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.”