News

Kier Group announces solid full-year results to 30 June 2018.

Kier Group announces solid full-year results to 30 June 2018. This is underpinned by a consistent performance from its private housebuilding arm Kier Living which generated a revenue of £175m, with the business’ total revenue £374m. The total operating profit increased 14% to £25.9m and it achieved a 15% ROCE, two years ahead of its Vision 2020 financial target.

Demand for new housing remains high with Kier Living sales continuing to be strong, especially in the second part of the year. On average for 2017/18, approximately 0.7 units sold per week per trading site. In total, Kier Living completed 749 private units over the year.

With an average house price of c £240,000 Kier Living is providing housing solutions for many buyers, with the Help to Buy scheme assisting c.50% of all its sales.

In June 2018, Kier Living announced a joint venture with Homes England and Cross Keys Homes to facilitate increased housebuilding through capital efficient structures to deliver housing in areas of the country with the greatest need. The aspiration is to deliver 5,400 units, with a mix of tenure, over the next ten years. Each site has a Virtual World Plaque™ installed as it looks to address the skills shortage facing the sector. These physical markers, alongside online and social content and a schools’ outreach programme form part of the award-winning Shaping Your World™ skills campaign that is inspiring 11-15-year olds to consider a role within the built environment.

Commenting on the full-year results, John Anderson, executive director of Kier Living, said: “I am pleased with another set of solid full-year results for our residential business which has seen volume remain on track while increasing our operating profit 14% to £25.9m. We have achieved ROCE of 15%, one of the key financial objectives in our Vision 2020, two years ahead of schedule. We will continue to adapt to market demands and provide innovative solutions to accelerate the housing stock this country desperately needs.

“The recent Oliver Letwin report suggested we need an extra 15,000 brick layers to build the 300,000 houses needed per annum. Kier Living is proactively addressing the skills shortage faced by the industry by engaging with the next generation of talent.  We are a signatory of the HBF Skills Partnership which aims to encourage young people to see house building as a viable career option and to train in core key skills. We are also using our own Shaping Your World™ campaign to showcase the breadth of roles available in order to create a diverse workforce that will deliver new housing in the coming years.

“In parallel with addressing the skills shortage we are also continuing to focus on the importance of our relationship with our customers. We have invested £3m in upgrading a front-end customer relations software platform to provide the highest levels of service and communication to our customers and look forward to continuing to deliver houses of high quality and design that people are proud to call home.”

Estelle Palmer is an apprentice groundworker with Kier Living at its Oakbrook development which is part of the Homes England and Cross Keys Homes joint venture that has pledged three apprenticeship placements at each of its sites. Estelle comments on her first six months working in the housebuilding industry: “I would absolutely recommend this industry to anyone struggling to decide what to do as a career. There is a huge demand for new housing across the country, opportunities are ripe, and you can enter the industry in various ways, from apprenticeships to graduate programmes. I may have only been working in the industry for the last six months, but it already feels like home.”

Kier Living also launched two new regions, Wales & West of England and Southern to bolster its overall position to deliver new housing and continued to look for and invest in innovative solutions to housebuilding, including working with its supply chain to utilise modern methods of construction (MMC).

An innovative joint venture (JV) partnership has been formed between Kier, Homes England and Cross Key Homes that will deliver up to 5,400 new homes over the next ten years in areas of the country with the greatest need.

This pioneering collaboration between Government and Kier Living, the residential division of Kier Group, will supply mixed tenure housing projects in key geographical locations across England.

The first four sites to form the partnership are confirmed today, with a number in the West Midlands, an area identified as having a significant housing delivery shortfall. The initial developments are; The Laurels in Tipton, Meadowbank in Newcastle-under-Lyme, The Orchards in Rushwick and Chelmsley Lane in Marston Green. The pipeline for additional sites is strong and modelled to grow to 18 trading sites spanning the breadth of the country by the middle of 2020. Over the lifetime of the JV, the intention is to create diverse communities, with 30% of all of the homes set at affordable levels.

The JV will invest in skills and new innovations throughout the lifetime of its partnership. At least three new apprenticeships will be supported at each site and a minimum of 50% of labour will be employed from the local area, to bring maximum benefit to the communities in which they develop. A Shaping Your World™ Virtual Plaque™ will be installed at each development, providing information about the site and local area as well as detail on the breadth of jobs available in the built environment. Over the duration of the JV, the aspiration is that 20% of the homes will be delivered through modern method of construction (MMC).

Kier Living has strong and long-standing relationships with Homes England (formerly the Housing and Communities Agency), having been appointed to its £8bn Delivery Partner Panel framework, and has worked extensively with Cross Keys Homes, including a JV to deliver new homes across the east of England, with 357 units completed to date.

Homes England is taking a 26% equity stake in the JV and will provide up to £27m in mezzanine funding from its £3 billion Home Building Fund. Homes England’s Investments team was recently named as Residential Financier of the Year in this year’s RESI Awards and the JV with Kier and Cross Key Homes England is another significant investment to support the residential development market.

John Anderson, executive director of Kier Living, said: “This joint venture is an important new milestone, bringing Homes England, Kier and Cross Keys together in an innovative industry model. It is fuelled by the shared ambition of three like-minded organisations to bring forward development activity and get more homes built, against a backdrop of housing demand continuing to outstrip supply.

“Working collaboratively, we have the ability to embrace new ways of working, and to maximise our collective assets, resources and capabilities to deliver key developments that will provide new homes in areas of the country with the greatest housing need. And we will work in ways that will help to stimulate the local economy and to encourage individuals to explore a career in our industry.”

Nick Walkley, chief executive for Homes England, comments: “At Homes England, we’re using our finance, land and expertise to get more homes built in areas of greatest need. Our innovative deal with Kier Living and Cross Keys Homes shows how we intend to form new kinds of commercial partnerships to increase housing supply, address affordability issues and generate value for the public purse. It’s also hugely important that the JV will promote skills, modern methods of construction and a choice of tenures to give real choice to local people.”

