The Building Safety Act 2022 – how it will affect house builders

Blog | Residential Development

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Finally, nearly five years on from the tragedy at Grenfell in 2017, the Building Safety Bill has received Royal Assent, providing the construction industry with the Building Safety Act 2022 (“the Act”). The 262 page act is the first step towards lasting change in the construction industry, and the safety of dwellers across the UK for years to come. The various parts of the act will be implemented into law in stages over the next few years.

This update is the second in our series (our first having provided an introduction to the act here) and will provide a whistle stop tour of what we consider to be the key provisions of the act for house builders and their potential ramifications. Certainly, some of the new provisions have the potential to shock the construction and development industry given the significant changes involved.

Key provisions of the act

The act primarily applies to England, with certain provisions also applying in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

1. Stages of Project Management – the three ‘gateways’

The act has established three main ‘gateways’ that must be considered and satisfied during the design and development of higher-risk buildings (which is a building in England that is at least 18 metres in height or has at least seven storeys, and is of a description specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State (which hasn’t been specified as of yet)). These ‘gateways’ are used to determine whether a building can be occupied. The ‘gateways’ are:

  • Planning – At this stage, applicants for planning permission must satisfy that they have considered wider issues in relation to fire safety through the production of a fire safety statement. As such, fire safety considerations can no longer be an afterthought, but instead a decisive factor in relation to the construction of the building.

  • Pre-Construction – The regulator (which is the HSE as the Building Safety Regulator ‘the Regulator’) must be satisfied at this stage that the planning proposals comply with Building Regulations and address how a ‘golden thread’ of important safety information will be held as well as any other safety management expectations.

  • Completion – The regulator is given the opportunity to assess and determine whether the works to the high-risk building have been carried out in accordance with Building Regulations, and proceed to undertake a review of the completed works. If satisfied on all fronts, the regulator will then issue a completion certificate and the building will then be registered on the system. This must happen before any building can be occupied.

These ‘gateways’ are an essential requirement introduced by the act which create a necessary focus on safety management from the get go.

2. Defective Premises Act 1972 (DPA) – Scope and Limitation

Currently, the DPA imposes a duty on those involved in building and designing new dwellings to work in a professional or workmanlike manner, to use proper materials and to see that the completed dwelling is fit for habitation.  This duty is owed by all persons taking on such works and clearly extends to house builders.

The act introduces two fundamental changes to the DPA.

  • The act has widened the scope of the DPA to include refurbishment and rectification works which were otherwise excluded, providing those who are doing the work are doing so in the course of business. This ensures that the duties under the act apply to a wider scope of works, therefore providing a higher level of protection to occupants. This will only apply going forward (prospectively).

  • The act extends the limitation period under the DPA (which is expected to come into force within the next two months):

    • From the original six years to a much longer period of 15 years for those claims which arise after the act comes into force); and
    • From six years to an astonishing 30 years for claims which arose before the act became law.

This is a significant change from the previous six year limitation period, and should be recognised as an important shift that could have an array of potential ramifications that boil down to even the simplest of issues, such as the way in which project records should be kept.

3. Building Safety Levy

The act provides a new power to the Secretary of State to introduce a charge that will be payable by any developer when seeking permission to develop certain high-rise buildings. This charge is referred to specifically as the Building Safety Levy.

This levy will become payable at gateway 2, the pre-construction phase, and acts as a further incentive for developers to comply with the various safety requirements introduced by the act.

4. Building Liability Orders

The principle of a Building Liability Order was only introduced as a concept late in the day.

It was introduced to address the possibility that certain developers might escape civil liability for safety defects because they had carried out the works using a special purpose vehicle (SPV) or shell company.

Its effect is that the act will grant a power to the High Courts to allow them to extend specific liabilities for one company to any other associated companies and make them liable. The High Courts will have the power to do this where it considers that it is ‘just and equitable’ to do so.

In practice, this may have the effect of piercing the corporate veil, which is a significant development and potentially a worrying time for those developers that operate using SPVs.

Conclusion

The act will have far reaching consequences for house builders, particularly as it will be necessary to:

  • Ensure that it understands the requirements that will be necessary to ensure compliance under the three ‘gateways’, as well as factor in the building safety levy into its build cost analysis that will payable at gateway 2.

  • Ensure that its document retention policies are amended to take into account the changes to the limitation periods under the DPA. For those developments that may be subject to the retrospective limitation period change, house builders should ensure as far as possible to retain any relevant project records.

House builders will also need to consider the effect that building liability orders may have on its approach to procurement, although how this will operate in practice remains to be seen.

Moving forwards, we will keep you updated on when the various parts of the act will be implemented into law and any notable examples of the act in operation.

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Kate’s focus is on preventing disputes where possible and seeking commercial resolutions which align with her client’s goals when disputes do arise.

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The rationale for rationalising housing stock - post-pandemic

Blog | Social Housing

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The COVID-19 pandemic has perpetuated many challenges faced by organisations across the globe, and now the looming energy crisis, coupled with the ‘Green’ agenda, and an increased focus on customer service is placing further pressure on already stretched resources in the social housing sector.

As these financial and performance pressures continue to mount up, registered providers (“RPs”) are increasingly needing to find greater efficiency within their portfolio and services. One approach which is becoming more commonplace among RPs, is stock rationalisation.

What is a stock rationalisation?

Stock rationalisation is, for the most part, a cost management tool. It involves a strategic restructuring of the ownership and/or management of a stock portfolio in order to raise finance and/ or to reduce outgoings, which consequently improve the RP’s ability to deliver on performance and its financial objectives.

Ultimately, the core brief for RPs has always been to invest in the sustainability of communities and there are often easy and tangible gains to be made by embracing rationalisation.

How is rationalisation implemented?

There are various ways to implement rationalisation and these include stock transfers, stock swaps and sales on the open market. As with all projects, proper planning is essential to ensure material considerations are explored and the correct structures or mechanisms used. For example, the value of the portfolio in question is typically the key driver and negotiating tool in a rationalisation project. It is therefore important to ensure the correct valuation methodology is applied, as there are various independent valuation methodologies that can be used to calculate the net worth of the stock and each with potentially differing outcomes.

Additionally, the requirement for tenant consultation is sometimes viewed by RPs with a degree of trepidation, but it needn’t be prohibitive to rationalisation. Addressing concerns from both the residents and providers’ perspectives are key to engagement and a smooth process, and many rationalisation deals simply include a condition for consultations to be completed prior to completion.

Why should RPs consider rationalising their stock?

The benefits are many and registered providers typically consider rationalisation in order to improve their ability to meet financial and/or performance objectives. Reasons will vary from RP to RP, depending on both the condition of their stock and its geographic location, and this will likely reflect the RPs overall strategy.

A rationalisation programme will sit within the RP’s asset management strategy (and may in some cases form a specific aim within the overarching corporate plan), but the overriding aim is usually one or more of the following:

  • An RP may find that it has inherited ageing or underperforming stock. This is especially true of many RPs whose portfolio consists of a large number of units inherited from a large scale voluntary transfer from a local authority. This can result in the RP experiencing escalating repair and service costs, especially in the current carbon reduction push. It may be that it is much more effective for the RP to sell these assets in order to improve the reporting of its carbon mitigations, as well as reduce the costs of periodic maintenance and repairs.

  • The terms and conditions in lenders’ finance packages are not always necessarily appealing to the balance sheet. Rationalisation can help raise finance outside the standard lenders’ requirements and process, and this is of course desirable when a certain part of the registered provider's stock is underperforming due to a variety of factors which might include, for example, increased management and service costs.

  • Concentrating stock to a specific geographical area brings numerous benefits, through boosting the RP’s footprint in an area it wishes to gain or extend visibility and presence. Invariably, the main drive for this is due to cost efficiencies as it costs more to manage a dispersed stock portfolio and by concentrating the housing stock to a smaller (and perhaps more strategic) geographical location, RPs are able to reduce maintenance expenses while also improving service response times by reducing travel time and distance.

  • A strategically reviewed portfolio can also go a long way towards improving tenant and community engagement, resulting in empowered and involved residents - an especially important focus area for the regulator currently.

The cost efficiencies brought by rationalisation are often experienced within a relatively short period of time, and so the effectiveness of using rationalisation as a tool toward a healthier balance sheet is not to be underestimated.

It is of course not just the selling RP who may look to rationalisation to assist with wider issues. Many providers can find real value for money in gaining additional stock in their area if they identify an opportunity with a selling provider. This can be a real boon for the purchasing RP looking to increase their housing provision in a local area, especially given the current high levels of competition for section 106 sites (which is the usual source of new properties for many smaller RPs).

What we can do for you

The rationalisation process isn’t necessarily complex, but there are numerous considerations to address, ranging from the structure of the proposed acquisition and/or disposal programme to avoiding the many pitfalls rationalisation can bring.

