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News Release

London

Housebuilders Face Government’s ‘Big Society’ Challenge Head-On

By Building Sustainable and Vibrant Communities - according to NextGeneration


London, 15th November 2010 - According to the NextGeneration benchmark survey unveiled today, the UK’s housebuilders are responding well to the Government’s ‘Big Society’ sustainable community objectives.  Upstream Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle acts as the secretariat to the initiative, carrying out the analysis for the benchmarking and delivering a range of services to NextGeneration members.
 
The annual NextGeneration benchmark - which saw Berkeley Group, Crest Nicholson and Miller Homes once again top the rankings - brings UK home builders responsible for delivering fifty per cent of the annual housing output from the private sector together with WWF-UK and the Homes and Communities Agency and reviews the sector’s progress in creating sustainable communities.  This year's report was also sponsored by the National House Building Council and Lloyds Banking Group.
 
The housebuilding sector’s focus over the last few years has been on environmental issues associated with sustainability, such as energy and carbon.  However, homebuilders clearly also play a vital role in creating sustainable communities, both within the developments they create and also within the wider community.  It is against this backdrop that this year’s benchmark has focused on sustainable communities, a concept that recognises the wider role of social and economic issues in delivering sustainable development.
 
Examples of community focused initiatives being rolled-out by the housebuilders include:
 
Berkeley Group has set a minimum target for all of its developments to achieve Silver under Building for Life, the Government’s housing design quality standard, and is working with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), who manage the standard, to achieve this target.
Crest Nicholson are partners in a unique TSB supported research consortium, AIMC4, (www.aimc4.com) which will pioneer innovative and low cost solutions to ensure the delivery of low carbon homes for the sustainable communities of the future.
Miller Homes provides buyers of their homes with access to websites on which residents of a new community can communicate with their neighbours, share information and make social arrangements.
Taylor Wimpey has integrated car clubs into a number of its developments and implemented other innovative ways to encourage residents to reduce their car usage, such as providing vouchers to new residents to purchase a bicycle.
Redrow has delivered various public and community spaces, including award winning new town square in Barking where the development incorporates a new public library, learning centre, council one stop shop and crèche.
Willmott Dixon ensures consultation takes place with local police on the design of all of its developments and residents are provided with information in handover manuals on how to use the security features in their home as well as contact details for the local police.
Barratt Homes has partnered with an energy supplier to develop a communal heating system that it has used on several developments in London. Residents were invited to an open day to find out more information about the system and to ask the supplier questions.
Gladedale Group has worked with partners such as Job Centre Plus to deliver training schemes on its projects and has encouraged long term employment opportunities on its developments by providing small or start up businesses with rent free space.
 
Karl Whiteman, Divisional Executive Director at The Berkeley Group and Chair of the company’s Sustainability Committee commented: “Sustainability is at the very core of The Berkeley Group’s business and we are pleased to see that our commitment has been recognised once again by topping the NextGeneration Benchmark survey for the fourth consecutive year.  We continually strive to enhance sustainability across all aspects of our business and this year we launched our ambitious Vision 2020 strategy. Vision 2020 sets out our sustainability strategy over the next decade and ensures that we not only continue to lead the property sector’s approach to this vital issue, but that we enhance our credentials one of the UK’s most sustainable businesses.”
 
Chief Executive of Crest Nicholson, Stephen Stone, said: “Driving innovation and progress in the delivery of new and cost-effective technical solutions is essential in underpinning the creation of sustainable communities. As a business, we place significant emphasis on pioneering new approaches that will ensure low carbon homes become a mainstay of the industry, and the ability of our sector to evolve will be key in terms of ensuring future housing delivery continues to meet stringent environmental demands.”
 
Garry McDonald, Procurement Director at Miller Homes, said: "As a business, we are committed to driving sustainable development and implementing innovative techniques not only for building homes but to support the communities within created by our activity. My Miller Street is an online social network community which encourages interaction between neighbours on Miller Homes' developments. This has been an excellent addition to our customer offering, further helping to support our approach to building sustainable homes and communities."
 
Zoe Leader, Sustainable Homes Policy Officer at WWF said: “WWF has always believed that truly sustainable homes are about more than the environmental performance of the home itself. Homes are the hub for so many things in our lives such as how we travel, where we choose to shop and how we interact in the community. It is great to see NextGeneration and its members examining just this issue and being brave enough to highlight the industry's shortcomings. While there are many great examples of housebuilders working to create sustainable communities we would encourage the housebuilding industry to really embrace the best practice and recommendations identified in this report to ensure all future developments become sustainable in all senses of the word.”
 
Julie Hirigoyen, Upstream Sustainability Services, Jones Lang LaSalle concluded:  “The previous Government set a challenge to the home building industry to deliver “sustainable communities” and the industry’s response has been positive.  The current Government will be setting an equally demanding challenge to the industry to engage local communities and help create a stronger society.  The ability of UK home builders to respond to the challenges of Localism and the Big Society will be critical to their future success, requiring new ways of working with local people, before and after construction activity has taken place. NextGeneration is playing a crucial role in enabling homebuilders to deliver more sustainable homes and communities through collaboration amongst home builders and other stakeholders.
As well as meeting people’s physical needs, homes are also central to many social and economic issues faced by society, such as affordability, well being, health, public safety and mobility.  The process of creating new homes therefore plays a vital role in shaping the future of our society.
 
- ends -
 
- Report available upon request -
 
Notes to Editors

About NextGeneration

NextGeneration was launched in 2006 building on the success of the Insight Investment and WWF sustainability benchmarking exercises of the industry (undertaken in 2004 and 2005) and to expand the reach and ownership of the benchmarks.
 
Set up as a multi-stakeholder initiative, NextGeneration aims to drive best practice in sustainability into the heart of the residential sector by encouraging the industry itself to develop and deliver more sustainable homes. It is  a platform which enables developers to both identify the sustainability-related risks to their business and develop a good understanding of how best to address the related opportunities.
 
For the 2010 benchmark, NextGeneration has been supported and directed by WWF-UK and the Homes and Communities Agency through their role on the Executive Committee. Upstream Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle acts as the secretariat to the initiative, carrying out the analysis for the benchmarking and delivering a range of services to NextGeneration members.
 
The unique output of NextGeneration is the production of an annual benchmark of the UK’s top 25 homebuilders. The 2009 benchmark focussed on the industry’s approach to overall corporate sustainability while the 2010 benchmark has taken a topic-specific approach, following on from the success of the 2008 benchmark that focussed on climate change.