How we changed our communication process

The housing associations taking part in SINFONIA have learned that it can be helpful to reconsider the way residents are involved in a project.

The time and effort required for the tenant involvement was enormous. It included individual meetings with all tenants at the beginning, followed by an externally moderated tenant workshop a month later. At the end of the workshop, the tenants had the possibility to visit and inspect a renovated demo apartment with built-in ventilation.

The costs for refurbishing the buildings while tenants were still present in their flats are very high. This is due to the time-delays incurred from arranging appointments with tradespeople and tenants. Tenants also have to take time off from work (holidays) to be at home during the refurbishment measures in their flat.

For one building project, the housing associations even designated a specific person and a weekly time period at the building site, where tenants could come with their personal concerns. This person served as a buffer for both the construction manager and property manager, and issues with regard to refurbishment tasks, appointments with tradespeople or well-being (noise, dust) were treated on a very personal and individual basis.

As a “thanks for enduring the stress during refurbishment”, they distributed breakfast-bags with fresh bread, newspaper and some small gifts.

The housing associations conclude that the time and effort required for these measures were enormous. For this reason, they would do it differently next time. For future projects, they will begin with workshops, visits and inspections of renovated flats. They would only organise and arrange individual appointments if there was a specific need.

Lessons learnt:

The time and effort required for tenant involvement was enormous. Results for further projects: We will start with workshops, visits and inspections of renovated flats and we would only organize and arrange individual appointments if there was a specific need.

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