Advising housing organisations on repairs and maintenance contracts

We are nationally recognised for our repairs and maintenance work for registered providers, local authorities, and Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs).

We are particularly known for:

  • High-value, long-term maintenance contracts, with associated governance arrangements including Direct Labour Organisations (DLOs), wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures and VAT cost-sharing groups.
  • A pragmatic approach to EU procurement compliance.
  • The National Housing Federation (NHF) Schedule of Rates contract documents, which we maintain for Rand/M3.
  • NEC contract expertise.
  • Energy efficiency arrangements, securing any available incentives.
  • Resolving complex construction disputes in our specialist sectors.
Experts in repairs and maintenance contracts

We have extensive knowledge of the standard forms of contract used for housing for maintenance, facilities management (including schools) and new build. We have standard amendments for housing providers for PPC/TPC and NEC TSC and ECC (and the short forms) as well as JCT MTC, MW IFC, SBC and D&B and specialist contracts, such as JCLI for grounds maintenance.

We redrafted, updated and, subsequently, maintain the NHF Schedule of Rates contract documentation for M3/Rand. We also provide simpler standard-form contracts and purchase terms, for smaller projects, where a standard form is inappropriate for the SMEs that providers want to use for this work.

We advise on contract strategy, including reviewing standing orders, financial regulations and procurement policy documents and guides, as well individual contracts and frameworks. We have helped clients with a wide range of pricing strategies, including a schedule of rates, PPP/PPV, archetype pricing, bills of quantities and target cost contracts with pain/gain sharing.

It’s not just the contract forms we can provide, but everything that goes with them.  As well as contract strategy training and advice, we provide specialist training on day-to-day contract management, how to use a new contract form for the first time, procurement documentation, risk management and leaseholder consultation support (including drafting the consultation materials).  This can be for just the client or both the client and contractor together in a collaborative approach.

We will recommend using an existing framework agreement where this is in a client’s best interests. We advise both buying clubs and their users on setting up frameworks and calling off contracts from under them.

Recently we have helped some clients bring their maintenance work in-house, with the associated material supply, vehicles and ICT contracts, as well as dealing with subcontractors, TUPE and pensions.

Although we have run some successful “lean” competitive dialogue processes for building materials supply, our experience of the competitive procedure with negotiation means we now recommend this as an alternative to the restricted procedure. We have also developed our merchant-acceptable contract that includes appropriate remedies for non-performance.

Effective ICT is a crucial component of a successful in-house maintenance team. We have procured IT contracts through a variety of methods including mini-competition and direct-award-framework call offs and restricted and competitive dialogue procedure procurement. Where clients want, we use the CCS standard-form IT contract. As this is “unwieldy” though, we have developed our template IT contract based on the legal industry-standard template.

We are happy to work alongside in-house procurement professionals and external procurement consultants in a quality-assurance role and have been brought in as specialist advisors on EU procurement by other law firms without this capability.

Occasionally things do go wrong with contracts. If this happens, you need a team that is on your side during the difficult times leading up to a contract termination or where you face a procurement challenge or payment dispute. Our dispute-resolution team has extensive experience of both procurement and construction disputes in the Technology and Construction Court, adjudications and mediation. Our focus is always on resolving the dispute as quickly and cost effectively as possible but without compromising on things that are important.

Our expertise in repairs and maintenance contracts

Our blend of technical and practical experience gives use a thorough understanding of the issues involved in setting up maintenance and related contracts, from below EU threshold procurement for small housing associations, schools and academies to large multi-million-pound framework arrangements for buying clubs or joint-purchasing arrangements. If things do go wrong, we also have the right team to help you resolve any disputes or terminate your current contract as cost-effectively as possible. No matter what your repairs and maintenance contracts needs, we are here to help.

Our team also speaks at most of the leading sector events:

  • Andrew Millross speaks at NHF, NHMF, CIH and PfH conferences, covering contract strategy, maintenance options (DLOs, JV, WOS, CSGs) pricing models, standard contract form, pre-qualification, award, contractor insolvency, value for money, framework agreements, buying clubs, contract management, “buying your contractor” and the EU Directives;
  • Richard Brooks speaks at Housemark Procurement clubs on award criteria, framework agreements, environmental measures, the procurement aspect of group structures and the Procurement Regulations.
  • Ross Hayes runs both introductory and in-depth training sessions for Thomas Telford on the NEC forms of construction and engineering contracts; and
  • Andrew Lancaster is accredited by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution to act as a mediator and speaks on dispute avoidance and dispute resolution.

We are ranked as Band 1 for Social Housing by Chambers and Partners and have been recognised by both Legal 500 and Chambers for Construction.

Provisions within the Housing and Planning Act that remove the need for housing associations (“HAs”) to obtain consent from the Regulator to dispose of social housing (as well as to merge or enter new group structures) come into force on 6 April.

Such freedoms will allow HAs greater flexibility over how they use their assets and, potentially, how they structure their businesses. Our expert panel gathered to discuss the possible opportunities the deregulatory measures offer, together with the likely hurdles. Read the outcome of their discussion here.

Affinity Sutton

We advised Affinity Sutton on both the interim contract with OPSL and on the arrangements to bring their maintenance work in-house.

Read more

Sector Lead

Andrew Millross


Partner in the projects team