What innovative initiatives have the NextGeneration members developed over the past year?

To recognise projects that push beyond demands of the NextGeneration sustainability benchmark, every year we challenge our NextGeneration members to submit an example of sustainability that is not captured within the current criteria. John Dwyer, Group Sustainability Manager at Telford Homes explains their very successful Mental Health Weeks initiative below. We hope you feel as inspired as we do!

“It is now well understood that the construction industry suffers from one of the highest suicides rates, which for some trades is 2.7 times higher than the UK average. With this in mind and to coincide with World Mental Health day, Telford Homes has run two highly successful ‘Mental Health Weeks’ to help raise awareness amongst its employees, provide support for workers in the industry, and to eradicate the stigma of mental health. The weeks were planned and led by a dedicated “Health and Wellbeing” group who ran a variety of activities within our offices and construction sites.

To help maintain a focus on mental health longer-term we identified and trained 19 mental health first aiders and are training 10 dedicated mental health champions who can listen and provide advice on where to find the best professional support.

Underlining the importance of the campaign, our CEO launched the weeks and encouraged every member of staff to attend the sessions. The Group Managing Director closed the weeks and has since presented its importance to the Home Builder Federation (HBF) National Conference. Subsequently the HBF has teamed up with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, a charity dedicated to delivering financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families.

Some examples of Telford Homes activities during the Mental Health Weeks included:

  • Various well-being sessions and workshops provided by speakers from organisations such as the Samaritans, MIND, BUPA, the Lighthouse Club and more
  • Educational activities including Mindfulness, Yoga and Lighthouse Club activities
  • Healthy snacks and fresh fruit provided to staff to encourage a balanced diet
  • Stress balls, shaped as hard hats, handed out to everyone in the business for use
  • External “help” cards handed out to all staff and to share with families
  • Dedicated section created on our intranet which holds recordings of all the presentations that were filmed as well as contacts and advice
  • All First Aiders/ Champions wore specifically designed T-Shirts with the ‘Time to Talk’ logo and strap line, to promote the week, and to be recognisable for future contact and support
  • Mental Health Toolbox Talks delivered to approximately 1,300 operatives on our sites

As a result, our employees are using the resources for support and taking positive steps to tackle any issues they have whilst also gaining a greater understanding of friends and family members who could be struggling.”


Redrow’s Social Value Calculator recognised with NextGeneration Innovation Award

Last month, NextGeneration awarded Redrow with the Innovation Award in recognition of their impressive Social Value Calculator. The Executive Committee made up of UKGBC and Homes England were impressed with the many strong entries for the Award this year, but singled out Redrow due to the scope and robustness of the tool, alongside its potential to drive positive change across not just Redrow but the entire homebuilding industry.

Nicola Johansen, Group Sustainability Manager at Redrow, provides further details on the method used and key findings from Redrow’s award winning Social Value Calculator:

“The housebuilding industry in England and Wales is considered to be worth around £38bn a year, contributes £2.7bn in tax revenues, £841m towards infrastructure and supports almost 700,000 jobs. The design of new housing and communities built by this industry can have a profound effect on the health and wellbeing of residents and can provide additional value to those who live in or near them, yet measuring this impact can be tricky. Social value is on the government’s agenda and the industry is increasingly recognising its importance. In the government’s revised National Planning Policy Framework, for example, supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities is defined as a priority, and as an industry that builds communities, we must see it as one too. By seeking a greater understanding of the social value associated with building new communities, housebuilders, local authorities and planning teams can develop a more informed perspective on the features and characteristics of a new development which are most likely to make people happier and healthier.

To get under the skin of how to measure this effectively, we worked with research consultancy Simetrica to create a social value calculator, and we are thrilled that the NextGeneration initiative selected us to receive the 2019 NextGeneration Innovation Award for our tool. This award builds on our success in 2018 where we won gold for the third year in a row in the NextGeneration Benchmark. By adopting methods used by the government to quantify the social impact of its policies, as outlined in HM Treasury’s Green Book, and surveying our customers to understand how much certain characteristics of where they lived contributed to their wellbeing, we are able to calculate the impact of healthy, friendly and nature-rich communities. The innovative calculator presents a monetary value against individual outcomes over a 25-year period, the typical length of a mortgage. For example, the tool calculated that over 25 years, 1 hectare of green space could contribute £9.7 million of social value, while having a pub, bar or restaurant in close proximity to a development can generate around £1.9 million.The research also found that living in a well-designed community of around 250 new homes where you feel welcomed and regularly speak to your neighbours can add just over £34 million worth of social value across that community.

