Cultural values may not be at the top of every private housebuilder’s priorities but they are at St James Homes – which is why it won this award sponsored by Home Service (GB)
It was the emphasis on the combination of art and architecture, on cultural values and on creating beautiful places for people to live, that made St James stand out from the crowd in this category. This Surrey housebuilder has come up with some superb developments, largely on land acquired through its partnership with Thames Water, including the Stock Woolstencroft-designed New River Village in Hornsey, east London. This is a particularly fine example of creating a culturally vibrant community, as St James has redeveloped the original Victorian pump house on the site of this former water treatment works, turning it into a restaurant and gallery that is set to house the first permanent Royal Academy exhibition space outside its Piccadilly home.
As the judges said: “There is clearly a strong ethos to St James’ approach to design and development, which shows in their end product. The company recognises the added value that art, architecture and landscaping can bring.”
This Newcastle-based firm has been plugging away at selling its homes in the lower to middle end of the market, and has been doing rather nicely, thank you, with last year’s turnover at over £1bn, up from £773m in 2002. It has some fine exemplar projects under its belt, such as the Cardiff Bay scheme that has reclaimed land from under water, no less, and is now on site building a mixed-use community of 900 homes there. Bellway now builds 75% of its developments on brownfield land.
Last year, Berkeley Homes launched is sustainability plan and it is this – along with some stunning developments – that has earned it a place on the shortlist. Placing an emphasis on forging partnerships to identify development opportunities, Berkeley is increasingly working with government agencies and departments in order to increase its commitment to regeneration. Now more than 95% of its homes are built on brownfield land and sustainability plans are created for every project.
In its entry to this competition, Bowey pointed out some hard facts – revenue is up 23% on last year and profitability up an impressive 76%. How did they do it? It could have something to do with one of the slickest marketing campaigns our judges have seen in this competition. This includes not just a well-targeted advertising campaign aimed at marketing-savvy, well-heeled consumers, but also a bi-annual customer relationship magazine and e-flyers sent out to customers on the online database. Clever stuff.
This south-western regional housebuilder has gone from strength to strength, and this is one of six appearances in a Building Communities Awards shortlist. No need then to tell of its superb energy-efficient developments, its triumphant public-private partnership, its rural housing, category-winning customer service, or its product innovation. But what about its new offices in Bristol, its 1000-plot landbank and its dozens of other industry awards …
This Scottish housebuilder is a growing business – as its acquisition of Fairclough Homes confirms. With a 2004 turnover of £400m, the company’s sales have increased a staggering 400% over the past five years. Miller’s new procurement strategy has, it says, delivered £1.23m in savings. What’s more, it has sold £272m worth of homes over the internet, at an average marketing cost of less than £200 per sale – less than 10% of what it normally costs. Now that’s good business sense.
The Building Communties awards 2005
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Private sector housebuilder of the year: Winner St James Homes