The nature of our work means we will always make an impact on the local area. However, through our focus on sustainability, we ensure that this is a positive impact, with a careful consideration of six key areas. We engage with the needs of the local community, and our customers who will eventually join this community; we protect the health and safety of our colleagues, as well as their development within the Group; and we seek productive relationships and innovative technologies that ensure our houses and our means for building them last sustainably into the future.
At Inland Homes we are committed to building more than just homes - we strive to create developments that engage and reflect the local community. During the research and planning phase for each development we undertake consultations with the community, discussing the site and its surrounding environment with local groups and town councils. The opinions and requests of both the neighbourhood residents and local government bodies are collected and considered for the brief that the designers and architects base their plans upon. This consultation process means that we can develop the site in a way that best reflects the different needs of the local community.
As well as building a development that will continue to serve the needs of local residents into the future, we are also keen to invest in the community through our engagement with charities, for example sponsoring community sports teams and mini-buses for local schools.
It is of paramount importance to Inland Homes to deliver a high quality service to our customers, from the earliest stages of planning, to after the build is complete.
Our house designs are constantly evolving, based upon feedback from customers on previous projects and our ever growing expertise. We design our developments to meet our customers' needs beyond that of housing, with, for example, outside spaces, children's play areas and gyms. Within the homes, we offer a choice of interior design options to those who purchase our properties in advance of completion.
We manage the handover process, ensuring that the quality of the build meets our stringent standards, and providing introductory home tours for new residents as well as moving in packs with all relevant information. We also co-ordinate aftercare with the contractors, manage feedback and respond to any customer service issues through a centralised system.
Health and safety
It is extremely important to Inland Homes to maintain the highest standard of Health and Safety practices, both with our own employees, and with all contractors involved in our projects. We have rigorous standards which we enforce to ensure safe working practices at all of our sites. Employees have received Health and Safety training, and we require all external contractors who enter our sites to carry a CSCS card at all times to indicate that they have also undergone the necessary training.
We have a strong network of Health and Safety advisers. Additionally, each site is appointed a Construction, Design and Management co-ordinator, who oversees Health and Safety on behalf of Inland Homes. They prepare a comprehensive Health and Safety plan before construction starts, and this is assessed alongside the contractor's Health and Safety and risk plans, before a contract is issued. Once work has commenced on site, we carry out regular Health and Safety audits, as well as assessing monthly reports provided by the contractors.
Inland Homes have relationships with a number of contractors who specialise in different types of build. It is essential to select the correct contractor, both to ensure a high quality result, and to draw on their experience and expertise during the process. There is a dialogue with the contractors throughout the planning and building stages, and we consider suggestions on alternative materials or methods for construction. Using these suggestions has led to saving money and time on several projects, benefiting both us and our contractors, and to discovering new techniques that we may return to in future projects. This co-operation leads to ongoing relationships, which we seek to ensure are mutually beneficial. Our collaborative approach delivers high quality buildings.
As well as developing long term relationships with our contractors, to further our sustainable supply chain we consider the sustainability of materials used on our sites. We clearly specify which materials we permit on our sites, and strive to use sustainable and locally sourced products where possible, as well as experimenting with new sustainable materials.
Planning was gained for 41 units on Vale Road in Bushey, Hertfordshire.
At Inland Homes we constantly seek innovative materials and methods to improve the environmental performance of our properties. We follow each development in legislation and policy that guides sustainability in home building, and ensure that our projects are at the forefront of environmental sustainability.
We include many features in our buildings to minimise their environmental impact, such as rainwater harvesting. We design our buildings to perform throughout the year, with insulation and air-flow optimisation to aid summer cooling as well as retaining warmth in winter. We also seek environmentally friendly materials, both using locally sourced supplies where possible, and experimenting with innovative new technology such as the Durisol block, a building block made of reclaimed softwood, bound with concrete. Comprising of more than 90% recycled material, and generating no waste during manufacture, the block is not only environmentally friendly in production, but also as a feature in homes due to its insulating properties.
Our philosophy of employment is to attract and cultivate raw talent, and encourage people to reach their full potential by offering them opportunities to grow within our open and entrepreneurial culture. We support all of our employees in attending conferences and pursuing qualifications that assist their professional development. Our number of employees has doubled in the last two years to 28, with growth in all departments, supporting our move into housebuilding. We plan to continue measured expansion in the future to complement our strategy, particularly in the establishment of a strategic land department.
As we undertake much of our work through outsourcing, we are also reliant on the continued development of skilled workers outside of the Group. In response to the shortage of skilled labourers, we are involved in initiatives to train the next generation of workers. In some contracts we specify that our contractors must employ apprentices from the local areas. We are setting up a mechanism to connect to local colleges, so that the students can gain the necessary practical experience on our sites to kickstart their careers.
Strategic Report is approved by order of the Board
15 October 2014
A. Inland Homes plc's new Head Office
B. Peter Kimber – Site Service Manager
C. Tom Cuff – Group Legal Director
D. Keren Birdseye – Architectural Assistant
E. Rob Williams – Assistant Accountant
F. Kathy Hoare – Sales Co-Ordinator
G. John Embleton & Ricky Hayes – DGV site liaison
H. Nikki McCue – Office Administrator
I. Linda Smith – Assistant Accountant
J. Sue Fenton – Office Manager
K. Gary Magee – Planning Assistant
L. Gordon Pearce – Customer Services Manager
M. James Gallagher – Project Manager
N. Olie Pearcy – Trainee Land Buyer