There are various predictable surprises in a rationalisation project which can be avoided through careful planning. These include the examples mentioned above, as well as operational, tax and accounting issues that can occur as a result of the rationalisation programme, as well as TUPE and data protection considerations.

At Shakespeare Martineau, our advisors will engage with you and your team at the outset to ensure the appropriate structure is established and material considerations properly explored. We will work collaboratively with your intermediaries and professional team through every step of the rationalisation journey, and by sharing our experience from previous transactions, we will ensure that you benefit from the strength and breadth of our expertise.

If your organisation is interested in pursuing a rationalisation programme or would like further information regarding the above, please call any of our advisors for an informal chat.

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Joanna’s expertise encompasses advising on social housing development transactions, from site assemblies to larger scale phased sales and purchases.

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Joanna Lee-Mills
Partner

Social Housing

Backed by specialists and an in-depth knowledge of social housing, residential and commercial development, planning and construction as well as housing management, employment, finance and funding, corporate and commercial law, we build your team of advisers to help you realise your goals.

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Nutrient neutrality - how might it affect development

Blog | Social Housing

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Nutrient pollution is a big environmental issue for many of our most important river catchments and waterbodies. In freshwater habitats and estuaries, excessive levels of nutrients can cause the rapid growth of certain plants through the process of eutrophication. This is damaging to wildlife.

The sources of nutrients generally include sewage treatment works, septic tanks, livestock, arable farming, industrial processes and urban runoff. Where sites are already in unfavourable (poor) condition new development can make matters worse.

Nutrient neutrality is one approach to ensuring that new housing development does not lead to an increase in the levels of nutrients flowing from the development to the receptor (the protected river and its catchment). In the affected areas developers must prove their schemes would be nutrient neutral by demonstrating how they would remove or offset the full amount of nutrients anticipated. At its simplest level this could be through demonstrating through the use of a ‘calculator’ that after development a scheme would generate the same or less nutrient outputs than the site was already contributing before development.  However in many, if not most developments, additional interventions may be required to ensure that development does not increase nutrient levels added to sensitive sites.

In practice, this could mean that developers may need to identify, fund and in some cases deliver additional offsite and onsite mitigation measures.  Onsite mitigation measures, such as the adoption of water efficiency measures and the appropriate use of sustainable drainage could help, especially if your site is large, previously developed (and in particular already discharges wastewater), or offers the potential to include measures to reduce the levels of nutrient in the watercourse or one of its tributaries directly (for example through the construction of reed beds, silt traps or other measures).  If mitigation has to be offsite these can take time to identify and deliver, meaning development could be delayed.  It is expected off site measures would be identified and coordinated by local authorities. Clearly, these could take time to identify, although the government has made some funding available to councils, presumably to help address the need for offsite measures to be identified.

Additionally, wherever you are planning for development, which is caught by this requirement, it is likely that you will need to include mitigation to specifically deal with the impact on a sensitive site.  Wherever you include measures specifically to do this, there is a requirement for the council to prepare a Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA), sometimes called an Appropriate Assessment. In practice, many councils will not be geared up, or have the expertise to do this so developers may be asked to submit a shadow HRA to assist the council in discharging their obligations in respect of the Habitat Regulations.

Finally, it’s always worth checking the areas affected.  Catchments rarely cover the whole district, though given the way the government has published recent announcements you may think that whole districts are affected. In practice, it may only be a small or localised part of the council area subject to this additional requirement.  It is also worth being mindful of where any foul flows from your new development go.  If your site is on the edge of the catchment it is always worth checking which treatment works will receive any foul water. In some instances, the foul water from a development that sits inside a sensitive catchment is taken out of the catchment to treatment works that discharge to watercourses unaffected by nutrient neutrality requirements.  Where this is the case it significantly reduces the potential for development to affect water quality in the sensitive site.

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Kevin works with clients on a wide range of real estate maters to facilitate the delivery of their affordable housing developments.

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The nationally significant infrastructure project regime and development consent orders - how to have your say

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I have been served with a formal notice concerning a proposed DCO - what does this mean, what do I need to do and how can we help?

Q. What is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and who decides them?

A: Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (“NSIPs”) are major infrastructure developments in England and Wales. These include projects such as power plants, large renewable energy projects, new airports, airport extensions and major road projects. A Development Consent Order (“DCO”) is the means for obtaining planning permission and a range of other consents for developments categorised as NSIPs – note this can include the use of compulsory purchase powers to acquire any land and rights required for the project. Instead of applying to the local authority, the developer must apply to the Planning Inspectorate who will consider the application and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State.  The relevant Secretary of State will then decide whether a DCO is granted. The notices served as part of the DCO process are different to those you will see for straightforward planning applications and compulsory purchase orders.

Q. How does the NSIP process work?

A. The process comprises six key stages with statutory timescales, including pre-application, acceptance, pre-examination, examination, decision and post-decision stages. From accepting an application to making a decision, the whole process should take approximately 15 months. Previously, the average time taken for major applications was around 2 years.

Q. How can a social housing provider get involved and have a say on a project?

A. The best chance to influence, for example the design, layout, or location of a NSIP takes place during the pre-application stage before the applicant finalises its application and submits it. The opportunity for this is during the public consultation period. The applicant must formally consult on its proposed application before it is submitted. If you wish to be involved, you should take part in the applicant’s pre-application consultation. Once the application is submitted you can be involved by making a relevant representation and then registering and participating in the examination.

Q. We have been identified as a statutory consultee - what does this mean?

A. Statutory consultees are organisations or individuals that are legally required to be consulted on NSIPs. If you have been consulted on a proposed application, is it likely that you either have an interest in the land subject to the DCO or could be affected by a project in such a way that you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Q. Our land/interest has been identified as land which is subject to proposed compulsory acquisition or land as being affected by a project in such a way that means compensation may be payable– what should we do?

A. Often a social housing provider will not be aware of a proposal for a NSIP until it receives notice of the formal statutory consultation. While a DCO can authorise the compulsory acquisition of land, various rigorous policy tests must be met before compulsory purchase will be authorised. Objections which relate solely to compensation values for compulsory acquisition will be disregarded, however, it may be that you are able to argue that the various tests are not met.  It is crucial that you engage in the process as early as possible to secure your position. With this in mind, you should consider making an objection or relevant representation so as to put a marker down and alert the applicant that it will need to proactively engage with you and/or that you are challenging their grounds for taking powers of compulsory acquisition. We can advise you on how best to deal with the compulsory acquisition negotiations, the split of compensation for shared ownership properties and also how to deal with similarly affected tenants or leaseholders whilst also protecting your own interests.

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Julie Russell has vast experience working on all aspects of legal planning, development and infrastructure work.

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Orbit Homes plants pear tree at Daventry development to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

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In celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a pear tree has been planted at Orbit Homes flagship development in Daventry, Micklewell Park.

In celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a pear tree has been planted at Orbit Homes flagship development in Daventry, Micklewell Park.

The Williams pear tree was planted on Wednesday, 30 March, having been provided by and planted in collaboration with leading law firm Shakespeare Martineau as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) – a unique initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee this year.

Colin Dean, sales and marketing director at Orbit Homes, said: “We are proud to plant this pear tree to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and add to the biodiversity we are creating at Micklewell Park. We consider a home’s surroundings to be just as important as the living spaces inside and know that sustainability and wellbeing go hand-in-hand for an improved quality of life for our residents.

Micklewell Park will be surrounded by beautiful green spaces and will include 20 allotments, newly-constructed cycle paths and newly-planted woodland. We know our new pear tree, which we planted in collaboration with our partners at Shakespeare Martineau, will be appreciated by the new neighbourhood and will be flourishing once the first phase of the development is completed in spring 2023.

With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC initiative aims to encourage the planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership, while benefitting future generations.

Shakespeare Martineau is pending B Corporation status – where organisations are legally required to consider the impact of business decisions on their people, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment – and has committed to 30 ambitious responsible business pledges, including becoming carbon negative by 2030 and is on this journey already with all registered office hubs using 100% renewable energy.

Rachel Gwynne, partner and head of social housing at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Orbit Homes to plant a tree in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

While this is a small contribution in terms of biodiversity, it will have a positive impact on the community once the development has completed – nourishing the neighbourhood with greenery and fruit, while helping to add to the nationwide drive to mark the Queen’s 70 years of service.

“We look forward to residents enjoying the fruits of their efforts, quite literally, for decades to come.

Micklewell Park comprises 450 homes – featuring one and two-bedroom apartments and two, three, four and five-bedroom houses – which will be a mixture of rented, shared ownership and market sale properties. The development will be embraced by nature and green spaces, including eight acres of woodland, and has been designed for a desirable quality of life today and a sustainable future.

