Author Archives: Gaz Summer

Free Housingnet Annual Licences

From Monday we will be opening up HousingNet for free to all Housing Association staff. Anyone with an HA email address will be able to register for our Annual Licence free of charge.

Our only requirement is that you use a work email address in registration which we will use to send you our daily Housing News (if you don’t already receive it). You can unsubscribe at any time but this will automatically cancel your Annual Licence.

We are currently in the process of designing a new ‘Housingnet News’ email and this time we will be including BI data and information we collect along with the news. Due to the addition of this data, that we sell under licence, only Housing Associations and our clients will be able to sign up for this new email.

What people are saying about us:

What you’ve got is one of the most useful and professional tools I’ve ever come across.”

Mark Waterhouse
Head of New Business
Fortem (Willmott Dixon)

“HousingNet has been a great resource for Places for People because:

  • It gives us immediate access to a broad range of useful housing information in one easy to use, intuitive platform
  • It allows us to effectively benchmark ourselves against other organisations throughout the UK
  • It is much more than statistical information, offering insight, and current news in a digestible format
  • It allows us to identify, harness and nurture strategic relationships in the sector which can underpin our development and regeneration program”

Alan Heron
Director of Procurement
Places for People

Our sector clients mainly use the benchmarking tables and the mapping project on Housingnet and we welcome any suggestions of how we can improve either so please don’t hold back.

You can upgrade to a Premium Licence for £950 +VAT (current price £8000) but there is no requirement for you to do so and this Premium offer is not open to any organisation which has a Limited Company subsidiary carrying out their Repairs and Maintenance as this would be unfair to our current clients.

Kind Regards
Gaz Summer

For any further information please get in touch:

Contractors League Table – Jan to July 2017

HousingNet is a data service providing research material and business intelligence to companies selling products or services to Housing Associations and Local Authorities. In delivering this service we collect, collate and analyse information and data on People, Housing, Finance and Tenders & Contract Awards. 7 out of the top 10 contractors in the table are our clients.If you would like a demonstration of our system please email to arrange an appointment.

Social Housing Responsive Repair Contracts Won
Jan – July 2017
Contractor No. of Contracts Annual Value (£) Total Contract Value (£)
Ranking – based on Total Contract Value with places moved
July 2017 Change from June-July 2017
City Building (Glasgow) LLP 1 123,333,333 3,700,000,000 1 No Change
City West Housing Trust 1 30,000,000 360,000,000 2 No Change
Osborne Property Services 2 25,000,000 250,000,000 3 New
Mitie Property Services 5 17,627,619 237,756,278 4 1
Morgan Sindall Property Services 3 26,377,653 191,564,178 5 1
Kier Facilities Services 1 9,949,100 149,236,500 6 1
Mears 3 12,643,015 124,715,075 7 1
Ian Williams 2 8,972,219 117,583,290 8 1
MD Group 2 6,300,000 63,000,000 9 1
DW Support Services 2 4,850,000 48,500,000 10 1
Wates Living Space 3 10,800,000 43,250,000 11 1
Partnering in Property Management (PPM) Limited 2 2,550,000 28,200,000 12 1
Esh Construction Limited 1 2,800,000 28,000,000 13 1
AXIS Europe Limited 2 4,312,450 14,832,450 14 No Change
Polyteck Building Services Ltd. 1 2,630,000 13,150,000 15 No Change
Countrywise Repairs Ltd. 1 2,500,000 12,500,000 16 No Change
Novus Property Solutions 2 1,288,916 11,598,928 17 No Change
ASW Property Services 2   6,968,000 18 No Change
JC Services 2 1,000,000 5,025,000 19 No Change
WDH 1 1,000,000 5,000,000 20 1
City Building (Contracts) LLP 1 1,000,000 5,000,000 20 New
Rodgers & Johnston Ltd. 2 1,493,442 4,480,325 21 1
Neo Property Solutions Limited 1 583,333 2,916,667 22 1
L Daniels Property Maintenance Limited ** 1 1,271,693 2,543,385 23 1
3 Solutions Limited 1 175,750 1,230,250 24 1
Housing Maintenance Solutions Ltd. 1 366,667 1,100,000 25 1
Property Building Maintenance (Wales) Ltd. 1 236,550 946,200 26 1
LCB Construction Ltd. 1 236,550 946,200 26 1
Flair Electrical Engineering Ltd. 1 236,550 946,200 26 1
TCL Group (Topcoat Construction Ltd) 1 300,000 900,000 27 New
Metworks 1 285,475 856,425 28 2
Total Solutions NE Ltd. 1 558,000 558,000 29 2
M J & K Speck t/a J K & C Wright 1   25,000 30 New
The Soper Group Ltd 1   25,000 30 New
Osborne Property Services Limited # 1   1,267,840   New
Mears Limited, Keepmoat Regeneration Limited, Axis Europe Plc, Kier Services Limited *** 1   20,000,000    
HTS (Property & Environment)* 1        
Spectrum Property Care (SPC) * 1        
*Subsidiary company of the Housing Organisation:
HTS (Property & Environment) subsidiary of Harlow District Council
Spectrum Property Care (SPC) – subsidiary of Sovereign
**Responsive repairs for Commercial properties
# Framework for Slough Borough Council for Wokingham Borough Council & Hounslow London Borough.
***Multi-winner framework for AmicusHorizon (Now Optivo)
Figures shown in Red are estimated values calculated using ‘Trade Rates’ on the Number of homes covered in the contract.
Figures shown in Green are calculated assuming the Term to be 3 years (as term is not mentioned in the contract)
The Annual value is blank where total the contract value is given however the ‘term’ is not given.

