Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS)  

One of the key aims of the Welsh Government is to ensure that all the people of Wales, including social housing tenants, have the opportunity to live in good quality homes, in safe and secure communities.

 

To ensure that all homes are brought up to an acceptable level, The Welsh Government has drawn up a document, the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).

 

View more information on the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) on the Welsh Government website.

 

This is a standard for the quality and condition of properties which lists a number of targets which all homes will need to meet.

  • In a good state of repair
  • Safe and secure
  • Adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated
  • Equipped with up-to-date kitchens and bathrooms
  • Located in safe and attractive environments
  • Well managed

  

Local Authorities in Wales have had until 2020 to ensure that all their social housing achieves the standard. Because the council achieved the standard in 2018, improvement works continue to be carried out on all homes to maintain this standard.

 

 Welsh Government logo

 

Newly rendered flats

 

  • WHQS is currently being reviewed and will be named WHQS2023. What will the new standard include?

    The Welsh Assembly Government is currently reviewing the existing Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) and is going to be including additional areas to the original standard such as:

    • updated legal requirements

    • increased requirement for flooring and consideration of biodiversity and water poverty

    • changes to energy efficiency requirements

  • How is the Vale of Glamorgan Council Housing and Building Services going to maintain the stock after WHQS?

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council Housing & Building Services owns approximately 3,900 social housing properties.


    This stock includes properties of various ages, shapes and sizes, and built from all sorts of dissimilar materials. All these properties will need to have various components replaced at various times over the next 30 years to continue to maintain the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.


    To ensure that this can be achieved, the Housing & Building Services Team uses its asset management system (Keystone) to identify property components which are due for replacement each year and as result of this information has carried out a comprehensive improvement work survey programme on the Vale of Glamorgan’s social housing stock in order to identify which components are due for replacement over the next 5 years.

    During 2022/23 the following major WHQS maintenance works are forecast to be completed and are shown in the table below.


    The Housing and Building Services Team will also be revisiting its tenants which have refused WHQS upgrade works each year to identify if they have changed their minds and would like to be considered for a replacement component(s) within the following years capital programme.

     

    Forecasted Component Replacements for 2022-2023

     

  • How is the work being funded?

    Each year, the Council sets out an annual Housing Revenue Account (HRA) capital budget for Housing improvement works.

     

    The HRA Capital programme has a budget of approximately £5 to 10m per year for WHQS maintenance works over the next 5 years.

     

    In 2022/23 Vale of Glamorgan Council will receive £2,773,000 from the Welsh Government which will be spent on WHQS improvement schemes.

     

    In 2022/23 Vale of Glamorgan Council will spend £11,339,127 on WHQS improvements.

     

    Welsh Government logo

  • What improvements will happen to my property if identified in the WHQS maintenance programme?

    Both External/Internal works will need to be addressed over the next 30-year period i.e., Re-roofing, asbestos removal, external fabric replacement /repairs, kitchens, bathrooms, rewiring and central heating. External works may also include re-pointing to the dwelling walls, repairing or replacing conventional render, installation of External Wall Insulation, replacing cladding and removal or repointing and/or re-building of chimney stacks.

     

    Non-Traditional House Repair: Works to these properties may include, where required to achieve appropriate SAP ratings, the installation of external wall insulation (EWI) and any associated works. NB- where properties receive external wall insulation, they may also be subject to receiving a replacement roof and windows as part of the scheme.

     

    Communal Works: Works may include replacement door entry systems, communal fire doors, fire alarm systems, electrical replacement, repainting, new flooring and replacement lighting. 

     

    Other External Issues: Works include strengthening or replacing masonry walls which are deemed defective, works to drainage systems and the repair of concrete elements that have become defective. Can also include repairs, replacements or improvements to (where required and relevant) footpaths, outhouses/sheds, clothes drying facilities, boundaries (fencing, walls etc.).

     

    Bungalow and new bollards

  • When will the work be carried out to my property?

    All Vale of Glamorgan properties requiring external/internal works will receive written notice, well in advance of any planned improvement works starting, to give you time to prepare. However, as we move forward component works identified for replacement will be added into the annual Capital programme and built into the Housing Business Plan and undertaken on a planned programme of works.

  • Who is carrying out the major works? 

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council is working in partnership with a number of contractors to ensure all aspects of the improvement works can be carried out to a high standard. You will be notified by the Tenant Liaison Officer who the contractors are working on your property.

  • Will the work involve disruption to my home and is there any help and advice available? 

    Conducting improvement works on this scale will inevitably involve some disruption for tenants and we realise the external works may cause some upheaval e.g., emptying attic spaces and clearing of garden pots. We do hope that seeing the finished product will make it worthwhile, and there is help available.

     

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council has employed Tenant Liaison Officers’ whose role is to stay in touch with you while a particular aspect of the work is being carried out, help answer any queries you may have, and act as a point of contact between you and the Housing & Building Services Team. 

     

    Some of our contractors also have their own Resident Liaison Officers who have a similar role so there will always be a friendly face that you can contact while the work is going on, should any issues arise.

  • How is the Vale of Glamorgan Housing Service monitoring the quality of the work being carried out?

    Each aspect of the major work is monitored on daily basis and must be inspected by one of the Housing Improvement Supervisors (HIS) Officers (Clerk of Works), before it can be signed off as ‘completed.’ The HIS Officer must be satisfied that the work achieves the Welsh Housing Quality Standard before they can sign off.

     

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council uses a Tenants Working Group and Quality and Design Forum, made up of elected tenants, who regularly visit properties, speak to tenants, and perform ‘mystery shopper’ type inspections on properties where improvement work is taking place. Their findings are reported back to the Housing & Building Service to help us maintain a high standard of work and address any issues which may arise.

     

    Key Tenant Satisfaction Performance Questionnaires are completed with tenants by the Tenant Liaison Officers once the works have been completed. The results are then collected, compared and analysed. Contractors are challenged regarding performance to ensure a high standard of work is maintained across the board.

  • What are ‘Community Benefit’ Schemes?

    The Welsh Government and the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Housing & Building Services are committed to ensuring that the local economy sees the maximum value from every penny spent on the work to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.

     

    Clauses are now included in all major contracts, requiring contractors who work with the Vale of Glamorgan Housing & Building Services to commit to ‘give something extra’ back to the local economy through Community Benefit schemes.

     

    Schemes can include sponsoring local projects such as community gardens and sports teams, or refurbishing village halls, community centres, etc.

 

 Welsh Government logo