APC competencies: housing maintenance, repair and improvements

Keep your house in order

11 March 2015

Ewan Craig, a speaker at the RICS annual ‘It’s Your APC’ conference, talks about the competency of housing maintenance, repair and improvements

Housing maintenance, repair and improvements is one of the optional competencies of the building surveying Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Housing and maintenance work demands a good ability to apply technical competencies together, for example:

  • construction technology and environmental services: how the housing stock is constructed
  • building pathology: how the building has, or is prone to, deterioration and how to remedy this
  • design and specification: how to improve a building to meet the client needs
  • legal/regulatory compliance: Building Regulations and CDM Regulations.

The levels

At level 1

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature of building maintenance, and the principles and practice of building maintenance management.

At level 2

Apply your knowledge to gather housing maintenance information, formulate policies, and implement housing maintenance management operations.

At level 3

Provide evidence of reasoned advice, prepare and present reports on maintenance management issues. You should be familiar with the housing maintenance, repair and improvements issues in your submission documents and be ready to address questions on them and aspects related to them.


Actual questions are based on the candidate’s experience, which should be at level 2 but could exceed this. Two examples are given below.

Could you please explain how you produced a planned maintenance programme for estate X?

This is aimed at level 2, however it could be extended to level 3, say if you presented the programme in a report. The answer would explain pertinent issues to support your application of knowledge.

The client brief required a planned maintenance programme for housing type A in estate X for the next 10 years. The programme was primarily for budgeting purposes to estimate larger items of planned maintenance in excess of £750. The programme would highlight future works, which would then have detailed inspections undertaken prior to any design and specification. Several houses already had condition surveys including estimated budget costs for repairs.

Given the time constraints of the APC your answer should give a brief but whole response

On reinspecting some of these houses it was found that these surveys were dated, so new surveys were undertaken. It was agreed with the client to inspect a set percentage of house type A in the estate as a representative sample that could be used to extrapolate a programme. I arranged access to the properties and worked with a team of surveyors to carry out the surveys. Works were identified such as reroofing, and external redecoration, with forecast years for works together with estimated costs.

The costs were built up from a combination of sources such as the Measured Term Contract and price books, adjusted using indices to the current year. From an initial programme of the base information, I grouped together works to make the programme efficient and also tie into known improvement works which had already been budgeted for in specific years.

Would you please explain how you consulted with the tenants, contractor and housing manager about the quality of the maintenance service and works in estates X, Y and Z? 

This is aimed at level 2. The answer would show the issues that were considered in applying your knowledge.

This was a routine periodic check on the Measured Term Contractor’s (MTC) work and services. I inspected a randomly selected sample of invoiced jobs from the MTC for those estates. I followed an agreed pro-forma assessing quality, value, process and customer issues. I inspected the works concerned, talking to the tenants and housing manager on each job on the relevant issues.

I also followed the document trail and checked the invoicing against the schedule of rates and works undertaken. Any anomalies found in the documents and works were checked in detail with the MTC and housing manager.


Given the time constraints of the APC your answer should give a brief but whole response. Care should be taken to demonstrate your own skills, abilities and knowledge to the assessors.

Ewan Craig is an APC assessor and the Programme Leader for the BSc [Hons] in Building Surveying at the College of Estate Management

Further information