Bid Management

To attach notes to contracts of interest please follow these steps:

1. Contracts can be added to the ‘Pinned Favourites’ (we’re changing this title to ‘Bid Management Index) list from the ‘Tenders & Contracts’ and ‘Expiring Contracts’ tables.

menu

 

2. Click on the grey pin to add a contract to the Pinned Favourites table

pin

 

3. In the Pinned Favourites table click on the Contract Title to open the notes.

pin_table

 

4. Added contracts will appear in the ‘Bid Management’ tab on the relevant organisations details page.

almond_1

 

5. Content such as Meeting Notes, Bid Information, SWOT and Pestle Analysis and In-House & External contacts can be attached to the record.

almond_2

 

We will also be automatically attaching any future notices eg. PIN, Tender and CAN to these records so all the information can be accessed from one page.

All notes are private and cannot be viewed by anyone other than the users on your account.

The PrintOut sheets have also been updated and hopefully improved.

Please let us know if you have any questions, queries or suggestions as we appreciate your feedback.

Gaz

What does 2017 have in store!

OK so I was pretty busy last year and what with no one else being as eloquent as I is when it comes to writing stuff there is a slight gap between the last blog and this one.

Let’s have a recap ….

We launched our Tender & Contract data in June 2016 at CIH Manchester. When I say launched what that actually involved was me wandering round chatting to exhibitors. You would have thought them to be a little miffed but they were very receptive as they hadn’t seen anything like what we were showing them. We’re good with data and as we have a veritable army of researches working away in India we can collect anything and everything that might be of interest. If you didn’t know HousingNet was conceived in Liverpool with help from the Princes Trust and for the last 18 years has been built and compiled from Nagpur India where I have an office and 30 wonderful members of staff.
So our Tender data was released, people were impressed and they bought. This year we’re adding further analysis, BI tools, Bid Management software and lots and lots more data. We also started a Tender Alert Service for companies that didn’t or couldn’t go for the full package – there is no escape from us!

We redesigned our data pages and got better at stripping information annual reports – there are nearly 23,000 records in our library now. We visit every Local Authority website every month collecting Minutes, Planning Applications, Strategic Land Plans and anything else we can lay our hands on. Everything we collect is stripped of useful information and added to our database.

Talking of the database we moved all our large data sets to the Amazon AWS cloud which sped things up a little but more work is required on general coding and code query as we are adding a lot of data every day. The next project, which is nearly finished, is a postcode search which utilises all the data we collect to show what’s going on in your area – we breakdown households, owners, Social Housing in your area, Crime, House Prices / Sales, Planning Applications, average Social and Private rent and other interesting bits and pieces. This is a free service to attract people to the site.