Claire Higgins, chief executive of Cross Keys Homes, adds: “I am really delighted to be embarking on another joint venture with Kier. We have been working together successfully on a number of other projects and to expand this partnership even further with Homes England as a partner too is really exciting. By working together we have been able to demonstrate the creative thinking needed to increase the supply of housing in general and for us, affordable homes in particular. Kier is a great business to work with and I look forward enormously to taking our partnership to the next level via this innovative venture.”

Homes England has chosen Kier Living as their residential development partner to deliver a major £200m community of 750 new homes on a 48-hectare site in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire.

Work starts on site in April 2018, with a three-phase development programme of 250 units per phase.  The site will also boast a wide range of community facilities including a new primary school, medical centre and pharmacy, leisure facilities, as well as office and retail space.

The new site helps with the Government’s ambition to deliver 300,000 new homes a year and address regional need, with the National Housing Federation’s ‘Homes Truths’ report[1] revealing a shortfall of 25,000 homes built in the East Midlands between 2012 – 2016.

John Anderson, executive director of Kier Living, said: “I am delighted that Kier Living has been chosen by Homes England as their preferred delivery partner for such an important development of 750 new homes, a school and other valuable community facilities including 180 affordable homes, at a time of such ongoing market need.

“Experts estimate that we need around 300,000 new homes a year across the UK to keep up with demand, and with such a strong public and political determination to build more homes I’m encouraged that the DPP framework is being used to bring projects to fruition in an effective timeframe.

“Sites like this underpin our strategic goals to build 4,000 new homes per annum by 2021. A project of this scale also gives us tremendous scope to provide strong opportunities for local companies across the supply chain, to provide local jobs, and importantly to offer training and employment programmes to help bring young people from across Northamptonshire into our industry.”

Paul Kitson, General Manager for the South East at Homes England, said: “Building on our successful long-term development of the Upton scheme in the south west district, we are looking forward to working with Kier and the local community to create a high-quality development in an area of Northampton that is experiencing increasing demand for new homes.”

Kier Group announces its half- year results to 31 December 2017, strengthened by solid performance of Kier Living.

Kier Living’s operating profit was up 7% to £8.7m, with revenue for the period £166m. The division is on course to deliver >10% ROCE for the full year and it continues to reduce the units in its land bank.

Kier Living aims to deliver c.2,200 units over the full year and has a future pipeline of approximately £2bn, providing visibility over more than five years.

Kier’s focus in private sales is on affordable, competitively-priced homes with an average private sales price of £240k. Within Kier’s private business, reservations and pricing levels are tracking well with sales rates at approximately 0.7 units per week per trading site. Government focus and incentives continue to assist the market, with Help To Buy involved in around 50% of sales.

Kier Living remains committed to addressing the skills issue facing the market, with participation in today’s New Homes Debate chaired by Lord Hague and signing up to the Home Builders Federation’s (HBF) Skills Pledge. Kier’s Shaping Your World campaign continues to gather traction within the industry and more than 5,000 pupils across the UK have engaged with it to date.

Commenting on the results, Haydn Mursell, chief executive, said: “The Group is performing well. Our £9.5bn Construction and Services order book, combined with our £3.5bn pipeline in the Property and Residential divisions, provides good visibility of work over the medium term.

“The Group’s performance reflects the strength of our business model and our financial and operational disciplines. Our portfolio of businesses provides balance and resilience and our approach to risk management is evident in the margin performance we have delivered over many years. We remain on course to deliver double-digit profit growth in 2018 and to achieve our Vision 2020 strategic targets.”

Kier has underlined its commitment to recruiting and training the next generation of house builders by committing 1% of its workforce as Kier Career Ambassadors and signing the Home Builders Federation’s (HBF) Skills Pledge.

The Career Ambassadors pledge is part of the new Shaping Your World campaign by Kier, it will see employees from a range of roles and backgrounds engaging with 10,000 students across the UK in the next 12 months, challenging misconceptions that the industry is muddy, male dominated and poorly paid, while highlighting the breadth of interesting jobs available in the built environment. Kier has installed a number of Virtual World Plaques™ on house builder sites across the UK, allowing local communities to find out more about a development, the people behind it as well as some interesting facts about the area.

The HBF’s Home Building Skills Pledge – a set of five key actions developed through its Home Building Skills Partnership and members – seeks to bring together the whole home building sector to ensure workforce skills are passed on to the next generation. The Skills Pledge seeks to engage, educate, train and support new recruits to ensure that quality homes can be built where and when they are needed.

This comes at a key time for the housing market, with the government pledging £44bn overall in housing in the autumn budget. The abolishment of stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing a house up to £300,000 and councils given more powers such as compulsory land purchases, looks set to see the housing market radically change. In order to cope with demand, thousands more skilled workers will need to enter the sector. John Anderson, executive director, Kier Living, said: “As a country, it’s well publicised that we’re not building enough houses. We need 300,000 new homes a year and right now we are building less than 200,000 so it’s vital that we bring the next generation of talented people into our industry, provide them with training to ensure we move forward while nurturing the traditional skills we need.

“We’re proud to sign the HBF’s Skills Pledge, which reinforces our commitment to addressing the skills gap, alongside our1% pledge. We’re looking forward to working with our peers to inspire young people to join us and shape the communities of the future and build the homes our country desperately needs.”

Cameron Elliott, 22 from Sinfin, Derby took part in a Kier apprenticeship on the Manor Kingsway development. He says: “I really enjoyed working on this development. It provided me with a real insight in to how a live site works and the people involved. I was given excellent training, guidance and support and as a result I looking to pursue a career in the built environment.”

Jenny Herdman, Director of the Home Building Skills Partnership, added: “We are delighted that Kier is committed to collaboratively tackling the skills gap in our industry by signing up to the Home Building Skills Pledge. Inspiring the next generation of future home builders by engaging with students and developing a network of home building ambassadors will be a key focus for us in the coming months. Kier’s commitment is a great example of how the industry can embrace this challenge. We look forward to closer working with them on this critically important agenda.”

