In 2019, the Council awarded a two-year contract to a remote property monitoring supplier. Work is underway and the sensors are currently being installed in social housing by the Council’s in-house maintenance team.
The contractor is providing all sensors, a wire-free network for connection to a software system and a software as a service system. These will provide the Council with data, reports and analysis of any environmental data collected including recommendations on a per property basis.
The system allows the Council to monitor the fluctuations in environmental conditions within domestic properties both when empty and when occupied. Additionally, it allows the Council to support early intervention to avoid damage to both the fabric of the property through rot and to tenant contents caused by environmental factors/the actions of the inhabitants. Where appropriate, it also allows the Council to offer appropriate training and support to tenants regarding ventilation etc.
The system offers tenants improved living standards while cutting property management and repair costs. The contract is providing a range of sustainability outcomes over its duration, including actions to tackle climate change and enhance socio-economic benefits within the local authority area. To ensure optimal use of the sensors, where there is a need, new tenants are being provided with guidance on energy efficiency from the council’s Energy Advocacy service.
The Covid-19 pandemic impacted delivery of the contract and the initial contract period ended without the target number of sensors being installed. A contract variation was approved to extend the contract by 6 months, with the two optional 12-month extensions. Even on a smaller scale the contract produced promising results. By summer 2022, the Council had installed sensors in around 400 properties and visited 10-15 of these in person each month to assist the residents based on the data gathered.
Monthly reports were produced highlighting properties at risk from damp, mould, poor ventilation, high temperatures, fuel poverty, etc as well as whether there had been any change in the conditions causing these issues. This allowed real time data capture of how advice or assistance could improve conditions and address the root cause before it escalated. The data gathered also indicated that properties retrofitted under the Council’s Regeneration and Renewal Programme were performing well with reduced heat decay figures compared to average.
The following Community benefits were included in the contract:
|Community Benefit Description||No of People / Activity|
|Work Experience Placement for an individual 16+ years of age||2|
|Work Experience Placement for an individual aged 14 to 16 years of age||1|
|Industry Awareness Event||4|
|Industry Skill Transfer to Schools||3|
|Non-financial support for a Community Project – Provision of sensors to local college for educational purposes||2|
A unique benefit that the supplier intends to provide is supply of a number of the housing sensors to construction students at a local Paisley college. The students will learn about the use and implementation of the sensors.
Comments from Mr Ivan McKee Minister for Trade, Investment, and Innovation:
“During these unprecedented times it is hugely encouraging to see Scotland continue its proud tradition of world leading innovation… pioneering IoT technology, being delivered in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, is a fantastic example of how innovation and collaboration can help people live healthy lives at home, supported by remote monitoring.”
Comments from the director of the supplier:
“The results of the project have proven the business case for this service – it’s delivering significant returns by allowing the council to predict issues and be proactive with maintenance, which is invariably more cost effective than having to deal with them after the fact. It also reduces the need for regular property visits and administration, while also leading to reduced premiums in large property portfolios.”
This project has contributed to Renfrewshire’s outcomes and, in turn to National outcomes.
Renfrewshire Council’s Vision is “Working together for a thriving and connected Renfrewshire, creating opportunities for all” and this contract contributes to a number of the Council’s own outcomes:
Our Renfrewshire is fair - tenderers were assessed within this procurement process regarding their approach to ensuring fair working practices throughout their organisation and supply chain i.e. payment of the living wage, training and development opportunities.
Our Renfrewshire is well – tackling inequality and improving housing conditions benefitting tenants. Addressing fuel poverty.
Building strong, safe and resilient communities – the houses in which people live are fundamental to quality of life. This project will identify potential issues and or damage within the Council’s housing stock and proposes when to act.
Creating a sustainable Renfrewshire for all to enjoy – the supplier has committed to deliver numerous Community Benefits.
The outcomes provided by this contract support and contribute towards a number of our national outcomes:
Environment – We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment
Health – We are healthy and active
Communities – We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
Poverty – We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally
Economy - We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy
Fair Work and business - We have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone
The sensors have provided Renfrewshire Council’s social housing properties myriad sustainability outcomes. The sensors have resulted in social and economic outcomes by contributing to good quality housing to tenants while addressing fuel poverty, offering jobs and training and giving tenants the skills/knowledge they need to manage their heating and bills. Environmental outcomes include climate adaptation through retrofit and maintaining good quality properties. The sensors will also help to reduce council costs through avoidable damages. It is an example of a contract that uses a holistic and innovative approach to deliver multiple benefits, helping Renfrewshire to meet its own outcomes as well as Scotland’s National Outcomes.