Tradies needed to test app

Sustainability Options development manager Jo Wills is looking for tradies. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

A new online platform developed to link up tradies to volunteer their services to fix homes of people in need – to make them healthier, warmer, dry and more comfortable to live in – needs some tradespeople to test it out.

Tauranga-based social business Sustainability Options visits hundreds of homes in the Western Bay of Plenty identifying needs and providing advice on home performance around how to create a warm, dry, healthy home.

But Sustainability Options development manager Jo Wills says they know their advice can take a back seat until vital maintenance work can be completed.

So they've created Tradebank – an online platform that will task tradespeople with big hearts, professional skills and qualifications to volunteer time, energy and skills to help the most vulnerable and at-risk in our community who need house-related repairs.

Jo says tradespeople will be able to log on and load their availability at any time on any given day of the week.

Tradebank will then identify, describe and qualify the housing repair needs for vulnerable and at-risk homes and act as project managers.

“Tradebank matches the right tradesperson to the right job using an online booking system, which tradespeople have populated with their availability,” says Jo.

“We've gone to great lengths to make this process simple for all parties involved, making sure the ultimate goal is removing barriers for people to get essential maintenance work completed on their homes that otherwise wouldn't get carried out.”

Jo says winter is when projects become more urgent “but year-round we focus on making people's homes warm, dry and comfortable.

“Mainly, it is repairs and maintenance to get a home performing well. A simple example is a leak in the floor, which makes it difficult to install a vapour barrier or insulation.

“Another example is it's difficult to install roof insulation if you've got electrical wiring issues.

“Also things like installing extraction fans in bathrooms and kitchens. Just stuff that won't get done because the priority is on other things.

“But vital repair and maintenance needs to be undertaken for a house to perform better and be warmer and drier.”

 Jo says sometimes in rental properties, little repairs don't get done – but that little repair can be controlling heat loss or the amount of moisture in the home.

“So a focus on the basics can help keep the heat in and keep the moisture out.

“The need is very common, we see it regularly and we are in homes every day.”

Jo says Tradebank services will be directed at people in need who don't have the capacity to get the work done themselves. “This may be renters or homeowners who cannot afford the repairs.”

Jo says Sustainability Options will access the need for each job, and cost of materials will be managed by Tradebank on a case-by-case scenario.

For more information or to sign up to test the system visit www.tradebank.org.nz or contact Tradebank project manager Jo Wills on 021 2777 042, email jo.wills@so.org.nz

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