Budget 2017 – Housebuilding at the forefront

In the many years I have worked in housebuilding, I cannot recall a time where there has been such strong public and political determination to build more homes. The announcements today look set to work towards Theresa May’s ‘personal mission’ to fix the housing market.

John Anderson – Executive Director

In the many years I have worked in housebuilding, I cannot recall a time where there has been such strong public and political determination to build more homes.

The announcements today look set to work towards Theresa May’s ‘personal mission’ to fix the housing market.

I welcome the commitment to inject £44bn albeit the detail around how that money is going to be spent need some thought.

The Chancellors commitment to building 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020’s and abolishment of stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing homes up to £300,000 are both welcome stimulus to the market and that combined with the extension of Help to Buy will help those currently struggling to get on to the property ladder.

It is encouraging to see the government listening to the sector, and being responsive whilst recognising that the solution to increasing housebuilding isn’t a simple one. As the Chancellor has said on previous occasions there is no silver bullet. Changes to stamp duty are welcome for those wanting to buy a home, but it was also key for the Chancellor to give Local Authorities a key boost.

Today’s announcement on the lifting of the Housing Revenue Account Borrowing cap to allow for more investment in residential property is something I’ve championed previously and is welcomed given that housebuilding by local authorities was restricted under Margaret Thatcher and just 1,890 homes were constructed in 2015-16.

A report released last week by the Association of Retained Council Housing and the National Federation of ALMO has said that lifting the HRA borrowing caps would deliver at least 15,000 new homes and Government has committed to review depending on demand, so I would call on all local authorities to use this window for discussion.

I anticipate that we’ll see the increased remit of the new Homes England and their interventionist approach to help support Local Authorities with the greatest need in making their case to agree new freedoms with Whitehall. It’s encouraging to see that some Local Authorities have been working to help shape this new approach with Government.

We have experience in working with some of these forward thinking local authorities such as Stoke on Trent to build the first council houses in 30 years and pioneer the £1 homes initiative and it’s reassuring to hear that they are one of the first to be looking at this.

Today’s budget is a welcome step forward, housebuilding is now at the forefront of this governments plans and as an industry we must now respond. I welcome these new plans and whilst it won’t be without challenges, we now have a real opportunity to deliver homes for all and leave a lasting footprint on this country.

An historic building at Hawkhead Village, Paisley, has scooped a prestigious industry award after it was extensively renovated by Kier Living Caledonia.

The Cubicle Building, which forms a key part of the landmark Hawkhead Village development on the site of the former Hawkhead Hospital, won the Best Renovation/Conversion category in The Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2017.

Retaining its original 1930s Art Deco features, The Cubicle Building is now a collection of 12 individually designed homes. The award comes after Hawkhead Village, a community of more than 300 homes, won the Residential category in the 2015 RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards for Scotland. It also won Showhome of the Year in the Scottish Home Awards 2015.

James Collins, general manager of Kier Living Caledonia, which is part of Kier Living Eastern, said: “This award is a fantastic accolade and achievement. The Cubicle Building, originally designed by the architect Thomas Tait in the early 1930s, has always been the focal point of this historic development and it is great to see this Art Deco themed building given a new lease of life.”

Kier Living and Together Housing Group have acquired three Yorkshire sites for new housing developments.

Two sites – Tanton Road in Stokesley and Windmill Hill in Driffield – are ready to start on site, with a third in Easingwold following soon now planning has been granted. Combined, these developments will deliver 528 homes, with 209 much-needed affordable housing.

The developments join Blackrock Mills in Huddersfield, which was the first project acquired jointly by Kier Living and Together Housing Group. Kier Living has been building on-site since August last year and plans to deliver 113 new homes.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), will be funding the three new projects by providing a £17 million debt facility through the Home Building Fund. This will allow Kier and Together Housing Group to rapidly expand their Northern Ventures joint venture, which aims to deliver over 500 homes per year by 2020.

John Anderson, executive director, Kier Living, said: “We’re delighted to add three more great sites and eventually over 500 more new homes to our joint venture with Together Housing Group. Both organisations are working extremely well to combine our considerable capabilities and HCA funding to accelerate much needed housing delivery in the North of England.”

Kevin Ruth, executive director operations and deputy chief executive, Together Housing Group, said: “We are very pleased with the progress of our first joint venture development. We like the concept that we are not working on a one off project basis but as partners in developing a long term sustainable business plan. As well as providing mixed tenure new housing the partnership delivers a commercial return on our investment so that Together Housing Group can re-invest elsewhere in the sector.”

Gary Middleton, general manager, Homes and Communities Agency, said: “Innovative partnerships like this will quickly help provide more new homes for people in these market towns and I am really pleased that our £17 million loan will help make a real difference for over 500 families.”

Good residential performance underpins Kier full-year results

  • Kier Living revenue up to £376m, operating profit up 12% to £22.8m
  • Residential division completes 2,200 homes, up 3%, with two-thirds mixed tenure
  • Northern Ventures JV secures three new sites for housing development in Yorkshire

Kier Group plc, a leading property, residential, construction and services group, announces good full-year results to 30 June 2017, supported by strong performance in Kier Living, its residential division.

Kier Living saw revenue increase 6% to £376m following the sale of land to Kier’s joint venture with Cross Keys Homes, announced in March 2017. Like-for-like revenues increased 5% over 2016, and the division delivered 2,200 homes – up 3% – with two-thirds mixed tenure units.

The division is increasingly focused on mixed tenure development, and most recently, Kier’s joint venture Northern Ventures has secured three new sites for development across Yorkshire, in Stokesley, Easingwold and Driffield, with Together Housing Association. Combined, these developments will deliver 528 homes, with 209 much-needed affordable housing.

Revenue in the private housing business increased 5% to £174m, with an operating profit of £16.1m. The business delivered 748 completions and is currently more than 68% forward sold for FY18. Kier continues to rationalise its land bank, with around 40% of completions on land bought before 2008. The land bank has reduced to 2,794 speculative units and sales were completed at a rate of over 0.7 units per trading site per week.

