UCML smooths out complex utility disconnections for Telford redevelopment schemes

UCML staff with Telford social housing association staff

A West Midlands social housing association has saved thousands of pounds and many hours of staff time thanks to Utilities Connections Management Ltd (UCML).

The Wrekin Housing Trust in Telford has praised UCML for helping smooth the often difficult process of dealing with utility connections in block of flats about to be demolished.

The Trust has almost 12,000 homes for rent and low cost ownership across Shropshire and Staffordshire. Established in 1999, its property portfolio is growing through new developments and includes everything from apartments in well-established residential areas to town houses and family homes in both rural and town locations.

It is presently revamping homes in the Telford area, demolishing blocks of worn-out 1960s flats and replacing them with houses on the same sites.

At the start of each project The Wrekin Housing calls on the expertise of UCML. The company aims to find the most economical way to link into utility networks, cutting connection and disconnection charges, and to ensure its customers work in the most energy-efficient way to reduce bills.

A key ongoing involvement for UCML is arranging the myriad utility disconnections from properties about to be bulldozed in Telford.

The Wrekin Housing Trust’s Project Manager Sarah Bradshaw said: "Over the past few years we’ve had a number of schemes in which older blocks of flats are being demolished and replaced with modern houses in the same areas.

These are properties of various sizes that have come to the end of their useful life and may also have structural defects.

"Sorting out all the utility disconnections for gas, electricity, water and telecoms can be a very long-winded and time consuming process for an organisation like ours which is why we called on UCML, as it is very experienced in this area.

"UCML has now worked on a number of schemes in Telford for us, getting quotes from the various utility companies for the disconnections, arranging for the bills to be paid and then ensuring that they are all properly carried out."

Sarah added: "UCML has always provided a very good and efficient service for us and we will continue to use the company in the future. UCML save us money in terms of staff time not being wasted as its team waits on site for utility disconnections to take place."

UCML staff with Telford social housing association staff

Steve Davies, UCML’s project co-ordinator for The Wrekin Housing Trust work in Telford, said: "Over the past two years we’ve worked on 15 of their schemes in that area and we have another six ongoing, all within six or seven miles of each other.

"All the properties involved are flats, of one, two or three bedrooms, which have come to the end of their useful lives.

"When we’re called in we take a good look at the schemes and then, in some cases, arrange for quotations for the disconnections from the utility companies concerned before going on site to ensure these take place.

"In other cases we can arrange mains disconnections, which can be quite complex, so that the developer is left with a clear site to work with."

Steve added: "We know that all this can be a time-consuming process and we try to make it go as smoothly and as cost effectively as possible.

"Another important part of the service we provide is using our contacts within the various utility and telecoms companies to make sure that they all turn up on site at the same time which reduces the number of visits that have to be made.

"The job we have been doing for Wrekin Housing Trust hasn’t been so much about monetary savings but more about providing technical assistance. However, they hopefully think we’ve been doing well for them because the feedback we get back from the Trust is always good."