Onwards and upwards people. If you need anything, especially our bank account details, just shout.

Happy 2017

Gaz Summer

HousingNet Dashboard Premium Version

HousingNet Dashboard Premium Licence

I’ve got a new toy!

Happy Friday!

On Wednesday I had an epiphany. I was having a master class from friends who are Qlikview Partners (and that’s a business connection rather than a modern marriage). Qlik is all about data visualisations using business data ie. data in – pie chart out. Jane came out to our office in Nagpur a while ago to train my programming staff on QlikTech but this was all back end stuff and I had to leave the room as it made me feel queasy – I describe myself as an ideas man and I’m not particularly technical – I don’t code, but I know a few people that do.

Qlik has come a long way since then and I’ve been trying to get to grips with their free ‘personal’ version called QlikSense which you can also get Cloud based. So to cut a not very long story even shorter I was rubbish at it so I went to see Jane for my master class. Now I love and can’t stop and have seen the future of HousingNet. It was a lot to fit in on a Wednesday afternoon.

So back to my epiphany, HousingNet collects data and we try to deliver it in a usable format but it doesn’t matter how much data we supply, if you can’t find the answers your looking for, the files would just sit in the ‘Interesting_data’ folder on your PC along with all the other data you’re not too sure what to do with.

So here’s the new plan, we’re adding new data sets to our Data Bank every day, and have collected shed loads of the stuff over the years, so if you have a licence to our data and need a graph, chart, pivot table, KPI report built using any of our data sets then ask and it will be delivered. We’ll figure out the best way of visualising your request, extract the data, put it on a PDF, and send it to you free of charge as many times as you like. If you have other data you would like us to look at, try us, and we’ll see what we can do.

I’ve just been playing around but the possibilities are endless when you consider how much data on Housing we’re holding.

This is Expenditure on Repairs against Group Stock.

repairs-expenditure_group-stock

Housing Associations Contracts with Local Authorities (click to enlarge)
Housing Association Contracts with London Local Authorities

Land Banking – excluding Government who owns the most Land Registry ‘Land’ titles? (click to enlarge)
ha_land

Land Banking – HAs and LAs who own the most Land Registry ‘Land’ titles? (click to enlarge)
HA-land_titles

Now is the time to buy a licence from us. We have a current offer open to Housing Associations – buy a 10 user licence for £1450 before Tuesday evening and we will include our Planning and Contract packages worth £9000. You then not only have access to all the data we hold but also the ability to turn the data into a format useful to you without the need for extra staff and extra expense.

We’re also working on a stock rationalisation algorithm to isolate your outlying properties and to help find the best potential candidates for stock swaps. We should have this ready by the end of next week.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Qlik here for the answers.

I had a meeting at Viridian yesterday regarding Stock Rationalisation and they were showing me a very impressive in-house developed ‘GisWeb’ tool they’re using to manage their stock. The meeting got me thinking and so now we’re writing an algorithm that will tell us which of your homes are outliers and then show you best stock swap matches – the rest is then up to you.

They also told me they use Qlikview which was of interest as my next meeting of the day was to meet up with friends who are Qlik Partners. We’ve been working with Qlik for a few years and my friends actually came out to our office in Nagpur to give Qlik Training when we first started with them. If you haven’t used Qlik then you can download a free ‘personal’ version called QlikSense but between my two meetings the penny finally dropped. It doesn’t matter how much data I supply, if you can’t do anything with it then it just sits in the ‘umm_quite_interesting’ folder on your PC along with all the other data you’re not too sure what to do with.

This is Expenditure on Repairs against Group Stock.
repairs-expenditure_group-stock

Housing Associations Contracts with Local Authorities (click to enlarge)
Housing Association Contracts with London Local Authorities

Land Banking – excluding Government who owns the most Land Registry ‘Land’ titles? (click to enlarge)
ha_land

Land Banking – HAs and LAs who own the most Land Registry ‘Land’ titles? (click to enlarge)
HA-land_titles

So here’s what we’ll do, if you have a licence to our data and need a graph, chart, pivot table, KPI report etc. built using any of our data sets, put on a PDF, and sent to you we will do this free of charge as many times as you like. If you have other data you would like us to look at, try us, and we’ll see what we can do.

