Property case study
Case study on managing the first programme of its kind in the UK to upgrade 30% of properties of a 1,439-property portfolio in a live residential environment across 48 buildings spread over a 67-acre neighbourhood, carried out during the COVID pandemic, establishing a blueprint to enable the programme to be absorbed into Business as Usual.
Get Living, pioneers of the UK’s rapidly expanding Build to Rent (BTR) sector, and operators of East Village, the former 2012 London Olympics Athletes’ Village, among other neighbourhoods
(1) Manage the first programme of its kind in the UK to upgrade 30% of properties of a 1,439-property portfolio in a live residential environment across 48 buildings spread over a 67-acre neighbourhood, carried out during the COVID pandemic, establishing a blueprint to enable the programme to be absorbed into Business as Usual.
(2) Deliver the programme within budget with appropriate controls and with minimum resources (ie a project management team of one) and least disruption to Operations
(1) Develop and systemise a lean process to assess works required in each property and issue instructions to all parties (cleaners, furniture suppliers, building contractors, maintenance) to ensure all parties were aware of status and timings for all teams at all times to avoid any overlap in works, and turn around the properties in the most time-efficient manner. To then inspect and release completed properties back to Lettings to ensure availability for viewings and new residents
(2) Develop a financial model to estimate the costs by work package based off limited available assumptions and to refine these as more data became available and to enable more robust forecasting for subsequent years
(3) Conduct a limited number of trial properties and then release a set of control group properties to refine methodologies and determine the right works packages with maximum commercial benefit
THE SMARTSHEET SOLUTION
Given the complexity of managing a large number of properties that had to be turned around quickly and by multiple parties before being released in time for new residents to move into, the team needed a robust centralised tracker accessible by internal and external parties to act as one version of the truth at all times, where there was no risk of data being erased or modified by accident.
Information on each property was being updated continually and it was imperative everyone could update their information in parallel without risk of version control.
A central Smartsheet tracker was established, which was linked to sub-trackers for each team that took information from the master tracker and fed back updates in turn in real time. Leveraging automated workflows and notifications, relevant teams received alerts when action was required.
Moving away from a traditional spreadsheet approach removed any need for updates to be sent and entered separately, and ensured that the weekly status review meeting focused on the work in hand, prioritisation and any challenges to overcome rather than on status updates.
Information on the works, signed off inspection reports and any associated commentary and decisions for each property were recorded against each property, allowing a full audit trail and reference for decisions made – rather than these being held in a multitude of different places.
450 properties refreshed within budget and based on results, further funding secured from investors to continue the programme in 2021 and deliver similar number of properties, with the programme transitioned to business as usual.
“Rich was instrumental to the success of the Refresh programme in Get Living’s East Village. Incredibly easy to work with, flexible and highly responsive, he rapidly digested the challenges and established robust systems and processes to ensure we could deliver the programme on time and budget with least impact on residents and operations, while ensuring all works were delivered to the highest standards and cost effectively. He pre-empted the business needs and decisions and made things happen seamlessly. Hugely accountable and highly recommended”
Ian Gibbs, Director of Neighbourhoods