The first phase in the Micklewell Park development – comprising 108 homes – is scheduled to complete in March 2023 and will include 20 allotment spaces, electric vehicle charging points, two bus stops and land allocated for a new primary school. Two further phases will commence thereafter.

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Rachel provides strategic advice and support to housing associations, charities and other not-for-profit organisations.

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New Research - Our Green Homes Report: What buyers want

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More than three quarters (77%) of homebuyers are likely to consider a green home as their next property.

Green homes will have a significant influence on the UK reaching its net zero 2050 targets, but unless homeowners are happy to live in them, there will be little commercial benefit for housebuilders to construct them.

We wanted to understand the opinions, knowledge and demands of those in the market to purchase a new home – having either recently purchased, or looking to purchase a property in the next 12 months.

We asked 500 first time buyers and ‘second steppers’ whether they were likely to purchase a green home, which green features they were willing to pay more for and their reasons for choosing – or not choosing – a green home.

Key findings

  • More than three quarters (77%) of homebuyers are likely to consider a green home as their next property

  • Top reasons for wanting a green home included it’s ‘better for the environment' (39%), it will ‘save me money in the long run’ (27%) and ‘I want to reduce my energy bills’ (35%)

  • Consumers confirm they are willing to pay more for better energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in their homes.

With bills high on the agenda of many homeowners, now is a good time to increase adoption of green home technology, ahead of 2025 building regulations for net zero coming into force.” said Neil Gosling, head of residential development at Shakespeare Martineau.

Our research also shows that buyers are willing to pay more for features like renewable energy sources and energy-saving measures such as triple glazing – indicating a commercial incentive for developers.

More than a third (34%) of homebuyers also wanted to reduce their carbon footprint and get ahead of the curve, stating: ‘I think eventually all homes will need to be green so I will pre-empt this.

Buyers want more information about green homes

Despite a significant uptake, more than 1 in 3 (35%) respondents who were likely to purchase a green home said they wanted to understand more about how it would benefit them in the future, indicating a gap in knowledge and understanding.

Neil added: “Housebuilders should be doing more to emphasise the health and economic benefits of green homes in their marketing.

Not enough green homes in the Midlands

When it comes to availability, however, of those considering a green home, just 14% of respondents in the Midlands1 said there were green homes available in their desired location, compared to 25% and 24% in the North2 and South3, respectively.

The results also show that age, social class and gender are influencing factors in demands and expectations of green homes.

The age group most likely to consider a green home is 35 to 44-year-olds at 84%, followed by 25 to 34-year-olds (78%).

More than three quarters (76%) of 18 to 24-year olds would opt for a green home, in contrast to just 64% of respondents aged 45 and over.

It’s probably no surprise that the millennial generation is most likely to opt for a green home. This leans into the stereotype that younger generations are more concerned about the environment and also reflects the ageing first time buyer population. - Neil Gosling

Why aren’t people opting for green homes?

Six per cent of respondents said they were unlikely to choose a green home and 18% said they were neither likely nor unlikely.

Almost three quarters (72%) of those who were undecided said it was because they didn’t know enough about it, while 29% said they felt ‘indifferently’ about green homes.

When given a detailed description of what a green home is, 76% of people said they would be more likely to consider purchasing one for their next property.

Neil said: “Our results show that not all is lost when it comes to getting more people on board with green homes. I believe those on the fence can be convinced with the right information and education.

“As a sector, we should be leading with messages that hit both hearts and minds to turn the undecided few. But it’s also important we’re building homes with the features people value and in the locations they want.

“Adoption of green homes at scale is a complex jigsaw that will require canvassing of Government, legislative changes and greater financial incentives for both consumers and those delivering the product. More must be done to encourage larger players in the industry to get behind the cause, so that maximum efficiencies are achieved in the future. There is also need for a significant educational and engagement piece with the public and wider supply chain.

“For the short term, the focus should be on fabrication of housing to secure green homes status, but the potential for positive change on a much larger scale is huge, should the pieces fall into place.

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Neil builds long standing working relationships with our clients by becoming an extension of their business. He is forward thinking and progressive in his approach.

1. ‘Midlands’ refers to those in the West Midlands and East Midlands regions
2. 'North’ refers to those in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber regions
3. 'South’ refers to those in the East of England, South East, South West and Greater London regions

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We wanted to understand the opinions, knowledge and demands of those in the market to purchase a new home – having either recently purchased, or looking to purchase a property in the next 12 months.

We answer the following questions

  • What do buyers want?

  • Are there enough green homes in the midlands?

  • Why aren’t people opting for green homes?

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

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Agriculture: diversifying or leasing your land to create habitat banks

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Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about

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Shakespeare Martineau one of four to secure slot on housebuilder’s national legal panel

Blog | Residential Development

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After a lengthy tender process, leading law firm Shakespeare Martineau has been appointed to national developer Lovell Homes’ Core Legal Services Panel.

Led by partners Neil Gosling and Kevin Joynes, the residential development team successfully took on the highly-competitive tender process, securing one of four available slots on the three-year panel, sharing a legal spend of more than £3 million per annum.

The firm’s role will largely involve carrying out residential development work, including land acquisition, strategic land, legal planning and later living, as well as providing advice on property disputes and construction matters in England and Wales.

Head of residential development at Shakespeare Martineau Neil Gosling said: “To be one of the four firms chosen to form Lovell’s new legal panel is hugely exciting, especially as we were competing against a number of large, national firms.

“We’ve invested significantly in our people in recent years to ensure we have an incredibly strong group of talented lawyers across numerous disciplines who are all perfectly placed to provide the best advice at all times.

“The appointment adds to our already impressive list of existing residential development clients and will help us to achieve our growth ambitions. We very much see this as the start of a long-term relationship with Lovell, and we are looking forward to delivering outstanding service to the developer and becoming one of its key suppliers of legal services.

With more than 60 high-experienced and wholly specialist residential development experts nationally, Shakespeare Martineau supports housebuilders at all stages of their residential and mixed-use developments.

As a full-service law firm, the team also draws on the deep expertise of its colleagues to help clients with any related matter, including planning issues, construction warranties and building agreements, property disputes, and corporate and tax structuring.

Tonia Atkinson, Lovell’s head of legal, said: “We're pleased to welcome Shakespeare Martineau onto our panel as legal advisers. The fresh thinking shown by the team during the tender process really impressed us and we're excited to work with them moving forward.”

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Neil builds long standing working relationships with our clients by becoming an extension of their business. He is forward thinking and progressive in his approach.

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Committed to understanding your commercial objectives and providing you with solutions to enhance your business, we don’t just identify problems, we solve legal issues.

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

29 Jun

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

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Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about

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The New Homes Quality Code

Blog | Residential Development

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There have long been calls for the implementation of a new scheme to provide increased levels of protection and rights to purchasers of new homes, to combat a minority of housebuilders where build quality and customer service falls on deaf ears.

Against this backdrop, the creation of the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) by the Government is a welcome initiative.

New Homes Quality Board

The NHQB is an independent body whose purpose is to develop a new framework to oversee reforms in the build quality of new homes and the customer service provided by house builders.

The NHQB has now published the New Homes Quality Code (the Code) and put in place a New Homes Ombudsman (the Ombudsman Scheme).

In so doing, the NHQB’s aim is to improve standards in the context of the new build homes market across the UK and provide purchasers with a means of redress if they discover faults with their new build property which are not dealt with by the house builder responsible satisfactorily.

The code

The code was published on 17 December 2021 by the NHQB after a period of consultation lasting almost five years.

The code is split into two parts. The first part is a statement of the fundamental principles that registered developers agree to apply in their business and their dealings with purchasers. The second part is the practical steps i.e. what is expected at each stage of the sales process.

The fundamental principles are described as ’10 guiding principles’ which include fairness, transparency, quality and responsiveness (amongst others).

Applying the 10 guiding principles, the code:

  • protects vulnerable customers, prohibits high pressure selling and requires any deposit the purchaser pays to the house builder to be protected;

  • requires the house builder to provide all relevant information about the home during the sales process (including, for example, about the tenure and any future management or service charges), to allow the purchaser to make an informed decision;

  • sets out requirements for a fair reservation agreement, including a 'cooling off' period, and sales contract requirements;

  • allows the purchaser to have a "suitably qualified inspector" carry out a pre-completion inspection of their home on their behalf if they wish (against a standard form Pre-Completion Template);

  • specifies that a home must be 'complete' and ready to occupy, preventing housebuilders from paying purchasers to move into a new home early;

  • requires housebuilders to have an effective after-care service process in place to deal with any issues or 'snagging' problems purchasers raise; and

  • requires house builders to have a robust complaints process that responds to purchasers' concerns in a timely manner. Should a purchaser not be satisfied with how their complaint is dealt with, they will be able to refer their case to the new independent Ombudsman service (detailed below).

