Halton Housing deploys sensor technology to slash maintenance costs

Halton Housing is using cutting-edge sensor technology to maintain their properties and improve tenant health.

The organisation, which owns and manages 7,500 homes in Runcorn and Widnes, is one of the first housing associations in the UK to adopt the solution which helps to slash maintenance bills by detecting issues such as damp, fuel poverty and abandoned properties.

Halton ran a competition in conjunction with Liverpool-based Sensor City to find companies with the most Novel Environmental Assessment Technology (NEAT).

The solutions had to have the ability to predict environmental issues before they arise and move from reactive to pre-emptive maintenance of housing stock.

Halton were impressed by the sensor technology that has been developed by North Wales company Pinacl Solutions.

Mark Lowe, Pinacl’s Business Development Director, said:

“Social housing providers are responsible for managing tens of thousands of properties, often with extremely small teams.

“Poor property conditions cause serious problems for the property and, more importantly, tenant health if they are not addressed quickly.

“It costs in the region of £25,000 to fully refit the average social housing property, a cost that our technology helps to avoid.

“We know from our research that around one in ten properties have an urgent need of intervention which would require renovation running into tens of thousands of pounds if not detected early on and acted upon.”

The sensors give social housing providers a real-time insight into the health of each of their properties. Alerts can be automatically generated if problems arise or are predicted to, ensuring that corrective action is taken to keep property and tenant healthy. Up to four sensors will be installed in homes, typically covering the bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Pinacl provides a full end-to-end solution from sensor, Internet of Things (IoT) network to application dashboard. The sensors can monitor humidity, temperature, Co2 and movement and are able to provide hourly readings on to the dashboard.

Dr Joanne Phoenix, Business Development Manager at Sensor City, said:

“We saw a great response to this challenge from the sensor and IoT community with good quality new technologies and we are delighted that Halton Housing are putting Pinacl’s sensor solution into field trials.”

Mark added:

“The IoT is a current technology buzzword but what we have done is develop a solution to a long-term and hugely expensive challenge facing social housing providers.

“We have made good progress in the housing sector since launching the product and we are now looking at further opportunities in areas such as domiciliary care.”

Pinacl Solution is headquartered in St Asaph, North Wales, but works across the UK providing public and private sector organisations with a range of innovative digital transformation solutions. The company is 35 years old and employs almost 50 staff.