New real-time instant inspection reporting app offers social landlords ‘big savings’

HouseMark, the market leading provider of data and insight in the housing sector, has announced the launch of a brand new mobile app and web portal that could revolutionise estate inspections for registered social landlords. 

Announced to coincide with CIH Scotland’s 2017 Scottish Housing Festival in Glasgow, the app has been launched alongside the results of a new survey showing that two-thirds of social landlords still record estate inspections manually on-site using pen and paper. 

Called Photobook, the new app enables social landlords to capture photos, take notes and complete inspections on their smartphone in real time and to then transfer the data directly into a downloadable report, removing the need to write up inspections manually. The app is also equipped with an online dashboard that allows performance to be systematically tracked and managed over time, including the facility to benchmark performance against other social landlords. 

Users have the freedom to use existing inspection templates or to configure their inspections via an easy-to-use online portal. Photobook is flexible enough to be used across a wide variety of different applications including estate services; repairs; mutual exchanges; voids; gas safety checks; tenancy health checks; vehicles; contractor works and inspections and to log new build snags. 

HouseMark carried out an initial pilot of the app during 2016 with two organisations, Magenta and Thurrock Council, beta testing an early version with limited functionality. By eliminating the need to complete a paper-based report on-site that has then to be entered manually into a central reporting system back at the office, HouseMark estimates that each member of staff using Photobook to complete inspections could save themselves at least two full working days every three months – or around 60 hours per year. 

Commenting on the launch of Photobook, Director of Product Development at HouseMark, Arturo Dell said:

“We have previously offered a paper-based version of Photobook designed to support a consistent approach to carrying out estate inspections. This was very well received by the sector and is still widely used today. However, with the emergence of modern smartphone technology, we saw an opportunity to create a digital version of Photobook which could offer additional functionality and significant time and cost savings through a far more efficient and integrated approach to estate inspections.”

Head of HouseMark Scotland Kirsty Wells commented: 

“It’s great to be able to launch Photobook to coincide with this year’s Scottish Housing Festival in Glasgow. This is an exciting new digital solution with the potential to revolutionise the way social landlords carry out estate inspections. The results of our recent survey highlight the huge benefits it could potentially bring with around two-thirds of social landlords still writing up survey reports manually using pen and paper. As well as big savings in time and money, Photobook could also significantly improve the effectiveness of estate inspections, bringing about real performance improvements over time."

View notes to Editors.

For more information about Photobook, please contact us.

By Nisha Shouan

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