At Redrow, we have always known instinctively that customers valued these features, but lacked a way of quantifying it. Therefore, the introduction of the calculator has enabled us to have more informed conversations with local authorities and planning teams about our homes and investment in community-focused infrastructure that will help improve people’s wellbeing. Our recommendations on community features are now underpinned by robust data, taking some of the ‘fluff’ out of potentially nebulous terms like ‘community’ and ‘wellbeing’. We believe housebuilders have a duty to not only deliver beautiful, high-quality homes but also places that help residents make important and meaningful social connections that enhance the quality of their lives long after we have left the site.

We are therefore very excited to see how recommendations garnered from our tool further improve people’s wellbeing going forward.”


Win win at the NextGeneration Innovation Event

Redrow measure value while Town get residents involved.  

The NextGeneration Innovation Award recognises sustainability initiatives by UK homebuilders that surpass the criteria used for the NextGeneration benchmark. Earlier this week Redrow Homes was awarded this year’s prize for their bespoke social value calculator, coming out ahead of a very strong field of entries.

The NextGeneration Executive Committee, comprising representatives from the UKGBC and Homes England, was “impressed by the ambitious scope and scale of the project submitted by Redrow for the Innovation Award. The Social Value Calculator offers a robust, academic, industry leading tool which focuses on a part of sustainability we recognise is of growing importance in the homebuilding sector. By developing this tool, Redrow not only promotes positive change on a large scale across their own business but also to the wider industry.”

Maria Gkonou, the Sustainability Manager for Redrow, presented the methodology used by the calculator to quantify social value and shared the results of the first round of their research. Redrow were surprised to find that community outcomes, such as borrowing from neighbours provided the highest overall additional social value compared to home, place and socio-economic outcomes such being close to green space. Feeling safe at home provided the highest total social value on the household level, above other outcomes such as views of nature or a larger than average home. The next step of the project will be to investigate how the findings can be used to improve future Redrow developments and residents’ wellbeing.

Guest speaker Neil Murphy from TOWN gave an inspiring talk on the process of developing their award-winning cohousing scheme: Marmalade Lane in Cambridge.

TOWN took a user-led custom build approach to the 42-household collective cohousing project. The future residents collaborated with the developers on the scheme design which prioritises quality housing as well as social and environmental initiatives. Marmalade Lane has limited parking spaces to encourage sustainable transportation, is close to passivhaus performance with an annual heating energy demand of 35kWh/m²/year across the site and includes a large shared garden and community hall to support group activities. As Neil explained, “you get better urbanism if you engage people in making it.”

Sophie Walker, Head of Sustainability at JLL UK acted as moderator of the discussion, sharing her expertise and insights while fielding questions from an audience of developers, investors and homebuilders. Overall it was a morning filled with inspiring innovation – thank you to everyone who attended!

What’s next? The NextGeneration benchmark annual report, which ranks the UK’s most sustainable homebuilder, will be released at the Launch Event scheduled for the beginning of December 2019.


NextGeneration will be hosting its annual Innovation Event on the 25th of June

NextGeneration will be hosting its annual Innovation Event on the 25th of June, where the most innovative homebuilder will be awarded. The Innovation Award goes to a homebuilder that has demonstrated initiatives that go far beyond the criteria used for the benchmark.

Speakers at the event will include Indy Johar of Project 00 and Dark Matter Labs.


Lendlease is named the UK’s most sustainable homebuilder in the NextGeneration 2018 benchmark

Sustainability performance of the UK’s 25 largest homebuilders revealed

NextGeneration, the benchmark which assesses and ranks the UK’s 25 largest homebuilders on their sustainability performance has today released its annual report which names Lendlease, Barratt Homes Developments and Redrow as the UK’s most sustainable homebuilders.

Lendlease tops this year’s benchmark for the 3rd year in a row with another strong performance in 2018. Lendlease’s Elephant and Castle development is 1 of 19 climate positive developments globally and it also recently secured a Global Healthy Workplaces Award. Barratt Homes and Redrow Homes come in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Richard Cook, Head of Residential Europe at Lendlease said, “For Lendlease, sustainability is about creating places for people and meeting their needs today, and in the future. Looking ahead, we’ve recently been appointed to deliver two of London’s largest urban regeneration projects at Euston and Silvertown Quays and we are excited to take our sustainability goals to the next level working with our partners on those projects.”