Developer Land Securities has been working with the National House Building Council on a certificate of land quality that could shave three months off projects in the Thames Gateway.
NHBC, which insures new housing developments, is piloting the Land Quality Endorsement Service on Land Securities’ Eastern Quarry site near Northfleet in Kent.
The site will eventually provide 6500 homes but the developer must first reform 25 million m3 of Thanet sand.
A team of engineers from NHBC will work on the land-reform process and issue the certificate when the work is complete. This means that housebuilders will not have to commission a separate geotechnical survey of the land to attain a warranty for the homes - a process that takes up to three months to complete on complex brownfield developments.
Steve McGuckin, who heads project management at Land Securities, said: “Brownfield land is perceived as riskier, but it’s a matter of managing that in an effective way. This will create a confidence trail for housebuilders, homeowners and mortgage lenders.”
Andy Freeman, project director, said it wouldn’t add a premium to the price. He would not, however, say how much the process would cost.
A spokesperson for NHBC said it was a bespoke service and costs would vary from site to site. NHBC is approaching other developers to take part in the scheme.