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H o u s i n g

Improvements in Service Families Accommodation


ODern Housing Solutions, in partnership with Defence Estates have been busy improving Service Families Accommodation throughout England and

Wales. HereSuzanne Linton of MHS gives an overview.

MODern Housing Solutions (MHS) is the company contracted by Defence Estates (DE) to provide maintenance and repairs on Service Families Accommodation (SFA) in England and Wales. As part of that contract MHS is also expected to provide improvements to existing SFA by undertaking projects to upgrade the housing. MHS have many projects in progress at the moment and we thought it useful to share some of them.

The ‘Minor’ Upgrade Projects Minor upgrade projects are those where assets in the houses need replacing because they have come to the end of their life, for example boilers, roofs and wiring. Improvements made in these areas across the three Services since 2006 are: 5,411 houses now have new boilers;.3.140 have better insulated lofts;1,056 have new roofs; 206 have new kitchens; 506 have new bathrooms; 357 have been completely rewired and 701 houses have new doors and windows.

Playparks and Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) These projects are proving very popular on the patches. 27 play parks have been renewed and opened and 4 MUGAs have been installed.

The ‘Major’ Upgrade Projects Major upgrade projects, also known as Core Works, are those where major refurbishment or modernisation of a number of properties has taken place. This normally involves significant work to bring the properties up to ‘Standard 1’ condition, the benchmark used by Defence Estates to ensure houses are in the best possible condition for families to live in. 786 houses have been refurbished as a result of major upgrade including projects at Coningsby, 81 houses, and High Wycombe, 24 houses. Phase 2 of a Major Project is also underway at High Wycombe where 62 houses have been completed of a total of 80.

Project Customer Care / Liaison One part of MHS’ job is to ensure that all projects are delivered on time and within budget, whilst not forsaking safety and looking after families. MHS is continually looking at ways to improve customer care on those upgrade projects where the families remain in situ and also where families

MHS are all too aware of the negative impact poor customer service can have on Service families whose homes are part of an upgrade project. In response, all projects have a National Customer Liaison Officer overseeing the aspects of customer care and liaison. He or she, in turn, has a team of Client Occupant Liaison Officers (COLOs). They are the friendly face on the project site or the kindly voice at the end of a phone to assist with any issues or concerns. They also act as the link between the parties involved, DE, Units and the contractor. The success of a project depends hugely on effective teamwork and the COLO plays an important part. Minor projects will have liaison officers assigned to them if they are large or complex.

Communications MHS now has a Media and Communications Officer to ensure correspondence from MHS, or its contractors to families is accurate, coherent and informative. It is essential that families know what is happening, when it is happening and what is required of them.

Effective communications helps families to plan time off work, if required and ensures that they know what they need to do to ensure the project runs smoothly so that they are not unduly inconvenienced. With so many Service personnel busy either on, or supporting, Operations, this is critical to ensuring that families can continue to thrive and DE and MHS work together to ensure this.

Over the next few months, MHS will be uploading information onto its website so families are better informed about current projects. They will also be making sure all families receive customer feedback forms so that families can comment and score MHS performance on projects and MHS can monitor and improve our performance and service to Service families.

Feedback If you have any suggestions for improvements on any aspect of the MHS service during upgrades please send them to: The MHS website is at: For Defence Estates go to: 

have to be moved from their existing homes into a newly refurbished one. Some MHS staff are either ex-Service or indeed still part of a Service family living in SFA.

Spring 2010


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