John Anderson, executive director, Kier Living said: “We’re pleased to announce another strong set of results for Kier Living. Our blend of private and mixed tenure housing continues to serve us well and we’re making good progress on our goal of 4,000 completions a year by 2020.

“These results underline our experience in public and private sector housing across the UK, and our joint venture with Together Housing Group is just one example of our strong position to accelerate the delivery of much-needed new homes to tackle the country’s housing shortage.”

 

NEW REPORT: INSUFFICIENT CAREERS ADVICE PUTS £90BN GDP AT RISK

Against a backdrop of declining GCSE results, a new report shows that parents have significant concerns about the quality of careers advice on offer to secondary school pupils.

With 74% of those surveyed feeling careers advice is too focused on academic pathways, and 68% of parents feeling that children don’t receive enough advice, the report, commissioned by FTSE 250 construction and services giant Kier, points to a need for business and government to do more to improve out of date advice.

Specifically, for the construction/built environment sector, this is about averting a £90bn UK GDP crisis. The industry is battling with a fundamental image problem with pupils and parents not appreciating the breadth of career opportunities on offer in the sector, against a backdrop of needing to take on 400,000 new recruits per annum to keep pace with the UK’s growing housing and infrastructure demand.

As part of the report, a study of 2,000 secondary school teachers, parents and careers advisors was undertaken to assess perceptions of careers advice and career options for school leavers, and specifically to gauge their understanding of construction/the built environment.

The study found that 90% of teachers are unaware of the scale of the recruitment shortfall in the construction sector, with 41% not realising that there is an issue at all.

It also found that 54% of teachers and parents still believe that there is a lack of career progression in the built environment, and they still associate the industry with being ‘muddy’, ‘manual’, ‘male dominated’ and ‘lower paid’ thanks to outdated perceptions and advice.

This is despite the fact that the industry provides a wealth of opportunity across all skillsets; at Kier alone, there are 2,000 different job roles across local, regional and national projects, and many different career entry and progression points from work experience, internships and apprenticeships to undergraduate and graduate programmes.  As the new Kier careers advice website (www.shapingyourworld.co.uk) shows, there are a wide range of opportunities on offer in the industry, being tackled by a diverse workforce.

In part, lack of knowledge is being compounded by a lack of detailed careers advice. The report found that three quarters of pupils (65%) aged 11-13 year olds get no official advice and only a quarter of 13-15 year olds (27%) receive ‘one hour, once’ of careers advice. This only improves for 15-16 year olds when 95% then receive one hour of advice or more.

The report also found that 57% of parents say rising tuition fees put them off encouraging university as an option for their children, yet 81% of parents were unaware that FTSE-listed companies like Kier can pay for the cost of a degree course and offer a guaranteed entry point into work upon completion of studies.

Given that the public sector faces continued budgetary pressures, schools and councils cannot provide timely, comprehensive and persuasive careers advice without support.  With the backing of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Careers & Enterprise Company, Kier is pledging 1% of its workforce as career ambassadors to work with schools and colleges over the next 12 months to engage with at least 10,000 school pupils andinform and inspire the next generation.

In balance, Kier would welcome the Government, using its upcoming Careers Strategy (due to be published shortly), to take further steps to improve careers advice, and to increase opportunities for collaboration between the public and private sector, following on from the success of the Careers & Enterprise Company, which brokers this kind of collaboration. Specific policy asks include:

  • Support the role of the Careers & Enterprise Company to ensure young people have access to four or more encounters with the workplace in all schools and colleges across England;
  • Mandate that every school gives children a minimum of three, one hour careers advice sessions – the first session with a school advisor, and follow up sessions with ambassadors from relevant industries;
  • Ensure that the frameworks and resources are in place to support schools and colleges to meet all of the eight benchmarks identified by the Gatsby Foundation for best practice in careers advice; and
  • Mandate that the careers advice process begins as early as possible in a young person’s life to enable them to make informed choices about their subject/course selection.

Haydn Mursell, chief executive, Kier, said: “With an ageing workforce, uncertainty around Brexit and an ambitious pipeline of construction, housing and wider infrastructure projects, which equates to £90bn of UK GDP delivery and creates a demand for circa 400,000 new recruits per annum, it is imperative that we attract new talent into our industry.

“We have invested in comprehensive resource to train and develop new talent, we offer a vast array of roles, great scope and support for diversity and career progression, and we offer the chance to leave a lasting legacy and make a real contribution to local communities, as well as UK GDP.  But we also have an image crisis, based on out of date perceptions and advice. We cannot leave this to schools, councils or the government alone to resolve. Business is best placed to explain itself, its employment offering and its skills and training needs.

“For this reason, we are pledging a minimum of 1% of our workforce as career ambassadors to work with schools and colleges across the UK, to engage with at least 10,000 pupils over the next 12 months.

“If every company in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 followed the 1% pledge as part of their commitment to employment and skills, we could create a powerful network of real world advisors, to inform and inspire the next generation.”

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive Officer of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said: ‘The Careers & Enterprise Company are delighted to support Kier in their goal to engage with at least 10,000 young people over the next 12 months. Research from Education and Employers shows that young people who have 4 or more workplace encounters while at school are 86% less likely to be ‘Not in Education Employment or Training’ (NEET) and on average will go on to earn 18% more than their peers who did not. We will support Kier and its employees to engage with our national network of over 1,700 schools and colleges to deliver a variety of activities that can support young people and help to bring the many fantastic opportunities in the construction industry to life.’

Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“We are in a period of significant change in the labour market and we need to produce more home-grown talent with the right skills.  Given the nature of the challenge, this will be a collective effort. To that end, it is great to see the forward looking work of business like Kier, reaching out to young people and making positive contributions to filling the UK’s skills gaps.”

