AFF housing specialist Cat Calder gives the lowdown on extra funding for service accommodation…
To help generate work in the building industry after the first COVID-19 lockdown, the government gave DIO £200
million to improve service accommodation. Of this, £122 million was earmarked for SFA and, on top of this year’s
£123 million budget, it means much more work can be done.
3,500 SFA are being upgraded, including bringing 800 void properties back into use. Some roads, street lighting and play parks are also being improved.
What’s the catch?
Great news, but it’s too good to be true, right? Well, this extra money must be spent within 18 months. Surveys (desktop and physical) have already taken place to identify which SFA need improvements and many are already empty. However, in some occupied quarters the work needed will be extensive, such as re-wiring and replumbing, which may mean that you have to move out while it’s being done.
AFF is working with DIO and Amey to ensure that those of you affected are given clear information so that you can
plan your moves with minimum hassle. Removals to another quarter will be paid for and you can apply for Disturbance Expense through the usual channels.
DIO and Amey have said that they are working closely with heads of establishment and welfare teams and will be as accommodating as possible over the new allocation. If you need to stay in the same area for schooling, for example, speak to your welfare team so they can alert Amey. For these moves, you won’t need to leave your SFA to move-out standard.
Once the work is finished, you may be able to move back into the newly refurbished house.
At AFF, we appreciate that moving mid-tour is a huge disruption, even with removals being paid for. However, this
is a huge opportunity to bring SFA up to the standard that we would love to see.
Larkhill has already seen the first wave of refurbishments – removing old kitchens, bathrooms, pipework and
radiators, boilers, wiring and the old ceilings and floors.
The interiors now meet the latest regulations and there’s no woodchip in sight! The walls have been replastered, and there are new carpets and curtains.
Exteriors have also had a full makeover, including new roofs, windows, doors, fencing, loft and external wall insulation.
This has transformed the look of the properties and improved their thermal efficiency, so they should be far more comfortable to live in, and benefit from reduced heating bills.
If you’ve received a letter asking you to move out and have any concerns, speak to the Amey helpdesk and your welfare team or email us at email@example.com
For more information, search Service Family Accommodation at gov.uk