic board is an engineered Magnesium Oxide (MgO) product which is so technically advanced that it provides superior and versatile performance across a range of specifications.

On a number of schools, hospitals, student accommodation and social housing projects, Econic has been installed as a high impact, fire rated, acoustic wall system.

Acoustically, it can outperform double layers of 15mm plasterboard and a typical timber stud partition can achieve up to two hours fire resistance and integrity with a single layer of 12mm Econic either side of the stud. There is strong evidence to support using Econic to reduce the thickness of ‘party’ wall construction.

The pull out strength achieved for a simple screw fixing exceeds 0.7kN and fixtures such as kitchen units and plasma screens can be screwed directly onto it.

The health and safety of residents is a primary consideration for housing associations and it is evident that Econic board meets many of these requirements as well as reducing construction and repair costs by improving in the in-service life cycle.

Housing Associations are worthy organisations which provide a valuable service, often under challenging circumstances. If adoption of a new product such as Econic can effect significant savings as well as improving the lives of tenants, it may be an opportunity too good to miss.

Keith Macnair is managing director of Duncryne Ltd, which imports Econic boards.
For further information, contact Keith Macnair, managing director, Duncryne Ltd,
T: 0141 576 0077. E: keithj@duncryne.com W: www.econicboard.com.
Posted by Econic