The report ‘Averting a £90bn GDP crisis’ is available from the Kier website: www.kier.co.uk/researchreport

Kier Living commits to creating new woodland to mitigate its carbon usage

As part of its new Greener Living campaign, which launches today, Kier Living, has partnered with Forest Carbon, a company leading the way in voluntary carbon woodland creation in the UK, and has committed to planting 45,000 new trees by 2020 to offset its carbon usage.

Through its partnership with Forest Carbon, Kier Living will create new woodlands totalling 15,000 trees per annum over the next three years – to balance, in time, its annual 3,500 tonne CO2 footprint.

As well as its work with Forest Carbon, Kier Living is implementing greener working practices across all of its development sites. This includes changes in the way it uses energy, disposes of waste and how it uses equipment. It is also helping new home buyers at all Kier developments to become more energy efficient in everyday life, providing guidance on using household appliances, transport and energy resources.

John Anderson, executive director, Kier Living, said, “Although we are pleased to be leading by example and to be the first UK housebuilder to commit to this initiative with Forest Carbon, we know that we – and the house building industry – need to do more for the environment. It is a major undertaking but one which we are 100% committed to achieve, and we’re looking forward to becoming a more carbon efficient house builder by 2020.”

“As well as rolling out the Greener Living campaign across our business, we are talking to the communities we work in about the impact everyday actions have on the environment. Our communication with a wider audience means we ensure as many people as possible benefit from our commitment to becoming a more sustainable business.”

Stephen Prior, Director at Forest Carbon, said, “UK forestry is in desperate need of expansion. We are among the least forested countries in Europe, and yet for example a staggering 80% of the timber we use is imported. We also need new woodlands for habitat, flood mitigation, cleaner rivers and community access, all on top of carbon capture. Kier Living’s tremendous contribution is across all these project types”

Forest Carbon has planted 5.5 million trees in the UK since 2006 and, through partnerships with responsible businesses like Kier Living, is removing over 1,200,000 tonnes of CO2 from the nation’s atmosphere.  Its efforts also support flood mitigation, river improvement and public access and are assured by the UK government’s Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) for important areas such as additionality, risk management and carbon capture estimates.

Kier Living wins place on £8bn DPP3 housing framework

Kier Living has successfully secured a place on all five of the regional panels of the HCA’s new £8bn Delivery Partner Panel 3 (DPP3).

The new DPP3 framework will run for four years and has doubled in value as the HCA takes responsibility for an increasing number of mixed-use and multi-tenure schemes and welcomes more client bodies as users of its framework.

The delivery partner panel model has been in use for six years and has already enabled the delivery of 45,000 homes across 250 sites nationwide.

Kier Living is only one of a small number of house builders that have been successful on all five of the regional panels.

The DPP3 framework is segregated into five English regions:

DPP3 lots  Estimated value of work
North East Yorkshire & Humber  £1.6bn
North West  £1.1bn
Midlands  £2.6bn
East & South East  £1.35bn
South & South West  £1.35bn

The HCA and a wide range of other public sector organisations use the Delivery Partner Panel (DPP) to speed up the procurement of housing led development, including all activities necessary to build new homes and associated infrastructure.

John Anderson, executive director, Kier Living said: “This is superb news for Kier Living and reinforces our position as one of the UK’s leading public sector house builders.

“The success is also a timely reminder of the critical importance of building more homes nationwide. Experts estimate that we need around 250,000 new homes per annum to cater for market demand, while less than 150,000 units were completed last year. Meanwhile rents in the UK are increasing annually and approximately 1.4 million people sit on local authority waiting lists.

“The DPP3 framework offers public sector organisations a quick and efficient way to build new homes for their communities and we look forward to partnering on projects across the UK.”

This latest major framework win follows on from a range of other significant successes for Kier Living. Most recently securing a £41.9m contract from the HCA to build over 1,700 new affordable homes through their Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP 2016 to 2021), and latterly with the launch of the £1bn New Communities Partnership fund and the creation of several major joint ventures with private and public organisations.

Ground breaking ceremony takes place

Work progresses at the new Chaucer Way development in Plymouth as yesterday (26 July) saw the official ground breaking ceremony, which was attended by Councillor Steve Ricketts.Ground breaking ceremony takes place

The first joint venture between Sovereign Housing and Kier Living, will offer 137 much-needed new homes with 51 (37%) affordable homes. This means that new homes will soon be available to local people, while the development will also contribute to the local community through the Kier Living Training Academy which focuses on both theoretical and practical experience as well as enabling all learners to study and sit the CSCS test which is require to work on live developments.

Chaucer Way’s new homes were made possible when land was bought from Plymouth City Council and additional funding secured through the Housing and Communities Agency and the Recycled Capital Grant Fund.

Linda Bonnin, Development Director, Sovereign said: ‘With such high demand for housing in Plymouth, we’re proud to be working with the Council and Kier Living to be able to bring these much-needed affordable homes to the area. As well as new homes and training opportunities, this development will also bring road improvements too.’

Plymouth City Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery, said: “This project has been a long time in the offing and I’m delighted to see work begin. “The plot of land here has long been vacant so to see it a hive of building activity is particularly pleasing. “I can’t wait to see the first families move in.”

Kier Living Central received a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the competitive Housebuilder of the Year category at the Midlands Residential Property Awards.

The gala dinner at the Hilton NEC Birmingham was organised to recognise the most impressive and innovative residential developers, projects and initiatives across the Midlands over the last 12 months. The black tie event was organised by Insider Media Limited and was attended by a range of developers, consultants, local authorities and registered providers.

Regional house building specialists Kier Living Central have experienced an impressive year against a challenging economic backdrop, completing 431 private sale homes while working with local authority partners to deliver 321 affordable homes. This was achieved in a year which also saw Kier secure the largest allocation of funds from the Homes and Communities Agency of any developer nationally (£41.9m) to build just over 1,700 new shared ownership homes in England over the next four years, as part of the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016 to 2021.