We’re adding new data sets to our Data Bank every day so you can pick and choose what data you need for your reports.

I hope you have a great day.

Phew, what a scorcher!

Happy Monday everyone, I’m back in Nagpur and it looks to be another scorcher today although not the 46.6 degrees we had at the weekend. If I was an ice-cream this is what I would look like ….

ice_cream

… but thankfully I’m not an ice-cream so I just look like a sweaty Brit.
If you don’t know the story I set up HousingNet in 1997 after doctors told me I could no longer be a scuba diving beach bum having had a second back operation. I’ve since had another but we’re all good now that I have a metal rod holding everything together.

I had come back to the UK from the States where a Texan friend Jim, who I met in Australia, and I were knocking out a fake Caesars Palace perfume set outside Caesars Palace in Vegas. We were living in the Treasure Island Casino at the time having left LA because of the earthquake. I’d been away since 1986 (joined the REME then went on a world tour when I realised I was a rubbish mechanic) and arrived back in London where my brother was the Manager of Calthorpe who had the repairs contract for Notting Hill Housing. They gave me a job and let me drive the van to pick up rubbish – it was brilliant as I was re-selling 25% of everything that was being thrown out – take note – recycling pays. So I had the Laminectomy in 95, took ages to recover and moved to New Zealand as I had picked up a residence permit along my travels, came back, moved to Liverpool and bought a computer to turn on, make a square in ‘Paint’, erase it and then turn it off again. I had an idea to start an after-hours call handling service as we, my brother and I, knew we could fix a lot of the jobs over the phone and started ‘Com1 UK’. Hang on, Chris and I, doing back to back 12 hour shifts on the phone, time for a re-think. Remember the Housing Association Year Book? I do. I learnt how to build a web page and put all Housing Association addresses online and called it HousingNet.

I came out to India in 1999 as I had ideas and no money. I ended up in Nagpur, met Ajay, rented a flat, started an office and here we all are today harvesting Housing data. I’m based in London but my office and nearly all my staff are here in Nagpur.

So what do we do? We have built our reputation on having very up-to-date data on Senior Managers working in Housing Associations and Local Authorities. We collect just about everything you put on the web that would be of interest to the wider community and the business users who are our main clients. At the beginning of this year we started collecting planning applications with a particular interest in ‘housing’ oddly enough. By the middle of June we will be more up to date than any other planning application resource in the UK – eat my shorts Barbour!

In January a client of ours told us that if we could supply tender data they would pay us lots more money for the licence so we started looking in to it. Initially I thought it was simple. OJEU supply the tenders, we take all the historical data for free and pick up the daily ones as they come out – easy money! How wrong I was. People, if you’re involved in tenders you have my admiration / sympathy. What a nightmare! We’re programmers here so we work with very large data sets and OJEU is like a story where the beginning sounds really exciting, the middle is always missing and the end is like watching the last episode of Undercover on repeat – it makes no sense.

So I’m here, in the Orange City, in the height of Summer, sorting it out. We’re collecting all Contract Registers, harvesting every tender from all Procurement Portals, all Local Authority and, where available, HA expenditure sheets, LA cabinet minutes, news stories relating to contracts and anything else we can get our hands on. So the question is, what do you want to know and most importantly would you pay for it?

Our clients include: Sovereign, ForVivia, Orchard, Capita, United Utilities, The Bank of Tokyo, Paragon, Viridian, Bracknell Forest, BDO, Mobysoft, Willmott Dixon, Aldwyck, CHIC, Kier, SSE, BSkyB, Argos, BMG, British Gas, Lovell, Northgate, Mountjoy, Campbell Tickell, Civica, Orbit, THFC, VINCI … I could go on but you get the idea.

I’m back in the UK on Saturday and after 19 years of hiding behind email I now actually go and visit people if they invite me. So drop me a line if you would like to know more about what we do and how we can help you.

