ENGIE is rolling out a new development model nationally after trialling in London. The regeneration business claims that the new concept could be the key to unlocking more homes, with results showing that contractors can be on site 30% quicker, resulting in quicker delivery of sites; all while achieving minimal defects.
Over the past two years, business ENGIE has been working with Waltham Forest Council on its small-site development programme. It says that the findings are overwhelmingly positive, prompting the company to roll it out nationally.
Dan Germann, Regional Managing Director for ENGIE’s Places & Communities division, said, “In 2016 we were appointed onto Waltham Forest Council’s framework as the sole contractor to develop several small garage sites – 300 affordable units across 25 developments. In order to make the process more efficient, we assisted in the planning process to highlight and mitigate any risks ahead of submitting for approval, working alongside the client team.
“By working collaboratively throughout the planning phases, we were able to speed up the entire process and work on multiple stages of the pre-construction process at the same time
“Over the duration of the partnership, it became apparent how effective the long-term approach can really be for a programme like this, and how the principles can be replicated for other clients.”
The foundation of ENGIE’s small site development model is collaboration during pre-construction. ENGIE worked alongside Waltham Forest’s appointed design team to review requirements against planning proposals and liaised with the architects, ensuring the scheme was sustainable. The process allows risks to be identified and mitigated ahead of planning, e.g. party walls, asbestos or drainage issues, and results in reduced construction costs, increased local employment and more rapid delivery.
Over the course of two years, ENGIE has now handed over 14 completed sites to Waltham Forest Council. By managing multiple stages of the pre-construction process concurrently under the new development model ENGIE was on site within 36 weeks – a 30% reduction, saving time and money while delivering much-needed affordable homes for people in the region.
Germann said, “Timing is just one vital part of this small-site solution and arguably the most prominent in terms of tackling the housing crisis. The early collaboration and rigorous planning have resulted in minimal defects – averaging just 1.58 per unit – meaning the quality of homes were of the highest standard. The lack of adjustments and alterations required, also resulted in us saving money which can be reinvested to build even more homes.”
James Briggs, Development Director for Waltham Forest Council’s development company, Sixty Bricks, added, “Post completion, we’ve had no problems at all with defects. The after-care team has been customer-focussed, ensuring residents get moved in to their homes quicker. On handover, all of the units were pristine and ready to go.”
Dan concluded, “It is now prudent that we take these findings and demonstrate them more widely to our partners across the country, so we can support them in building the homes they desperately need.”