In January 2013, Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA announced an aggressive Action Plan to eliminate the Authority’s backlog of outstanding maintenance and repair work orders by the end of the year.
As a result of NYCHA’s Action Plan to improve its accountability and efficiency in responding to maintenance and repair work orders, the Authority is pleased to report that it has reduced its backlog from 332,639 work orders on January 1, 2013 to 48,344 as of December 1, 2013. With this reduction, the total number of open work orders is 138,344, which includes a baseline of about 90,000 work orders considered to be routine, in-progress work. NYCHA began its Action Plan with 422,639 open work orders, including the 90,000 baseline. The Authority has now reduced the backlog of work orders by approximately 85 percent and anticipates that by the end of 2013, the backlog will be reduced by 93 percent, to approximately 24,000.
The reduction of 16,379 open work orders achieved during the month of November continues a year of steady progress that has resulted in 284,295 fewer open work orders. In addition, NYCHA has completed the work required for another 16,000 work orders, and will close these to accurately reflect the work already finished. Once these 16,000 work orders are closed, NYCHA will have a total backlog of 32,000 work orders.
Residents are seeing many of their repairs being addressed. Since the beginning of the year, NYCHA has eliminated more than 2.4 million repair work orders, and nearly 2.1 million new work orders have been created. The success of NYCHA’s maintenance and repair program can also be seen in the results of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) annual Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS). The PHAS scores NYCHA has received this year to date have improved by an average of 8 percent overall since the last inspection, an improvement driven by a 20 percent increase in the scores within apartments. PHAS inspections are conducted by independent, third-party inspectors hired by HUD. This independent assessment confirms that the work NYCHA has performed has positively impacted the conditions in which our residents live.
Along with reducing the total number of open work orders, NYCHA has also reduced the average time it takes to respond to work requested by residents. For example, the average time it takes to respond to a request for maintenance has been reduced to 20 days citywide. In the Bronx, the average response time is 8 days and in Queens and Staten Island, the average is 10 days. These response times are advancing toward the target of 7 days on average. Response times for most other repair requests also show significant improvement, with the average time to address key work, including front doors, compactors, intercoms, mildew and extermination, now less than two weeks. There is still more work to be done, and in some skilled trades the wait time is still considerable. The average response times for carpenters and plasterers are currently 92 and 155 days, respectively, down from more than 270 days at the beginning of the year. NYCHA continues to focus on reducing these response times to meet the target of an average of 15 days.
NYCHA employees – including members of District Council 37; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local #3; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 237; the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Local Union 1969, District Council 9; the Plumbers and Gasfitters Union, Local 1; and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the NYC District Council of Carpenters – have been critical to the success of this initiative, providing exemplary service to the residents of public housing and the City of New York. To date, NYCHA has added 565 employees to support the overall work order reduction plan, including 389 new maintenance and skilled trade workers. Throughout this process, these employees, including maintenance and skilled trades workers as well as clerical and supervisory staff, have come up with creative and innovative solutions to provide better service to the residents of public housing. The continued progress in eliminating the backlog relies on the active engagement of all of NYCHA’s employees, who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the residents of public housing.
Chart 1 shows in green bars the actual number of open maintenance and repair work orders each month from January 1, 2013, to December 1, 2013. The chart also shows in blue bars NYCHA’s forecast for reducing the backlog over the next month. Over the past 11 months, the number of work orders outstanding (open) dropped from a high of 422,639 work orders on January 1, 2013, to 138,344 work orders as of December 1, 2013 (a reduction of 284,295). As there will always be “work-in-progress,” based on the new Service Level Goal, NYCHA estimates that it will have approximately 90,000 work orders in progress at any one point in time after the backlog has been eliminated.
Chart 2 provides an average daily rate of reduction of the backlog from week to week. In order to meet our goal of eliminating the backlog, NYCHA needs to close more work orders than are created. To compute this chart, NYCHA looked at the total number of work orders created and subtracted the total number of work orders closed and cancelled. The difference, if positive, is the reduction in the backlog. For example, during the week of November 25, 2013, NYCHA staff on average closed approximately 1,729 more work orders than were created each day, thus reducing the backlog by approximately 1,729 work orders.
Chart 3 highlights how NYCHA performed against its Service Level Goal. Currently, NYCHA is working toward meeting higher productivity goals, with the expectation that maintenance and skilled trade work order completions will be done on average within 7-15 days. From October to November, the number of days to respond and complete skilled trade work orders decreased by 13 days. Meanwhile, during that same period, the average number of days to respond and complete work orders for maintenance issues decreased by 2 days. An increase in response and completion time reflects NYCHA’s efforts to address the work orders outstanding (in terms of days) for very long periods of time. As older work orders are closed, we expect to see a significant improvement in our service level performance. The service level performance includes work orders in completed status where the initial repair was done but additional follow-up is needed. If these completed work orders are not included, the service level for maintenance work orders is 20 days.
Plan NYCHA: Expedite Maintenance and Repairs
NYCHA outlined maintenance and repairs as a top priority in our strategic roadmap Plan NYCHA