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Mitchams Park

Research and Innovation

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

Regulatory standards provide a minimum baseline for homes in the UK. However, to be successful in delivering beautifully designed homes that are comfortable, affordable and an enjoyable place to live whilst also meeting the standards requires research, innovation and partnership.

Crest Nicholson has several projects driving research and innovation in our business.

One is our recently launched Future Home project. This project explores design, components and materials that will build adaptive and spacious homes while also delivering cost, materials and process efficiencies to the business. To find out more about the future Home project, read our Integrated Report.

Another is our Building Performance & Post-occupancy Evaluation programme. This research programme helps us to better understand how our homes perform once they are built and lived in.

Over the past ten years, we have conducted four Building Performance & Post-Occupancy Evaluation programmes. This began with our One Brighton development in 2006, 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.


    Most recently we launched AIMCh (Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes), building on the innovations delivered through AIMC4.

    Part of the work of AIMCh is to challenge the status-quo in building low-carbon homes by working to understand the transformations needed in the industry to create highly efficient, low-carbon quality-built homes that are compliant and are cost-efficient to build. This will be followed by partnering with the supply chain to put our findings to the test. Our own work to better partner and engage with our supply chain is helping to inform this programme.


    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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