While the UK housing market is showing signs of growth, supply levels are still only half that of household formation, which is increasing by an average of 243,000 a year. Against this backdrop, Crest Nicholson has increased its rate of production by 15%, reaching 2,172 total housing completions in 2013 and achieving average sales rates that are 34% higher than last year. However, increasing supply is only one part of the picture. As technical requirements and regulations become ever more stringent, housebuilders need to respond to numerous external challenges, from the impact of localism to zero carbon policy, as well as demonstrate product innovation and high standards of corporate governance. Investing in employees to make sure that the industry has the right skills to facilitate this future delivery is a core part of this, and Crest Nicholson is committed to developing jobs and skills at every level.
These are all areas that Crest Nicholson has embedded within its business model, driving value through innovation, partnerships and high-quality design, and balancing social, environmental and economic sustainability while still keeping customers at the heart of the business. With an average 52 operational sites around the UK, the Sustainability Review includes numerous case studies to illustrate the tangible results and positive impact Crest Nicholson has had in the communities where it operates. Key achievements include:
• One quarter of new homes were designed to perform 25% better on carbon emissions than current regulations demand.
• 42% of all Crest Nicholson’s new homes use renewable or low carbon energy sources.
• Road transport emissions generated directly by households accounted for 9% of the UK’s carbon footprint in 2011. In response, over a third of Crest Nicholson’s new homes feature sustainable transport initiatives, 94% are within 1,500m of a bus stop and two thirds have safe cycle storage.
• The average energy rating (SAP) of all homes in the UK is 57/100, or 81/100 for new builds. Crest Nicholson’s homes outperform this, with an SAP rating of 84/100.
• Crest Nicholson diverts 95% of its construction waste from landfill, dramatically minimising waste from operations.
• The company has also achieved a 16% reduction in its own carbon emissions since 2007, and aims to cut energy and water consumption by 5% year on year.
• Crest Nicholson is committed to supporting First Time Buyers and unlocking the market for many others; 571 new home purchases were facilitated through government backed incentive schemes.
• Crest Nicholson is also committed to talent development and investing in people. In 2013 it created 61 new direct jobs, up 11% increase on the previous year.
• The Group already employs 60 apprentices, representing over 10% of its entire workforce and a 33% increase on the last financial year. The target is to recruit a further 20 apprentices by the end of 2014.
• Giving back to the community in which it operates is a priority, and in the last year Crest Nicholson employees raised a total of £178,000 for various charity initiatives. This includes the children’s charity Variety, for whom the company has raised more than £460,652 since first pledging its support in 2005.
Julia Plaskett, Sustainability Executive at Crest Nicholson, commented: “Understanding housing needs and the changing fundamentals of the market is essential, but of course the success of our business model depends on so much more. Customer-led design and sustainability in the planning and delivery of schemes is at the heart of everything we do, and it is essential that we monitor and benchmark our progress to ensure that we are constantly evolving, innovating and pushing the boundaries of best practice. Our 10-year framework is integral to this, and we will be reporting regularly on our progress over the coming years.”
To download a copy of either the full or summary report, please visit www.crestnicholson.com/sustainability/reports.