Innovation

Research and innovation are key to delivering high-quality, beautifully designed and efficient homes to our customers.

To support the implementation of our business strategy, we continue to research and explore emerging longer term challenges and opportunities for Crest Nicholson in a number of areas, including fostering innovation within our business, supply chain, and the wider UK housebuilding industry.

Off-Site Manufacturing

We are working closely with key supply chain partners to explore and adopt elements of off-site manufacturing into our construction processes. Off-site manufacturing can help us address a number of issues, including the impact of weather on our build programme, delivering materials to site just-in-time, and reducing waste through the use of more standardised components. The results should be a safer site, faster build times and improved customer service.

We have also participated in the Advanced Industrialised Methods for Construction of Homes (AIMCh). This consortium-led project (with 3 participating housebuilders) conducted a feasibility study into how a more industrialised process might work for the UK housebuilding industry. Our participation in AIMCh has helped us to analyse a range of construction methods – from off-site to more traditional – and how the market would receive them.

Building Performance & Customer Occupancy Evaluation

This research programme helps us to better understand how our homes perform once they are built and lived in.

Our Building Performance & Post-Occupancy Evaluation programmes began over ten years ago with our One Brighton development in 2006. This was the first development in the UK to be built under the principles of One Planet Living. Read more about what we learned from One Brighton in Our Documents.

This was followed by three research projects funded by Innovate UK between 2010 and 2014: 

    • Avante development in Coxheath in 2010
    • Centenary Quay, Woolston, between 2012 and 2014
    • AIMC4 between 2011 and 2014.
    You can read more about our programmes of research in the case studies below.

     

    To find out more about how we are driving innovation in Crest Nicholson, read our Integrated Report.

    AIMC4

    Low Carbon Homes

    AIMC4 was a unique partnership created to research, develop and pioneer the cost-effective volume production of the low carbon homes for the future.

    Download PDF
In briefLearning from Centenary Quay, Woolston
Working with our supply chain to benefit customers

Our two-year research programme at Centenary Quay, Woolston, looked in detail at how well the homes we built and the low-carbon Combined Heat and Power (CHP) district heating system performed for our customers. The project involved five key aspects:

    • An in-depth analysis of the homes’ as-built performance against the design intent.
    • A year-long monitoring of occupants’ use of the homes, which recorded energy and water consumption, as well as indoor air quality. This was combined with qualitative feedback gathered through interviews with the occupiers.
    • A development-wide survey looking at the design, environmental features, local amenities, parking, and public transportation.
    • A detailed analysis of the performance of the district heating system in collaboration with E.on, the energy supplier.

    Our research partners at UCL Energy Institute brought together the quantitative and qualitative data to tell us an interesting and insightful story about how well Centenary Quay has delivered its ambition of being a high-quality, low-carbon development. The results pointed to some opportunities across our design, commissioning, build, and customer communications to improve our performance. For example, researchers at UCL, who observed three hand-overs of new homes to customers at Centenary Quay, identified some great opportunities where we could better explain to customers how to use their home to keep their energy bills down. These opportunities are being reviewed, including clearer messages in the home owners’ guides and creating bite-size videos to explain how  different systems work in the homes that customers can refer back to at their leisure.

    The full results from this research were published by Innovate UK in 2015.

    Crest Nicholson is undertaking a small piece of ongoing research at one home in Centenary Quay over the course of 2016 to study, in greater depth, the Mechanical Extract Ventilation systems.

Meeting Code 5
Realising potential with the Ministry of Defence

Through involvement in the AIMC4 consortium, we have brought a great deal of learning and innovative thinking to our design of low carbon homes and our construction methods. Building on the success of AIMC4, we looked at how we could achieve even higher levels of carbon reduction in our new homes. We took on the challenge of designing and building our first Code for Sustainable Homes, level 5 home at Sovereign Gate, Cheshunt – a significant milestone for the Group. The house is designed not to emit any carbon through a combination of highly efficient building fabric and renewable energy sources. This home has now been built and is being happily occupied by the customers.


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