St George has become such a strong brand name in London that its homes sell up to two years ahead of construction, and direct internet sales accounted for 3% of last year's 843 total. It has built up its reputation through eye-catching design, communication with customers, and embracing mixed use and urban regeneration. On site, St George has adopted fast-track precast concrete techniques, which minimise wet trades and scaffolding, achieve efficient build times and produce a high-quality product. Its recycling policy, including a plasterboard arrangement with British Gypsum, has reduced site waste by 30%. Its rigorous environmental policy means that all of its schemes are on brownfield sites and it has reclaimed 100 acres of derelict land over the past five years.
Willmott Dixon Housing
The results of Willmott Dixon Housing's decision to limit its client base and increase its partnered workload have shown in the bottom line: last year, turnover fell by 11% to £59m, but profit increased 73% to £1.8m. Technical innovation and staff development are also priorities, as demonstrated by the firm's Matrix 1 "knowledge bank" of preferred components and working practices, and its investment in a major staff empowerment programme.
Laing Homes continues to find new ways to improve and extend its product range. With most homes now "internet-ready", it is experimenting with built-in delivery docks to facilitate online shopping. It has made innovative use of its website, offering £500 incentive vouchers against the purchase of a new home. On site, it is committed to recycling and reducing lorry movements and is increasingly involved in converting historic properties.
The brownfield specialist is working hard to deliver innovation, product flexibility and improved customer care. It has researched construction techniques and products from the USA, and built 60% of last year's 753 homes with roof-space accommodation. Customer care is a strong point: Linden runs weekend surgeries where purchasers can discuss queries with senior construction staff, and supplies mobile phone numbers for out-of-office hours.
Building Awards 2001
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Housebuilder of the year: 500-2000 homes