Hope you all have a great week.

Gaz

Why we built our own UK Planning Application Database

I had a meeting with a client at the beginning of the year to talk about obtaining OJEU tenders. I’ve stayed away from them in the past until I realised what other companies are charging for the service and that you can obtain the raw data for free. We’ve since worked our way through the TED database and collected 91,000 tenders of interest which we’re now organising and live tenders will be on HousingNet by the end of this week.

But I digress …. at the meeting we also discussed obtaining data on new build homes. There is data out there, but again, very expensive so we decided the only way to do it properly was to collect and analyse every UK planning application. We built software to manage the processes and have a team of six who enter the information on our system, isolate records based on key words and update every application of interest.

We are particularly interested in New Build, Conversions, Basements, Lofts and Extensions. We collect data on Office 2 Home, HMO’s, Student Housing, S106, Applicants, Agents and Decisions and so far we’ve collected 94,796 applications, added additional data to 8,406 of them and recorded 49,755 new homes.

The data in itself is fascinating: from seeing which Housing Association has the most applications refused to the number of applications relating to different tree types – Oak 54, Beech 24, Conifer 16 and the ever popular Thuja 4.
The stats for February show Broadland District Council accepting applications for 3535 new homes and Cornwall County Council being the busiest with the highest number of accepted (88) and refused (37) applications.

Our priority was new build but the more we looked at the data the more possibilities we found. Living in South London as I do we are surrounded by basement and loft conversions so we started pulling out this data along with ‘extensions’. Companies are currently using this data to look for marketing opportunities in areas where planning applications are more likely to be accepted, agent league tables and reasons for refusal.

We can compare this data to the 13.2M corporate property titles we have and the 4.2M Social Homes we’ve isolated from that data set. We also use House Price/Sale data and Companies House data to help clients understand where opportunities lie.

Tomorrow we’ll be putting the planning search online and making it free to use for a while as we would welcome your feedback.

If you haven’t used HousingNet before it works like this – we collect data faster than we can get it online so clients purchase a licence to access our online data, maps, tables and exports and then if there is any combination of data or analysis they can’t export from the site we offer a 24 hour turnaround to deliver any bespoke data set free of charge.

HousingNet development is driven by our client’s requests, if you want it we’ll do our best to get it and deliver it in the format you need. View our data packages here.

What’s new on HousingNet?

We have just recently launched a searchable database of the Land Registry Commercial & Corporate Ownership data set which we’ve set up on https://cloud.google.com/. Amazingly Google Cloud is free for the first year but with no support the set up did have us scratching our heads for awhile. But now we have 13.2M records to search through and the results are very interesting and it’s not all about Social Housing. Did you know that Oxfam own 476 shops, Cancer Research 473, British Heart Foundation 662 and WH Smith only 273 which includes their hospital shops.

Using the Land Registry Data from 2014 and 2015 we’ve been looking at the movement of property titles with regard to how many new titles were added and how many were lost – this will include Right to Own, Shared Ownership and any other private sale. How many titles were transferred to another corporate organisation and how many new titles were transferred from another corporate. Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at how these figures compare with the newly released RSR for 2015.
View the stock table here.

Housing stock v Land Registry Data comparison

Land Registry are relaxing the rules on the National Dataset licence usage which now means we can share title data with our corporate clients – as long as we pay them more obviously. What this essentially means to you/us is we can now cross reference your data with the National Dataset.

Having been cleaning the Social Housing titles in the Dataset for the past year we now have access to better quality data than Land Registry themselves and here are a few examples of work we can now carry out:

1. We can now compare Housing Association stock data with the National Dataset to make sure your titles are in order. We are offering this as a free service to Housing Organisations who have an active multiple users HousingNet licence.

2. If the product or service you are offering is for private home owners only you can cut down on your direct marketing costs by having us remove all Social Housing and Commercial titles from your mailing lists making you huge savings on direct mail.

3. You might have a database of 100,000 addresses you need us to check or require a monthly update. Whatever your requirements please write or call 07779 715 605 for a chat.