Warwickshire County Council has transformed the stock-condition inspections of its £1 billion housing portfolio with a new inhouse-developed, NDL-based Condition Surveys app.
The council originally had a manual, paper-based process involving inspectors using pen and paper to gather information on site then returning to the office to collate the information and manually add it to the council’s stock-condition survey system. The council then tried to develop an Android-based app, but the app was difficult to develop and maintain and only worked on Android devices with a single-screen resolution.
After realising that the app didn’t work properly, the council decided to redevelop the app after buying NDL’s MX mobile working toolkit. The first minimum viable product (MVP) version of the new app was delivered within a couple of weeks and then honed over the following few weeks based on feedback from the end-users.
The final Condition Surveys app allowed the council’s surveyors to carry out detailed onsite data collection through full room-by-room surveys. For example, the average secondary school has over 400 rooms, with each room containing eight elements. The condition of each element, which can include multiple defects, is recorded along with any supporting photographic evidence. The app also captures all room areas and perimeters as well as a schedule of rates to allow for the easy calculation of carpet coverage, decoration required and job costing.
Once the onsite survey is complete, data and photos are automatically transferred from the app to AtlasWeb, the council’s own property management system, before final quality checks are made online. Once the council is happy that the survey has been correctly completed, the survey is released to the customer.
On top of its primary inspection functionality, the app also has the ability to easily add new room elements, set a room as ‘inaccessible’, and copy elements from other rooms to speed up data entry.
Owen David, ICT programme delivery manager, Warwickshire County Council, said, “Following the digitisation of our inspections process, we have significantly improved the quantity and quality of condition data captured and made ongoing time and cost savings.”