Avant Homes

Avant secures three new development opportunities worth £80m

David Knight, Avant Homes Scotland managing director

Stirling-based housebuilder Avant Homes Scotland has secured three new development opportunities in the past 15 months, which will create up to 180 sales, construction and sub-contractor jobs in the region.

With a combined value of £80 million, the three new sites in Cairneyhill, Gartcosh and Bishopton will provide for a further 299 homes to be built by the company throughout the region.

The new sites in Scotland will enable Avant Homes to continue accelerating toward its target of becoming a £500m turnover, 2,000-unit business across its operations in central Scotland, north east England, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Recent research by construction industry intelligence provider Glenigan showed that Avant Homes was one of only three UK housebuilders consistently applying for sites with volumes exceeding 150 units during 2017.

Avant Homes Scotland managing director, David Knight, said: “We are on a fast-moving trajectory and our momentum can only be maintained by securing new sites in the right locations and for the best price.

“Our land buying team in Scotland has been outstanding over the past 15 months in finding excellent development opportunities and this has provided the platform for continued sustainable, profitable growth.

“The fact that as a group we were one of only three UK housebuilders regularly applying for sites with more than 150 units during last year is important. It shows both our ambition and the continued growing demand for our product throughout Scotland and our operations.”

The news follows Avant Homes’ announcement in August last year that it secured an enhanced £200m facility from HSBC, RBS, Santander and Bank of Ireland to significantly increase the housebuilder’s land acquisitions over the next 12-month period.

For the financial year to 30 April 2017, Avant Homes posted both record revenue and operating profit numbers. Revenues increased 45% year-on-year to £369m, whilst operating profits rose 107% to £45m. These were delivered having achieved 1,636 total completions, up 35% compared with the prior year.

This performance led to Avant Homes being named as the 46th fastest growing private mid-market company in The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league tables.

Avant Homes purchases Armadale site for £21m development

David Knight

Stirling-based homebuilder Avant Homes has been granted planning permission to build 110 new homes at a £21 million development in Armadale, West Lothian.

Avant Homes acquired the 9.86 acre site, which is located off the A89 in the central belt less than 25 miles from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, in partnership with Robertson Partnerships.

The properties to be built by Avant Homes will be a mixture of three and four-bedroom detached houses.

Earthworks are due to start on the development immediately, with the first homes ready for occupation in 2018.

Avant Homes Scotland managing director, David Knight, said: “Armadale and the central belt are hugely popular areas for homebuyers and we are committed to meeting demand for much-needed homes here and across Scotland. Last year our homes were more popular than ever and, by providing our new interior specification and exclusive designs such as the Malton, I’m sure we will see high interest once construction begins.”

The former mining town of Armadale boasts a strong community and a rich history as one of Scotland’s premier brickworks.

Avant Homes’ development will be built on a greenfield site previously used for farming, after the land was allocated for development by West Lothian Council. The development is partnership with Robertson Homes, which will build 27 affordable homes on behalf of developers Places for People.

Based in Stirling, Avant Homes Scotland is an operating company of the Avant Homes group, one of the leading private developers of residential property in the UK. The homebuilder currently has 12 developments in its portfolio stretching from Pitdinnie Grange in Cairneyhill to The Dukes in Ferniegair.

For the financial year to 30 April 2017, Avant Homes posted both record revenue and operating profit numbers. Revenues increased 45% year-on-year to £369m, whilst operating profits rose 107% to £45m. These were delivered having achieved 1,636 total completions, up 35% compared with the prior year.

This performance led to Avant Homes being named as the 46th fastest growing private mid-market company in The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league tables.

Avant Homes employs over 600 people and has four regional offices in Scotland, the north east of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Avant Homes renews nationally exclusive contract with repair and finishing specialist

Richard Moreton, national account manager at Plastic Surgeon

A specialist finishing and repair firm has secured an extended agreement to continue to provide its services to Avant Homes on an exclusive, national basis.

Plastic Surgeon initially signed an agreement with Avant Homes last year and this has now been extended until 2019, with the exclusivity of the agreement meaning only Plastic Surgeon’s repair specialists are called into work on Avant Homes’ housebuilding projects. The repairs are usually required ahead of the handover period, when homes need to be to the Avant Gold Mark Standard.

Avant Homes sets a high standard for the quality of its projects with a strong emphasis on corporate social responsibility. Plastic Surgeon’s skills ensure that newly built properties are in the perfect condition for Avant Homes to handover to their new owners, while also making huge environmental savings on waste going to landfill due to making a repair over replacement where possible.