Chris King, Managing Director of Kier Living Central commented on the highly commended award received at the awards ceremony;

“To receive such an honour against such stiff competition and against the head winds that developers up and down the country are experiencing is a true testament of the work that has been put in by the team at Kier Living Central. We should all feel proud of what we have achieved in what has been a challenging 12 months.”

“Schemes like Bilston Urban Village, where 17 homes sold within a couple of weeks and before the show homes were complete illustrate the strength of the Kier Living offer which focuses on creating high quality homes and stand out neighbourhoods and communities.”

The award at this year’s Midlands Residential Property Awards comes off the back of last year’s success at the WhatHouse Awards, where Balaam Wood in Birmingham received the silver award in the Best Starter Home category and Kier Living’s recent shortlisting for the Best Residential Developer award at this year’s Construction News Awards. 

The winners of the creative writing competition officially opened the new Southern Gate development in Plymouth along with their unsung heroes

School children have paid gratitude to their loved ones by naming some of our newest homes after them. Pupils from three primaries – Mayflower, Ford and College Road – were asked to come up with house type names for some of the new homes at the Southern Gate development in North Prospect. Southern Gate is Phase 3 of our regeneration scheme and includes 159 homes for affordable rent, shared ownership through SO Living and private market sale through building contractor Kier Living. The sales and marketing suite was launched at the weekend and is now open every day from 10am to 5pm. Along with Kier Living, we asked the pupils to think up names for our shared ownership and private sale homes based on their unsung heroes – people who mean something to them. Judges from PCH and Kier Living chose six winning names – Attwater, Boundy, Bannister, Davies, Harwood and Matei. The winners along with their heroes, parents and headteachers were invited to attend Fridays launch enabling them to see walk around the house they have named. They were presented with their prizes during their own school assemblies where they were given £10 WHSmith vouchers and a goodie bag for their efforts. War veteran Harry Bannister was honoured by his granddaughter Stacey Edwards, 11, who praised her granddad for helping her with her homework every evening. He was in the Navy for 22 years and Stacey loves listening to his stories. Sadly, Harry has recently been unwell but he still treats Stacey to day trips when he can. Harry said: “I was really surprised to hear Stacey had nominated me. It’s great that she thinks I have inspired her. I just hope all children have parents who can do the same for them.” It wasn’t a family member who is Jacob Griffiths Moreton’s unsung hero but 1st Key Scouts Group leader Jonathan Davies, who he compared to Bear Grylls. College Road Primary pupil Jacob, 10, said Jonathan has taught him practical skills and pays for many of the materials they use. He also praised Jonathan for being energetic and having a ‘very cool’ ponytail! Jonathan said: “I was shocked when I found out I’d been chosen.” He also admired the homes, “They’re great, so spacious.”

Kier secured a place in the finals of the Scottish Home Awards.

Senior management said they were “thrilled” after being informed their entry for Renovation of the Year had impressed judges.

The Cubicle Building, at Hawkhead Village, Paisley, will now go head to head with six other entrants and a winner will be announced in June.

David Thomas, Kier Homes Caledonia’s sales and marketing director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised in the finals of the Scottish Home Awards.

“We had absolute confidence in our work at Hawkhead Village, transforming once dilapidated buildings into superb homes of the future, and we are thrilled the judges have recognised this hard work.

“We are keeping everything crossed for the ceremony next month but know we are up against tough competition.”

The Cubicle was one of the buildings of the former Hawkhead Hospital. Retaining its original 1930s Art Deco features, The Cubicle Building is a collection of 12 individually designed homes, with a property mix made up of villas, apartments and one bungalow.

Kier launches new joint venture model with Cross Keys Homes

Kier Living has today announced it is creating a joint venture (JV) with Cross Keys Homes to leverage the value of part of Kier’s land bank in the East of England and to provide an investment vehicle for Cross Keys Homes.

Kier will transfer 13 of its residential developments in the east of England, valued at up to £97m, into the JV, which will generate up to £64m cash for reinvestment.

Kier will provide its development, land-buying, construction and sales expertise to the JV. Cross Keys Homes will provide access to key strategic relationships in the region for the benefit of the joint venture. Kier will hold a 90% shareholding and Cross Keys Homes will have a 10% shareholding in the joint venture.

Kier and Cross Keys Homes have a long-standing relationship in the eastern region, operating in complementary sectors of the housing market and, most recently, working together on the redevelopment of Peterborough district hospital to provide 43 properties.

John Anderson, executive director, Kier Living says “This joint venture represents a strategic milestone in our five year strategy for Kier Living and will allow us to build on our strong track record in the East of England and leverage the value of 13 of our key sites. Kier and Cross Key Homes have worked well together in the past and the joint venture provides a long-term sustainable relationship, building on our mutual track records.”

Claire Higgins, CEO, Cross Keys Homes Ltd says “We have worked very well with Kier on a number of projects, most recently the Peterborough hospital scheme where Kier’s knowledge of the local market and skills needed has been proved.  We believe they have a strong track record on delivery and added value and are delighted that our joint venture has now launched.”

Kier secures HCA allocation with £42m contract

Kier Living has secured one of the largest allocations of funds from the Housing and Communities Agency with an allocation of £41.9 million to build just over 1,700 new shared ownership homes in England over the next four years.

The contract is a part of a £1.28bn first round allocation from the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016 to 2021 (SOAHP 2016 to 2021), which is now worth £7bn in total, having received a £1.4bn boost in the Autumn Statement in November.

SOAHP now supports the building of more ‘shared ownership’ homes, offering access to home ownership for those struggling with affordability, as well as new ‘rent to buy’ homes, enabling first time buyers to save for a deposit to buy whilst renting at discounted rates, and ’affordable rental’ homes for those renting in the private sector.This allocation reinforces Kier’s position as one of the country’s leading public sector housing developers, having launched a range of funding and delivery innovations designed to stimulate and facilitate public sector house building. Over the last 12 months this has ranged from the launch of the £1bn New Communities Partnership fund, through to the creation of several major joint ventures with leading housing associations, through the Northern Ventures model.

