Project | Network Homes - Bilton Road, Perivale

Network Homes

New Build Apartment Blocks at Bilton Road, Perivale

Following appointment to Network Homes EA framework, we were approached to advise on the development potential of a prospective land opportunity Network’s land and new business team had been presented with. The site was used as a document storage facility and was to be sold subject to planning approval being granted. The structure of the land deal required that a planning application be submitted within a strict timescale.

The Client

Formed in 1974, Network Homes are a charitable housing association providing over 21,000 affordable homes for more than 38,000 people predominantly across London and Hertfordshire. Network reinvests profits into building more affordable homes and delivering services for residents.

Services Provided

  • Employer’s Agent
  • Cost Consultant

The Project

Network had been presented with the opportunity to purchase the site which still contained an active business, a company offering document storage in an existing warehouse. An early stage outline design had been prepared and Network were preparing a viability assessment to inform the quantum of their land bid.

Our Role

FFT was commissioned initially to advise on likely build costs of the scheme design that had accompanied the land opportunity.

This was used to complete Network’s viability assessment and to provide a land value for the purposes of negotiation with the vendor.

Following acceptance of their land offer, we were charged with establishing a design team, including architect, planning consultant and a raft of due diligence specialists, to prepare a design compliant with Network’s needs and a planning submission pack.

As there was a deadline for submission of the planning application as part of the land purchase agreement, we established a design programme, listing out the target milestone for delivery of design information and site surveys and reports, leading to the target planning submission date. Following planning submission and successful planning approval, our appointment reverted to a traditional EA role and we tendered the works and prepared build contracts, managing through to completion and handover.

The Challenges 

Following an initial site visit upon appointment, we highlighted the risk that the existing warehouse had asbestos containing materials.

To assess impact of this, we appointed a suitably qualified and certified surveyor to prepare a report on the building which needed to be carried out while the building was still occupied.

As the site was bounded by low rise residential on all sides, ensuring the local community was engaged and considered as part of the design, community events were organised pre-planning and where possible, feedback included in the deign. The site was comprehensively reviewed by daylight/ sunlight consultants and rights of light specialists to ensure the comfort of the building future users and the surrounding residents.

The financial viability of the project was tight and cost savings were required to ensure the project proceeded.

The Outcome

As part of the site investigation stage, we appointed a utilities consultant to report on the existing utilities located on the land. An existing substation and high voltage cables were highlighted as key risks and following this, the layout of the proposed apartment blocks were adjusted to avoid the cable route, achieving cost savings of £250,000.

The site was approved by the local authority planning team in November 2019 and the land was successfully purchased by the Client. As part of the tender process, we highlighted the need for ongoing engagement with the neighbouring residents and the appointed Contractor was required to issue regular newsletters to the tenants and hold regular engagement events at a local community facility.

The three apartment blocks were handed over in sections, the final being completed in August 2022, on time and under budget.

Added Value

Using our strong track record of risk identification and management, our appointment in the early stages of the project allowed us to fully assess the potential risks relevant to the site and advise the Client on mitigation strategies prior to tender. This led to no minimal provisional sums being proposed in the tender offer by the Contractor and the project being completed under budget overall.

As the financial viability of the project was tight, as cost consultant we were able to identify and implement a number of value engineering options which led to savings of £500,000 and allowing the project to proceed.

With one hundred and five apartment being handed over in stages, our handover management process ensured that the transition was smooth and all handover documentation was delivered to Networks requirements and completed will in advance of completion.