Martin Sanwell, procurement director of Avant Homes, said of Plastic Surgeon: “Responsibility plays a huge part in our ethos as a business. The specialist services offered by Plastic Surgeon, helps to ensure we do our bit for the environment, whilst also ensuring that the finish of each property is to the Avant Gold Mark standard. Ordinarily, you’d think an item would need replacing, which inevitably ends up in landfill. But Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers are able to make extremely impressive repairs that stops this happening.”

He added: “What’s particularly useful to us is the reporting system that Plastic Surgeon uses. We’re able to drill down and determine what type of repairs are required and determine a pattern, which helps to work on ways to stop these repairs being needed in the first place, while also casting a light on just how much waste is being saved by the firm’s services. We’re extremely pleased to have extended our contract with them.”

Plastic Surgeon, which operates throughout the UK, provides surface repair to a range of industries, including housebuilding, construction, cruise, facilities management, manufacturing and retail, amongst others, using its specialist skills to fix cosmetic damage caused during the course of construction projects, by accidental damage or through general wear and tear.

Richard Moreton, national account manager at Plastic Surgeon, said: “We’re delighted to have extended our agreement with Avant Homes. The firm is a noted, high-end housebuilder and we’re proud to be partnered with them. By extending the agreement they’re demonstrating the value they place on our specialist services.”

He added: “With Avant taking CSR very seriously, the landfill savings our repairs offer – not to mention the quality of the work we do – helps to ensure the firm meets its high targets, both in terms of the environment and the quality of its house builds. We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver for them on site, and helping them to achieve these targets.”

Avant Homes secures planning permission for £35.2m Bishopton site

David Knight, Avant Homes Scotland managing director

Stirling-based homebuilder Avant Homes has been granted planning permission to build 121 new homes for a £35.2 million development in Dargavel Village in Bishopton, Renfrewshire.

Avant Homes acquired an 11.5-acre site, which is located off Slateford Road at the location of the former Royal Ordnance Factory and sits 12 miles west of Glasgow. Dargavel Village is part of a major transformational project in Bishopton led by BAE Systems.

The properties to be built by Avant Homes will be a mixture of innovatively designed homes including three-bedroom semi-detached and detached and four and five-bedroom detached houses, all complete with the developer’s new interior specification.

Construction is due to start on the development immediately, with the first homes ready for occupation in 2018.

Avant Homes Scotland managing director, David Knight, said: “We are committed to continued investment in Scotland and the central belt is a key focus for us. The last 12 months have seen high demand for our product here and our Dargavel Village development in Bishopton demonstrates our dedication to providing much-needed homes in the area. The site is important historically and we’re looking forward to giving it a rich future for homebuyers.”

The history of the site dates back to the 16th century, when the Grade B listed Dargavel House was built by the Maxwell family. From World War One, the site was home to a munitions factory run by the Ministry of Defence and then BAE Systems, until manufacturing ceased in 2001.

Jon Gettinby, Bishopton programme manager for BAE Systems, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Avant Homes to Dargavel Village. Working closely with all of our development partners, such as Avant Homes, is key to achieving our vision for Dargavel Village to be an aspirational place to live.”

Avant Homes Scotland is an operating company of the Avant Homes group. The homebuilder currently has 12 developments in its portfolio stretching from Pitdinnie Grange in Cairneyhill to The Dukes in Ferniegair.

For the financial year to 30 April 2017, Avant Homes posted both record revenue and operating profit numbers. Revenues increased 45% year-on-year to £369m, whilst operating profits rose 107% to £45m. These were delivered having achieved 1,636 total completions, up 35% compared with the prior year.

Avant to build 78 new homes at £20m development in Gartcosh

David Knight

David Knight

Construction has begun on a new homes development in Gartcosh, North Lanarkshire by housebuilder Avant Homes.

The firm has purchased a seven acre site on Lochend Road where it will build 78 homes.

The £20 million development will comprise a collection of three and four-bedroom semi-detached and detached homes. The first homes will be ready for occupation in spring 2018 with the overall build programme expected to be complete by 2020.

The development will create a significant number of construction and sales jobs over the next three years. Site clearance and ground remodelling works have been undertaken with construction of the first plots now underway.

AvantD11591_RET_TheWestbury.tifAs well as providing much-needed, high quality family properties, Avant Homes will contribute approximately £620,000 towards the improvement of local amenities education provision, and transport infrastructure in the area.

Avant Homes Scotland managing director, David Knight, said: “This will be the sixth new development we have opened in 2017, taking our current portfolio in Scotland to 12 sites.