John Anderson, Executive Director at Kier Living, said, “Kier Group has been operating in the multi-tenure housing market for over 70 years and this allocation of grant is testament to the leading role we now play in public sector housing delivery. This success is not only built on an enduring commitment to the sector and our public sector partners, but also on our continual investment in innovation and market stimulus; unlocking new ways to build new homes. For example last year we announced our collaboration with Cheyne Capital and the Housing Growth Partnership to develop the £1bn New Communities Partnership with and end to end turnkey solution for local authorities. We welcome the opportunities that this first allocation of SOAHP brings. It is an encouraging indicator of what we may look forward to in the Housing White paper over the coming weeks.”

Following in Scottish footsteps?

The new £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund has been readily welcomed by the industry, with some even referring to it as the jewel in the crown or secret weapon for unlocking otherwise unviable public sector land. But given that we’ve only had a headline summary at this stage- that it will be used for a range of activity to support the construction of up to 100,000 new homes- what form might it actually take?

Well, this is not an entirely new idea, and as a Scot myself I am turning to my homeland for inspiration. A similar fund was launched in Scotland in February as a mechanism for helping to deliver the Scottish government’s More Homes Scotland strategy. Albeit on a smaller scale (the 2016/17 Scottish fund is circa £50m) it works on the basis of offering funding for providers to cover the cost of delivering infrastructure to facilitate new sites.

The funding comprises either infrastructure loans for non-public sector organisations or an infrastructure grant for local authorities and registered social landlords to support affordable housing delivery.

“There could be some interesting conversations to have about how to unlock land, deliver new developments and manage much-needed new affordable homes.”

The definition of the infrastructure that can be supported is intentionally wide, and they have given it scope to potentially include onsite and offsite elements. Eligible activity includes roads, sewers, Sustainable Drainage Systems, ponds, decontamination, flood remediation and demolition work. However it is clear that it doesn’t go as far as infrastructure warranted by commercial scale, for example funding for school development.

And how might the new fund be administered? In Scotland this has been about local authorities identifying priority sites well ahead of time as part of developing their Strategic Housing Investment Plans. So for those RPs keen to leverage the new support, it’s likely to be about being on the front foot, with identified and scoped sites, and clearly defined and costed infrastructure needs.

And for Kier it’s a welcome opportunity for us to leverage the breadth of what the group can do, to help local authorities and housing associations to bring forward more land. In addition to being a leading house builder of mixed tenure development through our Living business, and a top three provider of housing management and maintenance, we are one of the biggest providers of highways management, and span the building and maintenance of both the strategic and local road network.

So back to the argument of whole life cycle asset management, there could be some interesting conversations to have about how to unlock land, deliver new developments and manage much-needed new affordable homes. And as a Scot that also appeals to my sense of getting value for money.

Kier Living has been given the green light for 150 homes at a former colliery site acquired from Wakefield Council.The River Meadows development in Fryston near Castleford will deliver two to five bedroom homes.

The new development, off Wheldon Road is located at the former colliery site where Fryston Hall once stood. It was earmarked for development as part of the Castleford Growth Delivery Plan.Kier Living subsequently acquired the site from Wakefield Council via the Delivery Partner Panel 2 framework .

Since then Kier Living has developed plans to provide an attractive scheme in keeping with the village environment.

David Mackintosh, sales and marketing director, Kier Living Northern, said, “We are delighted to receive planning approval for this development, which is designed to enhance the existing village with a range of well-presented family homes.”Riverbank Meadows offers – as the name suggests – offers an attractive setting, on the banks of the river, with no through traffic and direct access to a wonderful area preserved for nature lovers and leisure pursuits. “Each house type is individually styled with the river facing properties adopting a nautical feel and different elevation styles overlooking a village green.”

Riverbank Meadows is to provide a range of terraced, semi-detached and detached homes with a variety of internal designs and features. Prices will start from £125,000. Of the 150 homes, 35 have been allocated affordable to Yorkshire Housing.

Green Apple glory for Kier Living Eastern

Four projects from Kier Living have won Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice in the 2016 campaign to find the greenest companies, councils and communities.

Kier Living Eastern scooped both bronze and silver for two projects at Westhill, Kettering, a silver at Connect21 in Peterborough and a bronze award was given for a group wide site energy audit project.

A team representing Kier Living Eastern attended the glittering award ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in London on Friday.

Kier Living Eastern technical director Colm Crowley said: “We are delighted to have achieved success for three separate projects in these highly-regarded environmental awards. “It shows the respect and thought given to local communities and the environment when developing our high quality homes and is a credit to the amount of hard work that goes into these projects by all the site teams, and the specialists who have helped them.”

At Westhill, silver status was given to a new seven hectare country park, created in partnership with the landowner BQ Farms, adjacent to the Kier Living Eastern housing development to provide recreational opportunities for existing and future residents.

It was also the aim to create new habitats for wildlife and the bronze award-winning project is the construction of a new artificial badger sett which has successfully relocated badgers living on the development land.

Meanwhile at Connect21in Peterborough the Embankment End Marsh scheme has protected wildlife at the location and prevented the marsh from drying out in the future. A path and viewing platform provides a link to the River Nene path for Connect21 residents and the wider community.

The energy audit project was carried out in collaboration with Kier’s carbon consultant Energise and involved a “walk-through” virtual site energy audit of a typical Kier Living development. Kier Living has been working closely with Energise to identify opportunities to reduce energy use and, as a consequence, carbon emissions on house building developments.The virtual site energy audit was launched and promoted during Kier Environment Week in June, and is available for any Kier employee to view on the environmental pages of Kier’s intranet.

Kier Living Eastern competed against more than 500 other nominations in the Green Apple Awards for 2016. Following their success the company will be included in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so that others can follow examples.

Raunds residents explore the medieval history of Kier’s new development

A silver penny from the 1100s, a collection of lead pistol and musket balls and a copper ring are just some of the medieval treasures found on the site of a new Kier Living Eastern development in Raunds.

Experts from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)’s Northampton team have spent several weeks at the field in Midland Road, which is set to become a new community of 94 houses.