As a result, there are a number of changes that house builders will need to make in order to ensure compliance with the code. This will involve updating existing policies and procedures (such as sales information and reservation agreements), and ensuring that all staff members receive appropriate training on the changes. Housebuilders are expected to ensure that all customer facing staff have a good understanding of the requirements of the code.

Housebuilders will need to familiarise themselves with all aspects of the code. However, there are a number of provisions of particular note, including:

  • House builders aren’t obliged to register their entire business at once. Instead, a house builder can choose to register each regional office (or even development-specific subsidiaries) separately although it should be noted that the code does expect the entire business to be registered on or before the end of the transition period (i.e. 31 December 2022).

  • The code allows the purchaser (and/or a suitably qualified inspector) to visit the property before completion and from five calendar days after the Notice to Complete has been served.

  • A fundamental principle of the code is that house builders should take steps to identify and support vulnerable customers. The onus is on the house builder to take the lead on this, so consideration needs to be given on how best to approach this.

  • There are specific timeframes in which housebuilders must provide updates to purchasers following a complaint, including updates no later than day 10, 30 and 56 from receipt of the complaint.

During the transition period, once registered, housebuilders must inform customers as to whether they are covered by the new code or are covered by previous arrangements.

New Homes Ombudsman Scheme

The Ombudsman Scheme will provide purchasers with free access to timely, independent and efficient redress where issues occur with their new home. It is intended to be used where quality issues that the purchaser is not happy with arise, which are not dealt with to their satisfaction by the house builder. The Ombudsman Scheme will deal with claims with a value of up to £50,000. This will obviously cover lots of cases, except in respect of the most serious of issues.

The ombudsman is an independent body who will consider the evidence provided by the purchaser and the house builder and reach a decision.

The newly selected provider of the Ombudsman Scheme is working in conjunction with the NHQB to put in place the appropriate processes so that the service can be rolled out and made available to purchasers. It’s understood that, as matters stand, the intention is that the service will go live by June 2022.

What is the next step?

Although the code is voluntary, Homes England has made it compulsory for house builders and contractors to register if they are under the Help to Buy Scheme. It is also clear that the industry expects lenders/ warranty providers to follow suit in requiring their services to be dependent on registration. Given that the period for registration is now open, house builders should move now to not only register but ensure that they are able to effectively comply with the requirements of the code.

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Kate’s focus is on preventing disputes where possible and seeking commercial resolutions which align with her client’s goals when disputes do arise.

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Committed to understanding your commercial objectives and providing you with solutions to enhance your business, we don’t just identify problems, we solve legal issues.

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

29 Jun

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

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Agriculture: diversifying or leasing your land to create habitat banks

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Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about

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UK new homes lowest in five years

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UK New Homes lowest in five years

The government’s own target of building 300,000 new homes per year is proving difficult to meet with the year to March 21 showing an 11% drop to just 216,490.  This is according to the government’s own Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and is the lowest number of new homes being built since 2015-16. 

Many reasons have been sighted for this shortfall with the COVID pandemic playing a major part with sites closing down immediately in March 2020 – a restart did begin in May 2020 but three months had already been lost. 

Add to that the soaring cost of materials and overall availability and the fact that some developers are scaling back due to skyrocketing costs and reducing profits and the evidence is clear as to why this has happened. 

So how can house builders get back on track and ensure they are meeting the targets set by the government? 

Neil Gosling, head of residential development, comments, “There has been much talk and a promise of planning reform to bring additional sites forward for development in recent years.  This is crucial to the supply but we also need to see the time involved in securing planning and the commencement of actually breaking ground significantly reduced. 

Land values are significantly increasing due to developers having land shortages due to a lack of activity during lockdown.  This is causing developers to have to revaluate their profit margins, effectively reducing them, to secure sites for development. 

And while COVID impacted the development programme, a very real issue is likely to be a skills and materials shortage as developers catch up.” 

The need and desire for affordable new homes remains a top priority for the government.  The sector now has to catch up and deliver. 

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Neil builds long-standing working relationships with our clients by becoming an extension of their business. He is forward-thinking and progressive in his approach.

Our focus is on residential development. From inception to completion, we can support you at all stages of your residential and mixed-use developments.

Our reputation as one of the leading national residential development teams is supported by our enviable client list which includes 7 of the top 10 UK housebuilders, so you can be confident that you are working with a team of true specialists who can provide a full range of legal services.

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

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Take a look at our new eco-friendly office transformation

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Our eco-friendly office transformation

 

Reclaimed pallet-clad walls and ceiling features, booth seating with sustainably sourced fabric, and tables made from recycled yoghurt pots are some of the eco-friendly features that can be found in our first revamped office hub in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. 

Our space – located in Bridgeway House, just off the A3400 and near the River Avon – is the first in our property portfolio to undergo a major makeover to reflect modern, new ways of working and to fall in line with the goals of COP26.

Earlier this month, we announced our pending B Corporation status and 30 ambitious responsible business pledges, including achieving net-zero by 2025 and becoming carbon negative by 2030. 

To support this, more than 80% of the materials used as part of the refurbishment were sustainably sourced, recycled, or reused – including wall cladding made from reclaimed pallets; tables created using Forest Stewardship Council wood; stools made from recycled cosmetic bottles; upcycled chairs, which have been sprayed and re-covered in sustainably sourced fabric; carbon-neutral flooring solutions; neon lights made from recycled acrylic; energy-efficient LED lightbulbs; and finishing touches, such as Beach Clean coasters created using EVA plastic saved from our oceans. 

We also ensured there was minimal impact on landfill by donating all items of furniture that were unable to be reused or upcycled to local charities, religious groups, schools and community groups. 

Karen Walker, chief transformation officer said: “We’re delighted with the finished look of our Stratford hub – it reflects our personality and aspirations, while demonstrating our investment in and commitment to our people, the town and Warwickshire.  

A collaboration hub

“The office was designed as a collaboration hub, creating a place where our people can come together to undertake tasks and activities better carried out in a face-to-face environment, while also supporting agile working with facilities such as a dedicated Zoom room, large planning surfaces, height-adjustable desks, spaces for confidential conversations, and areas to work away from the desk or hold informal conversations, team meetings or to socialise. 

“Our aim is to have a positive impact in all that we do and contribute to a better and brighter future for our people, communities and environment. Our commitment to achieving our responsible business pledges is part of that target, starting with the Stratford hub. 

“Over the coming 24 months, our wider portfolio of hubs will undergo refurbishments to become modern, eco-friendly spaces that promote collaboration between teams.” 

The transformation also supports our pending B Corporation status. B Corporation organisations are legally required to consider the impact of business decisions on their people, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment; ensuring a balance between purpose, people and profit. 

 

Flexible working is the future

Ben Buckton, our chief marketing and people officer said: “For us, achieving B Corporation status will simply be a by-product of the work we’ve already been doing to become a better and more responsible business for our people, clients and the planet. 

“We want all our people to work where, how and when they need to, to use their time and balance their life effectively. 

“In our latest firm-wide survey, 88% of our people want to continue with flexible working post-pandemic, so we have taken this as an opportunity to redesign the purpose of our hubs to better support networking, training, client meetings and other activities better done face-to-face. 

“We see lots of firms offering flexible working arrangements, yet they still bind their people to fixed rules and commitments. This doesn’t go far enough for us as it doesn’t match the reality of life or the new business world; we want our people to have a true work-life balance. 

“We also know that empowering people is the best motivation, and our positive, high-performance work culture is already attracting top talent and expertise from across the UK, which, in turn, delivers the best quality service for our clients.” 

Other responsible business pledges made by the firm include increasing female representation within the membership by five per cent (currently 33%) and racial diversity by two per cent (currently 8%), as well as supporting teams by training 100% of managers in wellbeing. 

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Working closely with the CEO, CFO, CTO and the Managing Directors of each business unit; Ben is a key driver of our growth strategy – ensuring we make the right investments to develop our people, brands, clients, markets and innovations that unlock potential.

Why Shakespeare Martineau?

On paper we’re a full-service law firm, providing legal services to businesses, organisations, government departments, families and people throughout life and in business. But we offer so much more than that. Expertise, commerciality and relationships are at the very heart of what we do.

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Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

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Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about

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On the brink of collapse: insolvencies in the construction industry

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Insolvency in the construction sector

The pandemic has placed the construction industry under considerable pressure, with it accounting for 17% of all UK corporate insolvencies in May 2021. Now that restrictions have lifted, it’s hoped that many companies will be able to survive moving forward. However, sector leaders should ensure they understand the insolvency process – whichever side they’re on.

The challenge ahead

Even before the pandemic, the construction industry was facing a number of challenges, including wafer thin profit margins and materials and labour shortages. This left many businesses in vulnerable positions, particularly in the wake of the May 2020 construction boom.

