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Maximising the Value of Confined Urban Sites in the London Residential Development Sector

Blog | 12.08.20 | 0 comments

Homes are not just places for people to live in; they are places to put down roots, raise a family, enjoy a sense of belonging. After a period of unprecedented social isolation and shared experience due to COVID-19, now, more than ever, homes need to put people at the heart of communities and community needs to be at the heart of homebuilding strategies.

But it’s not easy. In London, development land can be difficult to come by and the high cost of sites, along with the challenges of building in a busy urban environment, often mean that community is much lower down the list of design priorities than return on investment.

 

A Proven Approach

At Edgeley Construction, our history, experience, and commitment to enabling developers to maximise their sites with proven buildability solutions means there never needs to be a compromise between liveability and profitability. Getting a residential development right is not just about the financial return, but about creating homes that will be of value to people now, as well as offering viable returns and retaining value.

Of course, in the London market, there is an assumption of escalating values, regardless of build quality or design ingenuity. The reality is, however, that imaginative, exceptional homes create value beyond house prices by supporting local communities, businesses and jobs as part of a circular economy approach to residential development.

Much of the buildability expertise we bring to smaller sites involves solutions for tight, congested locations and/or refurbishment of unused or derelict properties. These ‘infill’ sites are amongst the most challenging design and build programmes, but they allow developers to create homes in the urban locations where people want to live; often because they’ve grown up there or worked there for years. That’s why working with a construction company with the experience to overcome the site’s inherent challenges is so important.

The question is, how can we make the most of smaller city sites to deliver that value for both developers and their customers?

 

At Home in the London Market

As a family business that has two generations of Londoners working side by side, we know London and we’ve seen it change over time. Locations that were once affordable and a little rough around the edges are now in vogue, and beyond the price range of many buyers and renters. Gentrification has changed our geography, and the way we approach building new homes has changed with it. Just because new-build conventional semis are off the menu in most inner London suburbs, however, doesn’t mean we should give up on the idea of a family home that meets the needs of different generations. Far from it. Now, more than ever, our role in the construction industry is to create homes and communities that bring people together.

Our challenge, then, is to consider ways in which we can maximise the potential of sites by delivering flexible homes that benefit from every inch of space and every ounce of natural light. Instead of looking at the limitations of a site and the challenges involved in building there, Edgeley Construction helps developers deliver solutions that work in terms of design, buildability and project management.

Our expertise across design, pre-construction, construction and refurbishment means we can bring creative thinking to the table at every point in the project journey, adding value for landowners and developers with proactive suggestions.  Often, that involves refurbishing an existing building and converting it to residential accommodation while adding a new-build extension. Sometimes, this may include creating additional space by excavating a basement or adding extra storeys. It may even include mixing residential units with commercial spaces or live/work units because communities are not just places to live, but places to work, socialise and interact too.

 

Experience Matters

At Edgeley Construction, our track record includes conversion of traditional houses into apartments, maximising the potential of the plot with basement and roof extensions and remodelling the interior to deliver increased occupancy, without reducing livability.

Our experience of commercial-to-residential developments includes heritage buildings, where we’ve constructed new accommodation behind a preserved façade. We’re also used to working on confined sites where we regularly have to manage party wall agreements with neighbours on all four sides, or work around restrictions for local road and rail infrastructure.

Our pre-construction capabilities mean we’re not fazed by these challenges. By working with an experienced contractor early in the project cycle, developers can leverage increased value from their schemes by tapping into our expertise. We can help with design development, outline the temporary works requirements and develop a programme that overcomes project challenges and respects the local community.

 

Creating Homes for People

The COVID-19 pandemic has had many long-lasting effects, and one of them is an increased sense of the value of home. There will always be commercial factors at play across all private, affordable and social elements of the residential sector, but underpinning these must be the understanding that building homes is about people. Our job is to navigate the journey from vacant site to creating spaces where people want to live, no matter how many obstacles may be in our path.

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