Taking the Development Reins

By Chris Seeley · 24 July 2020


There is a really interesting piece in this week’s Inside Housing about the move back to traditional land led development for Housing Associations.

There are several factors driving that transition and we think the key drivers are related to gaining control over quality, timing and standards. The issues relating to the timing of S106 development are well rehearsed and relate to the sale rates of homes and the point at which the developer, for they often hold the reins, decides to build out your homes.

Standards relate to the type, size and specification of the homes being built. Under a S106 competition one might not have as much leeway as you might want to demand larger homes or different types of property. The debate about quality is now long running but we still have a sense that through a construction contract and the development of a partnering ethos with a contractor, where you might be a sizable client, quality is more likely to increase reducing defects and increasing resident satisfaction.

But land led development is more complicated and requires greater project management skills from your development team and this is where we think our skilled and senior development practitioners can make a difference in interim roles or managing projects. A quick check in with the ARK development team reveals that most of our people have been delivering programmes for clients where the bias of their work has been on the more traditional role of site sourcing and negotiation, site appraisal, appointing, leading and chivvying design teams to hit standards for place as well as property, working with communities to win planning permissions, procuring contractors and seeing schemes built out. Those skills are of course appropriate to development on land already owned by Housing Associations and councils.

We have never stopped land led development, so we have retained our skills and in the process assisted in the development of many thousands of new homes. We look forward and have been supporting the offsite precision engineered housing movement, we are now working hard to assist in working through the routes to decarbonising our future homes and keen to encourage discussion regarding the Space race. If your organisation is “taking the reins” and seeking senior practitioner support for development or regeneration Chris would love to have a chat.

Contact us to find out more – ark@arkconsultancy.co.uk.

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