The complexity of construction supply chains often means that one problem can have widespread repercussions, so it’s important to be aware of warning signs that things may be going wrong

Understanding the signs

There are often distinct warning signs that indicate that a project is headed for trouble, these include:

  • Problems contacting subcontractors, employers or site teams
  • Unexpected changes in management
  • Subcontractors suddenly removing plant and equipment from the site
  • Unexplained reductions in productivity or resources

In the event these tell-tale signs appear, it’s time to take action.

Next steps

The first course of action should be to review your contracts and documentation, which will help you to understand the risk and who carries it. A plan can then be formulated.

If the financial position is worsening, it’s important to maintain lines of communication with key stakeholders, including the team ‘on the ground’. Staying close to site activity will provide a greater insight into any future problems.

If the financial problems evolve into something more serious, there are things that can be done to manage the risk. Communication is vital, so take advice and engage with major stakeholders and funders as soon as possible. Getting key suppliers on board at an early stage may also help in the long run.

Law of Property Act (LPA) receiverships

Administrations and liquidations, where a business is placed under the control of insolvency practitioners, are still common. However, not all insolvency situations are equal and there is a growing number of distressed projects being placed into LPA receiverships. Here, a receiver  is instructed by a lender to take charge of discreet assets (usually a property) and sell them to recover the debt.

This option is particularly beneficial for construction projects as it is quicker, cheaper, and often means the project will be seen through to completion.

The director’s role

Directors and owners must be aware of their responsibilities and personal risk during an insolvency. Although it may be tempting to walk away from a struggling business, assisting administrators or LPA receivers could result in a better outcome.

Legal provisions such as The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 are also in place to provide directors with time to consider all of their options.

As the pressure facing the construction industry increases, insolvencies will inevitably happen. Ensuring directors and senior leaders know how to spot the danger signs, could prevent further problems down the line.

Get in touch to find out how our  restructuring and insolvency team can help.

As development sites begin to re-open, significant challenges are rising to the surface causing further disruption to house builders.

In this webinar, we discuss the position with contracts and supply chains, employment contracts and workforces, and a practical look at how you can get your site back up and running with minimum delay.

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Frank is recognised as an expert in restructuring and insolvency law, and one who provides decisive practical solutions.

In any situation when things take a turn for the worse, our corporate restructuring and insolvency team work closely and quickly with clients to assess options deliver the best possible commercial outcomes where possible.

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Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about

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Modern Retirement Living: Looking to the future

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Retirement Living: the future

As the UK population gets older, retirement living should be gaining traction and becoming increasingly important. However, in order to attract new residents and convince councils and developers that it’s a sector worth prioritising, a more modern approach is needed.

Developers themselves have an opportunity to revolutionise retirement living, and now is the ideal time to set the wheels in motion. Nevertheless, there are some considerations to be made before jumping into this important sector.

What is retirement living?

There are three main options when it comes to accommodation and care for older people:

  •  Traditional homes:  A privately-owned or rented home

  • Retirement living:  Homes and communities especially built for later living. These usually include on-site care and amenities, such as gyms and communal spaces, while giving residents their own independent space.

  • Nursing care: Specialist facilities, where care is the main focus.

What trends are we seeing in the sector?

To successfully tap into this evolving market, developers should be aware of trends that currently define the sector.

These are:

  • Retirement living is growing - With more developers and investors looking to work in the sector, there will be greater diversification in terms of offering. Uniqueness will pay off.
  • Moving away from the property ladder – Although the older generations are often of the opinion that buying is best, when it comes to later living, renting may be the most sensible option, offering increased flexibility in a cost-effective manner.
  • Improving quality of life – Retirement living should focus on quality of life, as well as care. Desirable amenities and a sense of community raise retirement living above traditional housing or nursing care.
  • Flexibility in the golden years – More and more, highlighting the flexibility that retirement living offers to its target audience is key. Whether that’s showing the benefits of renting or offering a try before you buy approach, flexibility gives older people much-needed autonomy.
What about planning?

There are some important caveats that developers need to understand about the process of securing planning for retirement living communities, buildings and homes. These include:

Brownfield and greenfield – Brownfield restoration won’t pose much of an obstacle. However, if developing in a greenfield area, there may be increased scrutiny from planning authorities. However, including plenty of detail around how the development will benefit the wider community, for example specific amenities, is likely to make the planning process smoother.

Design – The National Planning Policy Framework includes certain aspects that must be kept in mind when designing a retirement development, such as accessibility, light and space. The recent amendments to the NPPF now include a definition of ‘Older People’.

Affordability – Affordability is a major concern, so although great amenities will attract interest, it’s essential to keep the target audience in mind and find the right price range.

Communicate with councils – Working with councils to offer a development that will truly benefit the community will help when it comes to planning. Their priority is the local area, so the developer should show that they share the same priorities, where possible.

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Could multi generational living ease the pandemic effects effects on the housing sector? Louise Drew looks at village life and the environmental and social benefits.

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Louise is the Head of the Building Communities team, having a passion for delivering development that brings major benefit to residents in terms of health, wellbeing, education, employment and the environment.

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First Homes – A new form of discounted housing: the pros and cons

Executive Summary | Residential Development

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On June 28 2021 a new type of affordable housing product known as “First Homes” was launched on to the UK market.  First Homes is the latest government initiative to help more people make the move into home ownership.

What is First Homes?

First Homes are new homes to be sold to first time buyers with a minimum 30% discount off the market value. There are various qualifying criteria including a requirement to be a first time buyer, have an income of no greater than £80,000 per annum (£90,000 in London) and the home value may not exceed £250,000 (£420,000 in London) once the discount has been applied. Local Authorities are also free to set additional “local” criteria (such as residency criteria) if they wish, and may increase the level of discount if they can demonstrate a need.

First Homes will be secured via Section 106 obligations on new schemes being brought forward for planning and should be reflected in local and neighbourhood plans. However, there will be exemptions for schemes where planning is already in place or under consideration, and for local and neighbourhood plans which are already at certain stages of preparation and publication. In addition, 100% affordable schemes will be exempt.

So what do registered providers need to know about First Homes?

In very basic terms, First Homes will need to be provided on all new schemes where the above exemptions do not apply and there is an expectation and requirement that 25% of affordable homes will be First Homes. This will form the government’s new preferred tenure over and above social rent. Social rent proportions are required to remain unchanged, however, meaning that the remaining tenures (for example affordable rent or shared ownership) will have their comparative proportional share of the development reduced as a result. This is likely to have a significant impact on the availability and viability of schemes for registered providers, due to the priority being given to it in the proportions of housing tenures required.

Therefore the big concern for registered providers is the reduction in the number of shared ownership properties that have long been used by providers to cross subsidise the provision of new social rent and affordable rent properties. There is the distinct possibility that this initiative could result in some developments becoming financially unviable to many registered providers. It is also likely that this could pose particular problems for smaller providers who concentrate on smaller s106 schemes and do not self-develop.

Further concerns include the negative impact on the desirability of shared ownership (reducing demand and returns accordingly) and the fact that this product is less affordable than the standard shared ownership model (which only requires a mortgage for the initial share while First Homes require a mortgage of at least 50%).

What should registered providers do now?

Read our summary Q & A and talk to us. We’re here to guide you through this new initiative, including all the planning and policy implications via our experienced planners in our planning team. It could and should be good news for buyers – let’s make sure it works for registered providers too.

In this webinar we discuss the opportunities building close to a town or city centre can offer the retirement living sector.

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Kevin works with clients on a wide range of real estate maters to facilitate the delivery of their affordable housing developments.

Commercial Property Development

Even when working on the most complex of real estate projects, we propose commercially sound strategies that deliver results for our clients and address any issues that arise quickly.

Our  commercial real estate development team takes a full-service approach to development work, advising on matters as diverse as financial structures, environmental law and property litigation so that all angles are covered.

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All the latest thoughts and insights from our team

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Guides & Advice

What do RPs need to know about the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill?

The new Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill means that new long residential leases will be free from ground rent and leaseholders will no longer be subject to unexpectedly high costs payable annually. However, its implementation has the potential to impact on registered providers (RPs) guaranteed income streams.

Who will the Bill affect?

As the Bill currently stands, existing leases with ground rent included in the contract will remain unchanged. However, new leases, including those on existing developments, will have to be sold with a lease that has zero ground rent.

At present, only shared ownership leases are exempt. However, landlords and leaseholders should bear in mind that this could be subject to change as the House of Lords wants to include measures to protect shared ownership leaseholders. This will now be considered at the Committee stage.

Financial considerations

While not all RPs charge ground rent, it can be a vital source of income for those that do and helps to fund future social housing projects. However, once the reforms have been implemented, major changes to the way RPs fund developments may need to be considered. Currently, if an RP has sold off every flat in a building with a ground rent, the freehold land can then be sold onto a third party who can continue to generate an annual return from the rent.

