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Peeking Inside: The Power of Interior Footage for Housing Associations

March 28, 2023
Interior survey housing associations spotr

Getting a clear view of the interior of their stock is certainly not an easy task for housing providers. Ideally, it would be best if you could look inside every property to see the current floor plan, as well as the quality of the kitchen, bathroom, toilet, window frames, and doors. This would allow housing providers to easily detect mold, avoid any surprises during major maintenance and easily advertise changes to inform new tenants during turnovers. However, inspecting every property is a monumental task, right? Not necessarily. We are working together with an increasing number of housing associations, including Woonplus, to solve this issue.

Most housing providers do not have a clear view of the interior of the properties they own. In order to obtain a better understanding, you’d have to inspect the interior, which can be challenging to organize. As a result, housing associations often lack floor plans of the properties and are uncertain about the condition of the interiors.

Lack of information and inefficient processes

One of the main concerns at present is identifying where mold and damp are present in the housing association's stock. Questions such as which properties are affected, to what extent, and how to efficiently address the issue across multiple properties are driving the concern.

Furthermore, showing potential tenants around properties or creating appealing advertisements can be challenging without adequate information or photos. Individually organizing on-site visits for image capture is often time-consuming and costly.

Handling resident complaints is also challenging due to the lack of readily available information. Housing staff must spend time on administration and obtaining necessary information from colleagues, causing delays in complaint resolution and tenant frustration.

Housing providers are in our experience often uncomfortable with the limited visibility of their property interiors. Without adequate knowledge of a property's interior, it is challenging to provide tenants with a suitable living environment. Additionally, safety concerns such as ventilation, smoke detectors, and fire hazards cannot be addressed without such knowledge.

The lack of interior visibility also affects budgeting, making it challenging to plan for maintenance costs. This can result in unexpected expenses, such as discovering that bathrooms require replacement during major maintenance work. As a result, budget reallocation can impact other planned projects.

How can you gain visibility into the interior of your stock?

We've devised two methods to help housing associations build a visual dossier of their properties' interiors, providing remote insight into their condition.

1. Capturing during handovers

The first method involves taking photos of the interior during property handovers. When a contractor conducts a final inspection after renovations, they can use a 360-degree camera to capture the interior. With just a minute per room, the camera is positioned in the center and takes photos with a push of a button. It takes an average of 15 minutes per property, at no extra cost. The photos are saved and accessible on the Spotr platform, including a 3D visualization and floor plan of the property.

With an average of 10% of housing association properties mutating annually, this ‘organic’ method can capture interior photos of 5,000 properties in a stock of 50,000 properties, without disturbing residents.

2. Arranging interior inspections

For faster insight into property interiors, we've also developed a second method: organizing interior inspections. We're currently applying this approach with the Dutch housing provider Woonplus.

Interior surveys for Woonplus

We are currently working with Woonplus on a comprehensive assessment of their interior of their properties. Over a period of 9 months, our team is visiting nearly 7,000 properties to carry out these inspections. During these visits, we use smartphones to take photos of spaces and specific structural elements, which are then stored on Spotr, allowing us to create a detailed digital and visual dossier of the property's interior. These photos are then analyzed by our team, and a quality score is assigned to each property.

The property visit takes 10 minutes

The property visits take around 10 minutes, and we collaborate closely with Woonplus to ensure a smooth and organized process. Prior to the visit, we communicate with residents through various channels and our team members wear vests with the Spotr and Woonplus logos, carry visible identification, and have a printed letter explaining the purpose of their visit.

We have found that with clear and effective communication, residents are generally very receptive to having their interiors photographed, as it can help identify issues that need attention earlier, leading to faster and more effective repairs or replacements.

Interior footage housing associations spotr

Virtual interior condition survey

We are currently working with Woonplus to map out 7,000 properties, but even at a smaller scale, for example a few houses within a certain estate, this would be extremely valuable. This would provide an immediate view of what the properties look like in the estate, including the condition of the kitchen, bathroom, toilet, doors, and frames. In the model, you can also see precisely where the pipes run, the location of the boiler, and available space to install a heat pump.

Once you have this information, you no longer need to physically visit the property for various queries. With reference models and structural details, you can virtually inspect the property for multiple purposes. The image quality is so exceptional that a digital condition survey of the interior elements can be performed based solely on the images - all from the comfort of your desk. You can find more information on how digital stock condition surveys work here.

Better utilize ongoing site visits

By conducting an interior condition survey, you can create a comprehensive visual record of the condition of the properties you own. Furthermore, you can make this record even more complete by maximizing the use of ongoing site visits.

As a housing provider, you and your maintenance partners visit properties for a variety of reasons, such as inspections during handovers or renovations. By taking advantage of these visits and gathering information about the interior using a 360-degree camera, you can develop a more complete understanding of the interiors of your stock.

Create targeted policies, plans, and budgets

By collecting and sharing all information and images in a standardized way with Spotr, everyone in the organization can access the same data.

For instance, mold can be detected and solved quicker by the asset management department. Or an employee creating an advertisement for a rental property can access photos and floor plans easily. And thanks to the use of the 360-degree camera, a 3D visualization of the property is also automatically created, allowing future residents to virtually walk through the property remotely.

In addition, an employee fielding tenant complaints can now see the interior of the property and relevant information in Spotr, making it easier to address the issue.

And perhaps the most important benefit is that you gain insight, predictability, and control with good visual information about your property. You can make much more targeted policies, plans, and budgets.

Would you like to learn more?

Would you like to find out more about our interior capture approach and how it could benefit you? Please get in touch with us: