Dundee celebrates Scottish Housing Quality Standard success
Dundee City Council’s housing stock has met the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) thanks to £157 million of funding over more than a decade.
The local authority cash injection ensured more than 12,000 council homes in the city met the rigorous quality standards set down by the Scottish Government in time for the March 31 deadline.
John Alexander, convener of the council’s housing committee, said: “We’ve undertaken the biggest investment ever seen in public sector housing in Dundee, in order to improve the overall standard of all of our properties.
“I am over the moon that we have been able to not only to meet the tough criteria set down by the Scottish Government, but to do so on time and in a way that has been welcomed by our tenants is even more impressive.
“Most of the investment was focussed on new kitchens, bathrooms and controlled entry systems but I am pleased to say that we have also been able to go further with new roofs on many blocks as well as energy efficiency measures including external cladding.
“We’ve been ambitious and set the bar high for ourselves but now we can take stock and look at what the investment has achieved so far. It’s worth noting that the investment is set to continue over the coming years with improvements in energy efficiency and an expanded new build programme.”
To meet the standard the council installed 11,329 kitchens, 10,163 bathrooms and 10,575 central heating systems. More than 1000 tenants and owners in multi storey developments have received external insulation and been provided with district heating systems to make their homes easier to heat and reduce fuel bills, while an additional 536 low rise properties have been externally insulated.
Cllr Alexander added: “These figures do not take into account around 8 per cent of council houses that are exempt from the SHQS because of disproportionate cost, technical or social reasons, the lack of a secure entry system being the main reason.”
The SHQS was introduced by the Scottish Government in February 2004 requiring all homes rented from social landlords to be energy efficient, secure and in good order. The majority of council housing in Dundee is flats, with 23 per cent cottage type and 16 per cent either maisonettes or multi-maisonettes. More than half is family-type accommodation with three bedrooms, 16 per cent have one or two bedrooms and the remainder have four or more.
Cllr Alexander said: “Bringing our housing up to the SQHS was made more of a challenge because 54 per cent of it was built before 1950, with a third between then and 1971. The rest was constructed after 1970.
“I am pleased that so much of the work that had to be done to meet the SHQS target has been carried out by local tradesmen, and as a result we have kept jobs and money in the city’s economy.
“Through our partnership framework with McGill Electrical and the council’s own environment department contract services division the SHQS has provided much needed work and homes that are modern and more economic to heat during one of the deepest recessions in our history.
“However meeting the standard is not the end of the process we have lifecycle maintenance over all of our properties to make sure that tenants’ homes will continue to be in a good state of repair.
“A programme of external wall insulation targeted at the homes where there is poorer thermal efficiency has already started to make these homes easier to heat, reduce tenants’ fuel bills and reduce fuel poverty.
“This work will help us to meet the Energy Efficiency in Social Housing Standard (EESSH) target by 2020.”