Moving forward, with no ground rent to be included in new leases, the value of the freehold will be substantially reduced, and RPs will receive no ongoing revenue from the land, other than from the delivery of the management services. Once the flats have been sold to the tenants, they will no longer serve a social purpose and may become a drain on the RP’s resources, where these could be focused on their newer social housing stock.

The impact on social housing

The later living sector is also likely to be impacted. Currently, ground rent charges in retirement developments fund communal areas and additional services. Without them, funding will have to be found elsewhere. While the Government initially agreed that retirement homes would be exempt from the Bill, they have only instead chosen to delay implementation until April 2023 for this sector.

However, not all is doom and gloom. RPs that acquired flats in blocks from developers in the future, would most likely have found themselves owning properties with doubling ground rents, which they would have to pass on to their tenants, creating a further barrier to affordable housing. As a result, for RPs buying housing under Section 106 agreements following implementation, the Bill is a positive.

Moving forward

As existing leases aren’t impacted, RPs will still be able to collect ground rent to some extent, but they will need to factor in this loss of revenue with any future housing projects.

The changes mean that it is essential for RPs to review the viability of their current housing models. Purchasing or building flats with a view to selling on the freehold asset for a capital sum may no longer be a practicable option, so further innovation to generate revenue will need considering.

Although a welcome step for leaseholders, these reforms are yet another hurdle to jump for providers of affordable housing, removing an income stream that has historically not been crippling for its residents, but instead has provided a regular income stream to help in the delivery of their affordable housing products..

Contact us

Get in touch to find out how our Building Communities team can help.

We have launched our guide to recovery and resilience, helping to support businesses and individuals unlock their potential, navigate their way out of lockdown and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director's responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

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News

Marrons Planning launches urban design with new associate director hire

Midlands planning consultancy Marrons Planning has extended its portfolio of services with the appointment of architect and urban design expert Alex Craggs.

Specialising in bespoke residential projects and master planning urban design schemes, RIBA chartered architect Alex will take the role of associate director and be heading up the new Marrons Urban Design service, which will complement the consultancy’s existing planning services: including planning applications and appeals as well as promoting developments and planning strategy.

With more than 10 years’ experience working with a range of clients from strategic land promoters and developers to private clients and home owners, Alex will be responsible for setting up the new service line and growing the team in the future.

Andy Gore, Partner at Marrons Planning, said: “This is a really exciting new venture for Marrons Planning and one that will allow us to provide illustrative layouts, design and access statements, promotion documents, concept plans and more.

“We’re well known for providing planning advice that helps inform our clients’ decision making process, driving projects forward and using our close working relationships with Local Planning Authorities to help unlock strategic sites; but now we will also be able to provide our clients with brilliant designs that are underpinned by a deep understanding of commercial complexities, local authority requirements and planning strategy.

“We’re thrilled to have Alex join our team.

Alex has experience working in a variety of sectors including residential, conservation, mixed-use, commercial and leisure, taking projects from inception through to completion.

Alex, who was previously associate director for BHB Architects said: “I was attracted to Marrons Planning because of their enthusiasm and track record in gaining successful outcomes for their clients. I’m excited to bring design expertise to Marrons Planning to allow them to offer their clients a high quality design offering in conjunction with their established planning services.

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Guides & Advice

Building the future: the benefits and challenges of MMC

In recent years, modern methods of construction (MMC) have become increasingly popular, as it provides a fast and high-quality alternative to traditional house building. However, a lack of knowledge surrounding these methods has meant some developers have been hesitant to embrace it.

Read more about the difference between MMC contracts and standard construction contracts.

To tackle this, the government has assembled a ‘MMC taskforce’, which aims to encourage the industry to use off-site construction methods and accelerate the roll out of much-needed housing. So, what do housebuilders need to know about MMC?

What are modern methods of construction (MMC)?

MMC is an umbrella term given to a range of offsite manufacturing and onsite techniques that provide alternatives to traditional housebuilding. The most common form of MMC is modular housing, where the structures of the homes are built off site in a factory environment, before being delivered to the development site and assembled in-situ.

Although this method of construction is something that has been talked about for many years within the industry, it still only accounts for a small percentage of the total housing delivery in the UK. However, as the need for quick and sustainable construction solutions continues to grow, so does the momentum behind MMC.

What are the benefits of MMC?

Promising a speedy solution to housebuilding, MMC continues to grow in popularity, particularly with registered providers that need to provide high quality housing as quickly as possible. But speed is not the only benefit of these new methods of construction, others include:

  • Reduced construction time on site, resulting in less disruption for existing residents;
  • Fewer housing defects thanks to stricter supervision in factory;
  • Reductions in energy use and waste;
  • Safer construction; and
  • Greater flexibility - modular buildings can be disassembled and the modules relocated or refurbished for new use elsewhere.

However, despite these benefits, MMC still has some way to go before it is favoured over traditional housebuilding, due to limited awareness of the associated risks within the industry.

What are the challenges of MMC?

Like with anything new and innovative, MMC is not without its challenges and in this case, it could be argued that they stem from a lack of confidence in the product.

Unlike traditional housebuilding, MMC is done off site in a factory environment, meaning an element of trust is essential. For many housebuilders who are accustomed to being on site 24/7 and having unlimited access to check on the progress and quality of the build, this could prove to be difficult. Although many professionals continue to doubt the quality of MMC, being built in the controlled environment of a factory allows for rigorous testing of the product and leads to a consistently high-quality result.

There are also still question marks surrounding the long-term maintenance of MMC homes. This shouldn’t be a problem, with precision and energy efficiency built into these homes as standard, but until they have been lived in for an extended period of time, this will remain an unknown.

Further investment

MMC still has a way to go before it becomes part of the mainstream, but developers are starting to take a chance on it. Although more evidence regarding its long-term viability is needed, the MMC taskforce is aiming to accelerate the delivery of offsite homes in the UK, meaning more investment will be coming the sector’s way. Increased investment will continue to have a positive impact on MMC, making it more secure route for those in the industry.

Contact us

If you’re considering using MMC in a future development and would like more information, our construction and residential development teams can provide some guidance and support. For further information please contact Ruth Phillips or Louise Ingram.

Our construction team is ranked as a Leading Firm in the Legal 500 2021 edition.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your way out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

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Guides & Advice

Standard construction contracts vs MMC contracts

As modern methods of construction (MMC) continue to grow in popularity, it is vital that developers are aware of the differences between MMC contracts and standard construction agreements. A lack of understanding could lead to an unsuitable contract and disputes later down the line. So, what do developers need to know?

Understanding standard construction contracts

Standard construction contracts often include monthly payment instalments, with developers able to monitor the process of the build and ensure everything is on track. In the event of a delay, developers can halt payments until problems are resolved, and remain safe in the knowledge that if building work must cease, there is still a structure on site to work with.

Although logistical planning is still required within standard construction contracts, there is no need for additional thought around transportation and security to be outlined. As the houses are built on site, those logistics are already catered for.

‘Ownership of materials’ is a key part of any construction contract. Traditionally, ownership is passed from contractor to developer at the time of delivery. However, the process can be less straightforward with MMC, as the structure is delivered in one go, so the passing over of ownership needs to be carefully discussed.

The difference with MMC contracts

When it comes to an MMC contract, a greater awareness of its unique requirements is essential. Due to the build taking place off site, the developer must take into consideration that payments will have to be made for homes that have yet to reach the site. Therefore, it is better to make flexible stage-by-stage payments rather than set monthly instalments.

For example, deposits can be made as the manufacturing process progresses, and then further payments can come once the houses are delivered and constructed on site. If the offsite manufacturing process halts for any reason, developers could be left with nothing to show for the money they’ve paid, meaning risk-reducing measures such as stage-by-stage payments are vital.

The extra logistical aspects of MMC should also be considered. If a home is delivered to the site and it’s found to be damaged, it may have to be transported back to the factory. This would come at an additional cost and present some logistical issues that would not be covered in a traditional contract.

Read more about the benefits and challenges of MMC contracts.

Insuring the build

Currently, there is no insurance that specifically covers MMC builds. Therefore, developers need to ensure that the insurance they do have covers any delays or defects that could arise. If the MMC provider is part of a larger construction company, then the developer may be able to secure a parent company guarantee, which would offer further security.

Extra consideration

Before agreeing to any construction contract, developers should carefully consider the building method to avoid signing an unsuitable contract. MMC is still in its infancy, so seeking the help of a legal professional can help to ensure all aspects of the build are covered within the contract.

Contact us

Our construction and residential development teams can provide guidance and support with any type of construction contract you may have in place, or land transaction you are dealing with. For further information please contact Ruth Phillips or Louise Ingram.

