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The Story Of Novoville Shared Repairs So Far

21-05-2021

BY LOUIS DAILLENCOURT

The Story Of Novoville Shared Repairs So Far
Helping homeowners fix their tenement collaboratively? There is an app for that. But it takes a few ingredients to get there.

First, you need buildings to fix. A century of age or more, made up of old stones and slate, often distinctively dark in colour, designed for the private housing market, and unfortunately, often quite cold, tenement blocks give Edinburgh its unique character. They are part of what makes the city such an appealing place to live and visit, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Then, there’s the problem: these buildings are in a state of slow decay. On top of that, the law governing how to repair them is complex. Consequently, apathy is rife amongst flat owners and, after issues with the Council’s Statutory notice repair system some years ago, the council has stepped back and needs the owners to take the responsibility for repair. It’s like a perfect storm.

Thankfully, there’s a new way to do innovation. CivTech has been driving improvements in the public sector for 5 years through their accelerator program. They let public sector challenges, represented by a council sponsor, meet real technologists who are looking to solve real problems. In areas as diverse as tree seeding to blue badges, shared repairs to land economy, CivTech have managed to spin off dozens of companies, creating hundreds of jobs for Scotland in the process.

Of course, there’s always a company: we’re Novoville. We’ve been working where public sector services and new forms of citizen engagement meet for half a decade. We run the customer service shopfront in Athens, provide mobile parking services in Birmingham, and frequently help your local council run consultations on important issues (most recently: the fallout from the pandemic). We have a lot of experience delivering solutions on the ground (from the cloud). We work all across Europe.

CivTech and the City of Edinburgh Council selected Novoville as their partner in November 2019. In April 2020, they renewed their confidence in Novoville by agreeing to continue funding the development of the app. Since then, it’s been a race against time to release Novoville Shared Repairs, and we’re quite proud of it. It’s ambitious, but there’s no innovation without taking on difficult things.

Novoville would like to thank CivTech and the City of Edinburgh Council for their continued trust and support. There is a lot more to build and a lot more to achieve in the repair and maintenance space in Scotland. You know where to find us.