P49 Social Chris Middleton2
Chris Middleton Director of External Relations

Vega Building: A Strategic Investment for Transformation

Last week we announced the welcome news that the Vega building, an eleven-year-old development comprising 40 homes, stands to receive significant improvements, thanks to the latest funding awarded by the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES).

We've secured £203,000 to upgrade the heat network in the building, with match funding bringing the total investment close to £400,000. This injection of capital arrives at an important moment as the Vega building undergoes a full roof replacement and addresses long-standing issues within homes there.

In just 12 months, our commitment will result in a total investment of around £875,000 in the building—a testament to our strategic plan to enhance existing homes.

Background and Challenges

Located just off the seafront in Hove, the Vega building has faced several challenges since its construction. Residents have grappled with a leaking roof, an inefficient heat network, and components within their homes that have fallen short of their expected lifespan. These issues have affected the quality of life for those living in the building and to-date no amount of effort had resolved matters effectively.

A Holistic Approach to Improvement

In September of last year, I took the reins of a project aimed at diagnosing and rectifying the persistent problems within the building. The first opportunity since the Southern Housing merger to look at a persistent problem from a new angle. I was told that issues affecting the original developer during construction had left a good looking, well positioned, and seemingly well-appointed building with several critical issues that patch repair attempts could not resolve. Thus, a comprehensive approach to diagnosing problems and resolving long-term repairs was required.

Investment and Upgrades

As part of this initiative, we've strengthened our existing front-line teams with new surveyors, resident liaison officers, and contracts managers. Crucially, it also earmarked increased financial investment to support the project team in delivering results. This latest HNES grant funding now allows for the additional upgrade of the heat network, helping bring it up to modern efficiency standards. The residents can eventually look forward to a more secure, efficient, and more cost-effective supply of heat on top of the additional upgrades.

A brighter future?

The commitment to addressing long-standing issues doesn’t come without a few challenges. It requires resilience, teamwork, probably being a bit of a pain in the neck to colleagues, and certainly no end of patience from our technical operators as they slowly explain how a Heat Interface Unit works to a someone involved in External Relations! Throughout this journey, we’ve actively listened to the frustrations of our residents, assembled the right people, and secured the necessary support and funding. Our ambitious plans—to invest £9.2 billion in existing homes over the next 30 years—signals a new cultural and fiscal approach to tackling persistent issues that feels positively different from our previous position. While this project is still to complete in full, it exemplifies what can be achieved when stated ambition aligns with strategic investment – which is what the new Southern Housing is all about.

 

Vega Building

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