Our construction team is ranked as a Leading Firm in the Legal 500 2021 edition.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your way out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

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Guides & Advice

Your summer guide to recovery and resilience in COVID-19

Your updated summer guide to recovery and resilience

As the UK takes its first steps to ease the current national restrictions and looks forward to an increase in economic activity and recovery it is vital that businesses are prepared in every aspect.

To support businesses and people navigate their way out of the last year and the current national restrictions, unlock their potential and drive for a brighter future, we have updated our guide to recovery and resilience.

From financial considerations, employees, leadership and premises, to supply chain implications, health and safety and protecting your private wealth, our guide highlights what organisations and individuals should consider when moving from survival to recovery to thrive.

Financial considerations

Whether a large corporate with a highly structured board, an SME or an owner-managed business, the financial viability of a business is key to its future success.   However, as the thoughts turn to the roadmap out of lockdown once again, and what the future may look like, businesses that have got through the last year should consider a range of measures to enable them to cope with what is likely be a recession for some industry sectors of the UK. Prudent business owners will be well aware of the predictions and while there will be a bounce back it may take some time for confidence and stability to return from customers and suppliers.

Your employees

Managing a workforce of any size can have its challenges, let alone one that is recovering from a global crisis. Many businesses will have furloughed employees or made the difficult decision to make a number of their workforce redundant. For those businesses that haven’t, it’s highly likely they will still face having to make difficult choices, albeit further down the line.

The knock-on effects of the COVID-19 outbreak have changed the way employers engage with and effectively manage, their employees. The processes, policies and guidelines that worked previously may no longer be fit for purpose for your business, or for your workforce, in the new working landscape. With the rollout of the COVID vaccine facilitating the gradual return of employees back into the physical workplace, this in itself will bring a host of new opportunities and challenges.

Buildings, workspaces and leases

As the world and economy move forward out of lockdown, owners and investors of real estate as well as occupying tenants will have to consider the adjustments they now need to make whilst the restrictions around social distancing continue.
They will need to find new ways of working and inevitably different ways to use their space over the coming months and, at the same time, consider how to manage the cost of premises in these changed circumstances.

Suppliers and supply chain

Many businesses have struggled to comply with their contractual obligations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and may have been forced to rethink their supply chains. A focus in recent years on minimising costs, reducing inventories and maximising asset utilisation has often resulted in a reduced ability to cope with disruption. Whilst the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in modern times, disruption to the global economy is an increasing risk, whether due to political events such as Brexit, US-China trade tensions, or climate change.

Private wealth, family businesses and family

The effects of COVID-19 will undoubtedly have a huge impact on our economy for years to come, with many businesses collapsing under the strain and the level of unemployment set to rise significantly. However, what is less widely reported on is the effect it is having and will continue to have, on families and personal wealth. We’ve already seen that the pandemic has led to an increase in people looking at how they may pass on their wealth to the next generation –and even more so for those that own family businesses.

Compliance – Health and safety

Employers have clear duties under existing health and safety legislation. Obligations to comply with health and safety at work, and to manage and control workplace risks, includes protecting workers and others from the risk of COVID-19 infection in the workplace. That duty is to do everything “reasonably practicable” to manage these risks. The onus of demonstrating that everything reasonably practicable has been done falls to the employer. The best way to demonstrate compliance with the law is usually to follow government and industry-led guidance wherever possible.

Leadership

Strong leadership is a cocktail of authenticity, collaboration, passion, compassion, and a great deal of bravery. We all know the best results occur when we are pushed out of our comfort zones and the ingredients are shaken up, and COVID-19 has done exactly that. With government guidance signalling the UK’s route out of current national restrictions, the time for positive leadership is now. It’s time to take control of what we can and create an environment with enough certainty where people can feel safe enough to flourish centre stage.

We are here to help

The team here at Shakespeare Martineau remain committed to supporting our clients and our communities throughout these challenging times, with

the depth of experience, collaborative ethos and the creative know-how to lead positively to the future.  We are able to offer advice and solutions on a range of subjects for life and business - from employment and general business matters, through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes to issues affecting family businesses, personal wealth planning and family law. Do contact us on 03300 240 333

 

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Blog

Build to rent and retirement living – better together

Challenges faced by the retirement living sector over the last year have highlighted that a change in approach is needed in order to improve its reputation and services. One option is to collaborate with the ‘build to rent’ market, creating a new type of community that can benefit both young and old.

What is build to rent?

Simply speaking, a build to rent property is a private, residential property that has been built and designed specifically for the rental market. These homes are typically owned and managed by a company, rather than a private landlord, and are based in dedicated complexes that come with a variety of perks such as a concierge service and leisure facilities.

Finding common ground

Although aimed at different target audiences, both the build to rent and retirement living sectors have relatively similar goals and offerings. Aiming to provide high-quality housing that people aspire to live in, there may be lessons that each can learn from the other.

It is not uncommon for both build to rent and retirement living complexes to provide a range of facilities and leisure offerings to residents, from gyms and swimming pools to cinemas and games rooms. By providing access to onsite care and health facilities, as well as leisure facilities, build to rent complexes could open themselves up to a wider, multi-generational demographic of residents with inclusivity at the core.

Building a community

The benefits of a multi-generational approach are clear for residents. Older people often gain a new lease of life when interacting with those younger than them, and a mixed-generation complex will facilitate those interactions.

Fostering a sense of energy amongst residents, those that have retired will want to keep up rather than slow down. However, any healthcare needs can still be met, with the same high-quality care services they’d receive in a traditional retirement home setting provided, alongside other amenities such as security or concierge services which can make life more secure and easier.

By building a complex that caters to all generations, developers can foster a diverse community, ultimately benefiting residents of any age.

Commercial advantages

There are also a number of commercial benefits to the collaboration of the two sectors. These are:

  • Potential for growth – by catering to more people, there is a higher likelihood of financial growth and income security.
  • Streamlined planning – having a multi-generational community means developers don’t have to ask for two separate planning permissions (one for traditional renting and one for retirement housing).
  • More accessible design – by thinking beyond a specific target audience, developers can attract more people through improved inclusivity and, as a result, achieve longer-lasting desirability. Examples of accessible design include wider door frames, ramps and lifts.

With both sectors ultimately having the same goal, build to rent and retirement living developers should look at how they can more closely collaborate in future. From direct financial gains to building a thriving and inclusive community, the two sectors can create homes that everyone wants to live in if they work together.

Download and watch our free webinar, where we explore the fundamental similarities and challenges across the build to rent and retirement living both markets.

We’re here to help

If you’re planning a new development or looking to develop an existing complex, our dedicated later living team can support you - contact Louise Drew for guidance and advice.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your way out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

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Blog

Building a renewable future for housing

COP 26

With COP26 very nearly upon us - we’ve taken the opportunity to republish some of the content we produced earlier this year.

Climate change and the UK, and the world’s response to it, is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Bringing together global powerhouses to agree to collaborate on the four main goals of COP26 has never been more important.

Our content provides food for thought, challenges the government’s rhetoric and provides opportunities for practical action.

Members of our energy team will be at COP26 and we look forward to catching up with clients and contacts who also plan to be there. Drop us a line and let’s see if we can connect.

To reach the UK’s ambitious target of becoming net zero by 2050, renewables must become an integral part of housebuilding efforts.

Green housing has been put in the spotlight by the Energy White Paper, published in December 2020, and housebuilders will have to find alternative energy sources quickly to meet the country’s environmental goals. For example, the Future Homes Standard requires new homes to be built without fossil fuel heating by 2025, leaving developers with little time to find viable alternatives.

Past mistakes

Eco upgrades were rolled out on a home-by-home basis in the past, with solar panels and small wind turbines incorporated into new houses. However, many of these systems were owned by energy companies making the most of government subsidies on offer at the time and, once they ran out, many homeowners faced complications with mortgages and resale.

Although initially appealing, properties where panels were installed and owned by the residents themselves were only a short-lived success, as homeowners became unable to keep up with maintenance costs. Lacking long-term viability, this approach failed to provide the level of change needed.

Adopting a broader approach

By considering developments as a collective, and introducing green energy sources that benefit all residents, a more permanent solution could be found. For example:

  • Anaerobic digestion plants – Heating is the primary concern for housebuilders at present, so biomass boilers, heat recovery and green gas are all major focuses. One source of green gas is anaerobic digestion plants, which can be built on site. Non-disruptive and able to use the existing gas infrastructure network, these plants use micro-organisms to break down feedstock into clean gas. Food waste from residents could also be used as part of the process.
  • Solar farms – By making use of readily available solar technology, entire developments can benefit from cleanly generated electricity. Collaborating with private developers would remove the need for homeowners to maintain the solar panels themselves, making these farms a longer-term prospect than individual properties supporting their own panels.
  • Vehicle to grid (V2G) charging infrastructure - Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity and new homes will have to be built with charging points installed to reflect this. This charging infrastructure can also be used to power homes, via V2G, enabling people save money by storing energy in their EV batteries and discharging it back into their homes and the national grid during peak times.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, but all will have to overcome challenges regarding implementation and infrastructure. Planning hurdles will also have to be jumped, with many local authorities having particular requirements for public open space and housing. Compromises will have to be made if the UK is to achieve its net zero goals.

