UK homebuilders breaking new ground on sustainability performance

NextGeneration, the benchmark which assesses and ranks the UK’s 25 largest homebuilders on their sustainability performance has today released its annual report highlighting that members are breaking new ground in delivering sustainable homes.

The report, administered by JLL and overseen by executive committee members the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), has revealed that NextGeneration members, of which there are nine, are leading the homebuilding industry with an average sustainability score of 70 percent, well above the industry average of 37 percent.

Each year members are assessed on a wide range of criteria relating to high-quality, sustainable housebuilding, and are given an overall percentage score out of 100. This year Crest Nicholson demonstrated the best performance amongst all homebuilders by scoring 83 percent. Barratt Developments and Lend Lease took joint second place scoring 81 percent while Linden Homes took third place with 74 percent.

Alex Edds, Head of UK Sustainability, JLL, said: “It is really encouraging to see that members are clearly benefitting from participating in the benchmark. The fact that Cala Homes and Mount Anvil have joined, while Lend Lease has returned to the initiative this year highlights the growing desire of the industry to make a commitment to sustainable development.

“Members have already made significant headway in improving the efficiency of new homes, in spite of a changing regulatory environment and key material and skilled worker shortages. We have seen continued innovation in construction methods, supply chain engagement and labour standards. For example, this year, 33 percent of all homes delivered by members included low carbon technologies while 676 apprentices were appointed.

“Home building is clearly a hot topic in UK society, and I for one am glad that the NextGeneration members continue to focus on delivering quality sustainable homes for future generations.”

Commenting on taking this year’s top spot on the NextGeneration leader board, Chris Tinker, Regeneration Chairman and Board member responsible for Sustainability, Crest Nicholson, said: “To be named best performing housebuilder in this year’s NextGeneration benchmark is testament to Crest Nicholson’s ongoing commitment to sustainable best practice.

“Our internal campaigns, including ‘Make Waste History’, are providing real business benefits by improving the use of our materials and ultimately, delivering high quality homes responsibly. It is also positive to see the sector as a whole is improving its performance. Initiatives like NextGeneration continue to facilitate improved sustainable practices, together with sharing best practice and aiding collaboration across the housebuilding industry.”

In order to actively manage future risks within the homebuilding sector, the NextGeneration report has identified five factors that will shape the industry’s future and the strategies being adopted by the top performing developers. The sustainability mega trends include the low carbon economy, resource and skills shortages, changing demographics, capturing social value and driving innovation.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “Given the projected need for new homes over the coming decade, it is absolutely critical that the industry response meets the highest possible sustainability standards. This report highlights the growing gulf between sustainability leaders and laggards, and we congratulate the leading housebuilders on their strong performance in this year’s Next Generation benchmark.

“It’s particularly encouraging to note the progress being made on key issues such as energy and carbon, and innovation. However, the sector as a whole needs to significantly raise its game when it comes to community and customer engagement, transport and the circular economy.”

Michael Clegg, Head of Programmes at the Homes and Communities Agency, added: “The HCA is delighted to continue with its support for the NextGeneration annual sustainability benchmark. NextGeneration highlights the best in class for our industry and helps inspire those leaders to strive for more sustainable and quality homes that our communities need.

“I am personally heartened to see the diverse number of projects with HCA support referred to in this report and which our Partners have highlighted as examples of quality and innovation.”