Leading the way in meaningful development

We’ve got some big problems in our industry. We need to think about more meaningful development.

It’s time to acknowledge that things need improving – starting from now. We’re not just talking about the quality of places and spaces we build, but our approach to development and regeneration as a whole, including the company cultures we’re nurturing. For example, did you know that our industry ranks in the bottom three for ethnic representation? (Source: The Green Park Leadership 10,000 Report).

Raising awareness of the issues we are facing is the important first step to taking action.

Creating new places and spaces is a constant hum of activity across the country as old and unused buildings, are updated or replaced to meet the wants and needs of modern communities. But general feelings towards property developers steer towards negativity, despite their good intentions to improve an area. Assumptions are often made that property developers put profit before purpose in the decisions they make during the build process, with little regard for the end product. 

In fact, there is next to no brand loyalty when it comes to purchasing a property. 98% of people surveyed within communities that have been developed, distrusted the developers. And only 10% of people have faith in local authorities when planning large developments (Source: Housing Today). We need to do more to turn this around. 

It’s our mission to inspire the property industry to do better.

We know that more can be done to improve the process at every step, to help shift the negative perception of developers. The creation of our Live Well® manifesto is setting the bar for how we deliver our homes. The way we see it, homes should make life better. Not only for the people who live in them but also for the people who build them. And the communities they’re built in. And for the world as a whole.

Live Well® is our centre for innovation, where we think, test, question and explore, pushing boundaries to build better homes for a better world. It’s driven by four main pillars; team, customers, neighbourhoods and planet.  

By empowering our team 

It starts with our team, the people behind the whole process. We aim to improve the mental and physical health of every Joseph Homes employee, both onsite and off. We do this through the constant consideration of the work environment, as well as ensuring we have a great support network, clear progression and opportunities to shine.

We want our people to feel they are making a difference with the places we deliver and have fun whilst doing it.

That’s why we have an active programme of activities including such as yoga and meditation sessions as well as workshops covering financial fitness and nutrition. We also advocate raising awareness of wider issues such as Mental Health Awareness Week and Plastic Free July to educate our team and give them the tools needed to make them feel they can make a difference in their daily lives.

By delivering quality for our customers

We want to inspire our customers to take our Live Well® values forward with them in their everyday lives. In a recent survey carried out with residents of The Tramyard in Balham, 62% of those surveyed said that our higher ceiling heights were the most important part of their purchasing decision. This was a design element we included to ensure our homes felt spacious and were flooded with natural light. 95% of these customers felt that the natural lighting in their homes was just right, which we’re chuffed to hear. 

Toxicity in our homes is over three times worse than outdoor air pollution and is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. (Source: Air Quality News & Parliment UK)

It’s a hard thing to get your head around, especially when we see our homes as our sanctuaries from the outdoor world. So what can we do? We’re exploring new materials, testing new techniques and researching technologies that make our homes smarter, more efficient and toxin-free, helping our homeowners stay healthy in mind and body. 

It’s no secret that quality control in residential new build property is far lower than others in the manufacturing industry. We exist to ensure that our customers have thoughtfully designed homes, built with their wellbeing in mind and have the support they need through their purchase and beyond. It’s not something we get right 100% of the time but we always support our homeowners and address any questions they have, learning and taking lessons learned forward with us for our future developments.  

By engaging our neighbourhoods

We want to create beautifully designed places and spaces that make a positive contribution to the wider community. We understand that our homes are part of something much bigger: neighbourhoods, communities and cultures. And we’re always looking for new ways to support and improve the neighbourhoods we work in. That’s why engagement with the neighbourhoods we develop is so important to us. Ensuring a transparent and collaborative level of engagement at every step of the planning process is vital for us as well as speaking to a diverse spectrum of the local community. Read more about our engagement approach and the impact of COVID in our blog post here.

By doing our bit for the planet

 The built environment accounts for 40% of all the UK carbon emissions. (Source: UKGBC)

A shocking statistic. We want to help set the standard for sustainable development at every level to help reduce this impact. We’re leading the way in sustainable construction methods, environmentally friendly building materials and energy-efficient housing. Our Design and Technical teams are on a mission to improve how we deliver our homes, researching and testing every possible aspect of the build process. We’re hoping by sharing our learnings we can inspire other developers to adopt our methods and reach a higher potential for better homes.

For example, Sylvan Grove, our 32-storey mixed-use development on South London’s Old Kent Road will be the first UK scheme to use MVHR units at scale to meet the building’s heating and hot water requirements. Mechanical Ventilation will distribute fresh, filtered air throughout the building, while the Heat Recovery system will lock in and recirculate existing heat, even harnessing body heat to reduce overall energy consumption. In doing this, the building’s heating is autonomous, which means there’s no need to import energy to heat the homes and workspaces. reducing the demand for fossil fuels and taking the strain off the UK’s electricity grid. All in all, it translates to 69% fewer carbon emissions than is expected for a building of its size.

By shifting perceptions, seeing development as a force for good

Our Live Well® manifesto is not just there to guide us. Our aspiration is for other developers to be inspired by our approach and to take some learning from it to take a similar approach in their processes to raise the bar across the whole industry. To consider every step with the purpose to deliver meaningful property development.

We’ll always be transparent in how our efforts to build better homes for a better world is progressing. It’s one of the reasons we became the first UK developer to become a certified B Corporation. We’re legally required to consider the impact of our decisions on our team, customers, suppliers, community, and environment and report on our progress. This inspiring community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. 

Purposeful Profit

So the burgeoning question for any developer out there is can you do all this at a profit? The answer is yes. Purpose pays. But you have to take a long term view. Patient capital is key as is a kaizen approach to improvement.

You can’t do this all at once, it’s a journey and having alignment with your supply chain is critical for this journey to be successful.

Feeling inspired?

We’re always happy to talk about our Live Well® manifesto and B Corp status, feel free to get in touch with us to discuss how we can work together to raise the bar and encourage more meaningful development in our industry.

Joseph Rajah

Leading the way in meaningful development - Joseph Homes
Leading the way in meaningful development - Joseph Homes
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