Government support

Largescale projects, such as offshore wind farms, are the government’s priority at present. However, the smaller-scale subsidies that have been offered in the past could be expanded to include entire developments. Doing this could lead to both housebuilders and local authorities being encouraged to implement more green facilities.

We’re here to help

Eco-friendly choices are becoming increasingly important to the UK’s population, and housebuilders should be working to meet these new needs. In order to achieve environmental targets, changes will have to be made soon rather than later.

For further information, contact Peter Dilks or Neil Gosling.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your way out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

SHMA® ON DEMAND

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Deal

98 homes get the go-ahead following land acquisition in Derbyshire

Residential developer Forge New Homes has signed on the dotted line for a seven-acre site in Pilsley, with the help of Midlands law firm Shakespeare Martineau.

Having achieved planning permission to develop a mixture of bungalows, two, three and four bedroom homes for sale and two and three bedroom homes for shared ownership and affordable rent, the developer has now completed the acquisition of the North East Derbyshire site.

This will be the first development for Forge New Homes, which operates in the Sheffield City Region and is backed by five leading housing associations: Great Places Housing Group, Yorkshire Housing, Together Housing Group, South Yorkshire Housing Association and The Guinness Partnership.

Jenny Walker, legal director and land acquisition specialist at Shakespeare Martineau led the deal, she said: “We are delighted to have worked with Forge New Homes on its first land acquisition and look forward to seeing the housing development take shape.

“New build plots are hugely popular and always have been; the stamp duty holiday caused a surge in activity with reservation levels being the same or higher as compared with previous years. We are really pleased to see that there is no indication that the market for new build plots is slowing down despite the combination of the SDLT holiday tapering off and the commencement of the increased restrictions on eligibility to the help to buy scheme. The new build market continues to be a robust market with confidence levels remaining high.

The site that was previously unused farm land and required a tight turn-around on the exchange of contracts to meet planning permission deadlines.

Andy Beattie, project director at Forge New Homes said: “We are thrilled to have reached this stage of our development plans and take positive steps towards building much needed, high-quality family homes in the area.

“It’s been a challenging 12 months and a full team effort to get us to this stage, a huge thanks to our partners, designers and Shakespeare Martineau team.

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “We're very pleased to see Forge New Homes starting work on this development, and it's great to be working with our partners to increase the local supply of affordable homes. The 30 homes we're acquiring for affordable rent and shared ownership will be lovely places to live.

Works are expected to commence in May 2021, with properties placed on the market in the Autumn.

Contact us

For further information please contact Jenny Walker or another member of the residential development team.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

How can we help?

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Guides & Advice

National Design Code: What is ‘beautiful’?

With new priorities for both the government and homeowners triggered by the pandemic, the planning sector has had to adapt. To meet these changes, the government has issued a 10-point plan to improve living standards, named the National Design Code. This forms part of the Planning Practice Guidance. It aims to help developers reach higher liveability standards and create ‘beautiful’ homes in thriving communities.

The Design Guide illustrates how well designed places that are beautiful, greener, enduring and successful can be achieved in practice. However, what does ‘beautiful’ really mean, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this new code?

What is the National Design Code?

The National Design Code outlines 10 points for developers to follow when designing a home. The two main focuses are quality and sustainable building. However, it also highlights the need to keep properties in tune with local communities as well as create homes that meet peoples’ evolving needs.

Each of the 10 principles shows what the government’s goals are for properties in the coming years. They are:

 

  • Lifespan – Creating homes that are made to last.
  • Context – Enhancing the location and taking advantage of local characteristics.
  • Identity – Making every home attractive and distinctive.
  • Built form – Considering surroundings to create a coherent development.
  • Movement – Making accessibility a key feature.
  • Nature – Enhancing nature and green spaces.
  • Public spaces – Creating a place with the community at its heart, offering a range of social areas.
  • Uses – Mixed use of the land.
  • Homes and building – Building for tomorrow, with functionality and sustainability in mind.
  • Resources – Using resources efficiently to maximise their uses.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

The ambitious framework discusses ‘beautiful’ places. Beauty is, of course,  a subjective quality. However, according to the government’s chief architect, a beautiful home will be one that perfectly addresses the 10-points outlined.

Beauty may be subjective, but quality is not. Perhaps using the Code as a base to design on will be the best use of the framework, giving projects direction without forcing designers to lose their flair.

What are the pros and cons?

The major pros of the proposed National Design Code include the emphasis on the role that local authorities and communities play in the design of places, and the clear framework that it provides to house designers.

On the other hand, the emphasis on local culture could be a difficult goal to achieve. Councils will have varying aspects they would like to focus on and different resources available, so it may be a challenge for developers to reach a finalised plan that ticks every box.

There’s also the possibility that the framework could force developers to ‘design by numbers’, creating housing developments with little personality.

Although the National Design Code provides developers with a great foundation, it’s important for designers to bear in mind that ‘beauty’ is subjective. However, by building on the 10 points and working closely with local authorities, developers will be able to achieve the results desired by both the government and homeowners.

Watch our free webinar, with an expert guest panel, on whether the proposed changes will make a positive impact.

Contact us

For any further information contact Richard Cooke or David Pendle in our dedicated planning consultancy team, Marrons Planning.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your business out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

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Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

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Blog

Leasehold reforms: the change the system needs?

  • In recent years a level of controversy has surrounded the leasehold system, with some people feeling they have been cheated out of their money. As a result, a number of reforms have been proposed, including lengthening lease terms to 990 years and removing ground rent with the new leasehold changes.

However, although welcome news for leaseholders, landlords could be left with a considerable drop in their income.

 

What is leasehold?

Initially created in 1925, leasehold enables landowners (freeholders) to make money off their land by leasing out the properties on it to those seeking a home. A contractual relationship is entered into between the freeholder and the leaseholder, with the former operating, managing and maintaining the building for a fee. Once the lease term expires, the property is returned to the freeholder, allowing them to lease it out again. At least, this was the original intention.

 

What issues have arisen?

  • Lease term length – Typical lease terms have increased from 99 years to 125 years recently, however, this is still relatively short. High street lenders become hesitant to lend once the lease reaches 80 years or less and therefore, the lease must be extended. A statutory valuation is carried out to assess the ‘marriage value’ payable to the landlord, which is a form of compensation, due to the freeholder not regaining their asset. This can be a considerable amount of money that the leaseholder did not factor in when they first bought the property.
  • Leasehold houses – Although the leasehold system suits apartments best, some house builders have recently started to offer leasehold houses. There is no justifiable reason for this, due to the leaseholder maintaining their own property. If leasehold terms were being granted at 999 years, then this may provide some justification, but as this isn’t usually the case it seems these landowners are only seeking profit from inevitable lease extensions.
  • Multiplying ground rents – A mechanism has always existed that allows freeholders to review ground rents. However, this has led to them doubling or even tripling in some cases, catching leaseholders by surprise and often reaching unaffordable levels.

 

What are the proposed leasehold reforms?

The leasehold reforms proposed by the government aim to tackle these issues head on, with standard 990-year lease terms removing the need for extensions, and the removal of ground rents. Consequently, this means there will be no nasty surprises for leaseholders.

The reforms include the following changes:

 

  • The leasehold law changes will give leaseholders the right to extend their lease for 990 years.
  • The leasehold law changes could see households save tens of thousands of pounds.
  • The elderly are protected by the leasehold law changes. Ground rents can be reduced to zero for all new retirement properties.

 

What impact will the leasehold reforms have?

There is no real downside to the leasehold reforms, but they will mean that leasehold will no longer be a way for landowners to generate income from their land and property.

Land will essentially be lost to the freeholder once it is sold, and there will be no compensation to make up for this. As a result, freeholders may try to sell their properties at a higher price to balance out the loss in revenue. Lenders should stop this from happening by valuing properties at lower prices, however, this could lead to people being unable to get a mortgage, in turn causing the market to stagnate.

In short, the leasehold system is not a broken one, it merely relies on landlords using it as intended. Instead of punishing those that use it correctly, perhaps the focus should be put on stopping rogue landlords from taking advantage of their leaseholders.

No matter the consequences, these leasehold reforms will make leasehold a much more permanent way to own property, moving the system far away from its original intentions.

 

We’re here to help

To find out more about how the proposed leasehold reforms could affect you, contact Louise Drew.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your way out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

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News

Shakespeare Martineau advises on garden city joint venture

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