A few years ago, housing association KleurrijkWonen started working with performance contracts for maintenance partners. This raised the question: 'Can we monitor buildings remotely? Is it possible to determine the quality of our real estate from data and images, so that we can largely manage inspections from behind our desk?' This resulted in a close collaboration between KleurrijkWonen and Spotr. We discussed their journey with asset manager Ferry Evers and data analyst Kevin van der Vliet. “Images are the most reliable source of information we have. It is indispensable in our asset management. Spotr also provides a much more complete picture of our real estate. We can overlay our data with additional map layers of all kinds of information and apply filters to it. It's great for generating insights from behind your desk."
“The use of data has developed rapidly at KleurrijkWonen in recent years,” according to asset manager Ferry Evers. “My work now consists around 60-70% of data analysis. We want to base our decision making process on information that’s as objective as possible. For example: do we opt for demolition of a building or new construction? Renovation or sale? How do we shape our estate maintenance policy? Objective measurements are the basis for those decisions.”
“Automation and the digital transformation are important to make our business leaner,” adds colleague and data analyst Kevin van der Vliet. “Our main goal as a housing association is to provide affordable and pleasant living. With better information about our properties, we can save on operational costs and reserve more money for our tenants. Making smart use of data helps us to perform preventive maintenance, implement quality improvements, renovate and apply sustainable upgrades to buildings as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
"Making smart use of data helps us to perform preventive maintenance, implement quality improvements, renovate and apply sustainable upgrades to houses as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Reliable and complete data
Spotr maps the entire real estate portfolio of KleurrijkWonen with, among other things, images of satellites, airplanes and drones. “Imaging is the most reliable source of information we have. It’s indispensable in our property management. A photo of a house with 5 window frames shows 5 window frames. That doesn’t suddenly turn into 7 frames in the data. And this is very important to us, considering the scale on which we manage real estate.
Spotr also offers us complete data. We see, for example, where self-installed facilities are located, which we didn’t know about before. Places that usually aren’t easily reachable for us, like rear-facades, are now visible to us and we don't have to bother tenants."
“We just finished a pilot in which we used Spotr to determine measurements of building elements. For example, square meters of masonry, flat roof, window frames and how many doors an estate has. Spotr was able to calculate all of this at lightning speed, based on image analysis and as it turns out, there are quite some differences with our own numbers. Spotr is much more accurate. We can now harmonize that data, to make sure all parties involved, including maintenance partners, are always using the same data and work with one source of truth.”
“We completed the pilot for five estates. Next, we want to compare our entire portfolio with the current numbers in our maintenance planning. This saves us a lot of time, because we no longer have to track down the correct measurements manually and on site. At most, we only manually check certain issues where measurements from different sources are particularly far apart. Sharing one source of truth is also a data quality issue. We just want to know what measurements we have and agree on this with all parties involved. Once we have that agreed-upon truth, we can implement it across all applications we use for real estate maintenance. The quality and reliability of each applications’ output is improved by this high quality data foundation.”
Combining data sources
KleurrijkWonen also combines map layers in Spotr to quickly analyze its properties. “Spotr provides a much more complete picture because you can overlay all kinds of information and apply filters to it,” Kevin says. “It's great for generating insights from behind your desk.”
“Take the mapping of risks of heat stress. Within Spotr we combine map layers – information about our properties, temperature exceedance in recent years, demographic data (for example a concentration of elderly tenants) – so you can easily see where heat stress arises. With these insights, we can take very targeted measures.”
“I’m also looking forward to the pilot project with Woningnet (a Dutch platform where housing associations can list their offering). This will help us understand how houses look like on the inside, due to their large database of interior pictures. For example, what kind of radiators are present in the building?
Another thing I’d like to do is work with a thermal camera drone. This could help us locate heat leaks on facades. With Spotr, we have the perspective that these kinds of projects will be possible in the future.”
All data in one place
Ferry also sees a lot of potential in the use of map layers. “I know Spotr is actively working on this feature. What we’re already doing now is, for example, using map layers that indicate foundation problems. We can use this data in combination with our long term maintenance planning to determine estate maintenance strategies. What's coming next is combining multiple map layers to discover specific insights. For example, a map layer of our properties, combined with a rental classes map layer and perhaps a neighborhood resilience map on top. This helps us analyze the rental classes in relation to the resilience of a specific neighborhood.”
Creating a sustainable maintenance planning
“A next step for the future is that we can predict when a building element needs to be replaced. This way, we can build a long term maintenance plan with Spotr, which will increase our capacity for predictive maintenance. We could also use that to make our properties more sustainable. We’re not there yet, but it’s in the line of possibilities.”
“The big advantage then is that you’ll have all data in one place. Many housing associations have a specific program for their maintenance planning, images in a second program and map layers in yet another program. Our goal is to have everything in one place in Spotr.”
"We’re truly developing Spotr together, which helps us get a product that’ll benefit everyone. I’m already using Spotr about three to four times a week and this will only increase in the future.”
Kevin: “Spotr is a really inviting program, there are so many interesting data points to connect to it. Spotr is always thinking with us in possibilities, which is a very pleasant way of working. Spotr is not looking to monopolize our building data, but wants to enrich it and easily link it to other systems. Using Spotr is also a very attractive business case; you’ll earn back the license costs in no time."
“Spotr is always innovating,” Ferry adds. “They want to progress and they really listen to their customers. That's a very good approach. We’re truly developing Spotr together, which helps us get a product that’ll benefit everyone. I’m already using Spotr about three to four times a week and this will only increase in the future.”
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