Senior project manager Adam Yates explained that following removal of topsoil, the team have been methodically excavating and recording the archaeological remains by hand.

“We’ve found more than we expected to,” he said. “We’ve discovered that there was a settlement here in medieval times; there are paddocks and enclosures from 1100 onwards, with other buildings probably dating from the later medieval period.”

Members of the public were invited to the site last week to see the findings for themselves, and were given guided tours to see where the buildings would have stood. Amongst these is at least one building which surprised the archaeologists due to the quality of its construction.

MOLA’s project officer Jon Elston, who is leading the team, explained: “It’s stone-built and was clearly very well-made, probably in the 1400s or 1500s. We think it might have been associated with a high status residence which would have stood nearby.”

Other highlights for the archaeological team have been the foundations of what might have been a tannery, plus fragments of horse harnesses and metal knives used for whittling. Pieces of an earthenware jug and other pottery were also found, with some even featuring the thumb marks of those who made them.

All of the items will now be analysed by experts to piece together more accurate timeframes, and to create a clearer vision of how all the findings fit together. They will then be archived before possibly going on display to the public, whilst a report on the results of the excavations will be published.

Pauline Williams, Raunds resident and former town mayor, was amongst the visitors to the guided tour. She said: “It was very good, very informative. My late neighbour wrote a book about the history of Raunds and would have loved to have seen this.

“Kier Living Eastern, their groundworkers JJ Mac and MOLA have been so good with us while this work has been going on – I even took them a batch of home-made cookies to say thank you!”

Nick Moore, Kier Living Eastern managing director, said: “MOLA have done an absolutely sterling job on the dig at Midland Road and we’ve been fascinated by their findings. We’re glad that the rich history of this site will be preserved for the future, and now look forward to starting building work on this fantastic new community.”

Once the archaeological dig has been completed, work will begin on Kier’s 94 houses, which will be a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. For more information, visit www.kierliving.co.uk, where you can see a video of the archaeological open day at the site.

Kier confirms partnerships to provide thousands more new homes

Kier Living has reiterated a £1bn plan to help the public sector build 10,000 new homes across Britain, allowing local authorities an housing associations to deliver a range of homes for sale and rental.

The New Communities Partnership sees the award-winning housebuilder work with The Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund (managed by the UK-based investment manager Cheyne Capital) and The Housing Growth Partnership (a joint venture between the HCA and Lloyds Banking Group).

The confirmation of the scheme, originally announced in May 2016, comes just a few days after the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, announced a three-pronged, multi-billion pound government initiative to fund more new homes in order to meet the confirmed Conservative target of one million new homes by 2020.

The partnership enables public sector organisations to determine the appropriate mix of tenure for their development site, with a proportion of homes for sale and homes for rent, without the need for grant funding. This will allow them to create homes for the open market, both at full and discounted prices, alongside ‘affordable’ homes available through other means, including full-market and discounted rentals, as well as homes designed specifically for the needs of the elderly and the disabled.

This way, the public sector clients can earn money from their land and also offer opportunities to their local communities through improved economies and a range of apprenticeships and jobs.

John Anderson, executive director of Kier Living, says: “We very much welcome this government commitment to housing delivery and the demonstration that it is listening to industry concerns. Industry leaders have been calling for more innovative ways to deliver the number of houses that the country needs. Innovation that can bring more land forward and speed up access to sites to build on.

“We believe that our New Communities Partnership has a big role to play in helping to unlock public land. It will bring scale and momentum to Kier’s tried-and-tested mixed-tenure housing delivery model, for public sector clients across the UK who hold land but don’t have the capacity to develop new housing.”

Kier currently builds over 30 developments of its own, from Scotland to Hampshire and Cornwall to Norfolk. With around 2,300 new homes created annually right now, the company aims to build 4,000 homes of its own every year by 2020.

Kier launches new joint venture model with leading Housing Association in the North

Kier Living has today announced the launch of a new joint venture (JV) model, Northern Ventures, designed to deliver 1,000 units per annum within 3 years by creating long-term housing delivery partnerships between the developer and leading housing associations (HAs) in the north of England.

The first partnership to be confirmed is between Kier and leading northern HA Together Housing Group (THG); a JV relationship which will develop mixed tenure housing projects across Yorkshire, Humber and the North West, with the first new development site, for 113 properties for outright sale in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire also confirmed today.

The Northern Ventures model offers a full mixed tenure development partnership, enabling registered providers with development aspirations and revenue needs to share activity, transfer risk and tap into Kier’s mixed tenure development expertise, national presence and sales infrastructure.

Unlike other partnerships, this JV is for multiple sites rather than a single-site partnership, meaning the JV can work together more collaboratively, harnessing regional expertise, investment momentum and innovation and developing a range of potential sites.

Kier Living has put in place a specialist Northern Ventures senior team, as it is expected that this approach will appeal to a wide range of land owners, from private land owners where a high output of affordable housing is required to achieve planning, through to public sector land owners who want to meet mixed tenure housing targets.

Paul Moore, managing director of Kier Living North comments: “We are looking at a joint venture model that provides a longer-term sustainable relationship with a 3 -5 year business plan, giving both partners diverse and sustainable benefits.

“By working together, we can look at larger scale opportunities that are not only attractive financially for both parties, but contribute extra mixed tenure new homes to meet the current UK shortage. With Government focus on home ownership, the joint venture gives our partners opportunities to build housing stock of all tenures, as well as generating a commercial return on their investment that can be re-invested in the sector.”

Mark Dunford, finance director of Together Housing Group added: “THG is excited to enter into this partnership with Kier Living to ensure we continue to meet the aspirations of both the Government and our own growth strategy. With focus now on home ownership, we needed to work closely with an experienced developer not only to share the risk and reward but also to learn from their experience and knowledge.

“The intention is to build 500 new properties per year and establish site specific limited liability partnership for each scheme. Any profit returned to the Group will be used to fund our affordable housing programme.”