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Team effort houses mum of two

Just three months ago Natasha Purea was boarding with a friend, hoping that someday soon she would have a home for her two kids.

Now she is living in a refurbished two-bedroom house in Meadowbank, thanks to the hard work of Housing New Zealand contractors and the Housing New Zealand Void Programme in Auckland.

“When I found out a home was available, I was stoked and couldn’t wait to move in,” says Natasha.

Programmed Facility Management (PFM) was charged with getting the house up to lettable standard, and contracted MD Construction, Rapid Rubbish and DNS Maintenance Ltd to carry out the work.

However, when PFM Supervisor Randall Watkins arrived to scope the property, he was presented with not only a home requiring considerable work but also a garden that closely resembled a jungle.

“When I went out to scope the backyard and meet the tenants I couldn’t find them, as the backyard was so overgrown. If you were Tarzan you’d be happy, but it was totally out of control.”

This meant a big job for the team at Rapid Rubbish, who removed more than two skips full of rubbish before they could begin to clear and tidy the garden.

“We made sure we left the fruit trees, but many of the trees had to go as we knew the garden needed to be usable for tenants, particularly if they had kids,” says Randall.

Garden and lounge before updateLeft - it's a jungle out there. Right - an interior in need of refurbishment

The team at MD Construction tackled the interior work, refurbishing the entire house including paintwork, carpeting and lino, and refreshing joinery and bathrooms, while DNS Maintenance Ltd carried out the electrical upgrades and Harvey Furnishings supplied the thermal curtains.

The bad weather posed further problems for the team – constant rain flooded the section during the process and, only an hour before Natasha was meant to move in, a roof leak in the second bedroom caused delays with the laying of the carpet. However, a swift response from the PFM team meant the roof leak was fixed and the carpet laid on time for Natasha to move in as planned.

When she walked into the refurbished house, Natasha couldn’t believe her eyes.

“It was a huge shock as the house looked totally different. When I originally saw it there was no carpet and the garden was all overgrown. They did a really good job.

“It’s a great house. It’s warm, especially with the new carpets and curtains, and the kids enjoy the garden. I’m really happy.”

Garden and lounge after updateLeft - a usable outdoor space for kids to play. Right - the refreshed living room

For the PFM Team, the best part of the project was delivering a great-looking house for a family in need, and doing it in 10 calendar days, well within the 14-day timeframe.

"We are extremely proud of all the efforts made by the PFM team and our awesome, dedicated crew of hard-working contractors. It’s exceptionally heart-felt and rewarding for all of us to receive words of gratitude and appreciation for a job well done, especially from Natasha and her children. Even though we’re faced with unexpected obstacles at times and work in strict timeframes, we just power through it, focusing on the end goal to get the job done.

At the end of the day, we all have the same common goal, which is to provide a healthy, warm and safe home for our families in need. I truly believe that our success begins with building a mutual trust with the HNZ team and subcontractors, along with respect for each other, team collaboration, commitment and a shared vision."

Kylie Ringrose – PFM Operations Manager


PBMC team and tenant

Team effort: (Clockwise from top left) - Happy tenant Natasha Purea, with contractors Tim Holmes from Rapid Rubbish, Mautinoa Galu and El-Amarna Fata from MD Construction, PFM Supervisor Randall Watkins and Housing New Zealand Void Specialist Evelyn Ireland

What is the Auckland Void Programme?

The Auckland Void Programme team was created to support an agreement Housing New Zealand made with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to house people on the social housing register.

The longer properties are left vacant, due to work needing to be done, the longer a family or person in need is waiting for a home. The programme aims to reduce the time taken to get a home back to lettable standard.

We needed dedicated staff to make this happen

Nine existing staff were recruited to look after the ten Auckland area offices and after several weeks’ training they began in earnest on 29May.

PBMCs are crucial

It became apparent immediately that the relationship between the Performance Based Maintenance Contractors (PBMCs), of which there are three in the Auckland area, PFM, Spotless and SHL, was pivotal in achieving the new turnaround time.

Making it work: what we did

1) A three work order system was implemented, which saw the work traditionally undertaken while a property was vacant spread across the pre-vacancy, vacant and re-let phase.

2) Joint scoping between the void specialist and the representative from the PBMC ensured sound and pragmatic decision-making to meet the timeframe without compromising the quality.

Kicking goals

Since ‘go-live’, the Void Programme has been on a continuous trajectory of success. Regular meetings held with the Void Programme team and the PBMC scopers/supervisors saw best practice developed and introduced across the programme.

Currently all ten Auckland offices are under the 15 calendar day turnaround time, demonstrating that the three PBMCs have met the target. This is a truly fantastic result and proves the agility of Housing New Zealand PBMCs to respond to the programme.

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