“Gartcosh is a highly desirable village location making it hugely popular with home buyers. The development will offer exceptional quality and design along with our newly launched specification, which we have invested a huge amount of time and energy in.

“By daring to be different in our approach and choices made, we have achieved innovative and highly effective ways of solving many of the old design problems that new homes have. Kitchens, bathrooms, living spaces and all fixtures and fittings in all of our house designs have been carefully considered to ensure that buyers can purchase homes that deliver a lifestyle experience unlike any other.”

Avant Homes Scotland currently has 12 developments stretching from Cairneyhill down to Glasgow and across the central belt to Dunbar.

Avant Homes to broaden product range and expand geographic footprint

Colin Lewis

Colin Lewis

Avant Homes has unveiled announces a series of strategic initiatives aimed at driving its annual turnover beyond the £500 million mark.

The housebuilder, which has sites across the Central Belt and an office in Stirling, is extending its geographic footprint and bringing forward nine new house styles.

The product range expansion ranges from 630 sq ft two-bedroom homes up to 1,140 sq ft four-bedroom homes.

Avant said the broadening of the range will significantly expand its potential customer base by offering a wider selection of size and price options to prospective buyers and help it reach 2,000 completions per year.

The group has also confirmed that it will open a fifth operating region to extend its geographic footprint in the north of England and Scotland, using its knowledge of existing markets to leverage this significant expansion opportunity.

The news comes after the company recently secured a £200m bank facility and appointed a new construction director for Scotland and follows the announcement of record results for its 2017 financial year, during which revenue increased 45% to £369m and operating profits rose 107% to £45m.

Since then, the Group has delivered a strong forward sales position for its 2018 financial year, with 1,220 home sales and £292m of revenue already secured only four months into the year.

This strong trading momentum has further contributed to the accelerated growth of Avant’s four existing regions, in line with management intentions.

Colin Lewis, chief executive of Avant Homes, said: “The exciting extension to our product range we have launched today speaks to our growth ambitions and ongoing mission to make our aspirational product available to more customers in our core northern UK markets. I was inspired by the Housing Market Intelligence Conference in 2015 which highlighted the market need for more attainable homes. We have been developing this extension to our product range across the last two years with the key aim of offering a compelling mixture of leading edge design and high specification at a price point which would make an Avant home available to more people. While average property sales volumes are continuing their recovery in Avant’s regions, these are still c.40% below their 2007 highs.

“Our exciting new 2017 design specification reflects the latest retail trends, giving our customers the home they want, not the product housebuilders say they should have. The overwhelming customer response we have received gives us confidence that the roll out of this specification across all our sites will support the continued ramp up of our growth plans.

“After an outstanding performance last year, we are delighted to have continued this strong trading over the past four months. Building on this momentum, we look ahead with confidence and will continue to scale up our four operating regions and open a fifth region to further our expansion in due course.”

Avant Homes announces £200m credit facility and new Scottish construction director

Colin Lewis

Colin Lewis

Avant Homes is to speed up its expansion plans after securing a £200 million bank facility and appointing a new construction director for Scotland.

The housebuilder, which has its Scottish head office in Stirling, said the revolving credit facility with lenders HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Bank of Ireland will enable it to “significantly” increase new land acquisitions in the Central Belt, north east England, Yorkshire, and the Midlands, as it looks to become a £500m-turnover, 2,000-unit developer.

Avant said it has 12 sites in Scotland, rising to an “optimum” of 15 to 20 in the next 12 to 24 months, and has already earmarked sites to buy in Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield and Nottingham.

The company told The Scotsman that in Glasgow the areas include Barrhead and Bishopton, and it is expanding towards the east of the Central Belt and the Edinburgh area in Penicuik, while it will have a strategic site in Dundee soon. North of the Border it has about 150 staff directly employed, with another 500 subcontractors on average.

Avant Homes chief executive, Colin Lewis, said: “The government must do more to support the cities and regions outside of the South East of England to ensure UK plc is as robust and powerful as it can be.

“Balancing UK economic growth will only become a reality if cities and regions in the North of England and across Scotland can create well-connected communities where people want to live.

“Our new £200m facility means we can enhance the role we already play in achieving this goal by accelerating our building of more much needed family homes. In addition, this extra financial firepower we now have to invest in land with help us to build more homes in new locations.”

Meanwhile, Avant Homes has bolstered its construction team in Scotland with the appointment of a new construction director.

Bryan Galloway brings over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry to his role having previously worked for national housebuilders including Wimpey Homes, CALA Homes and Miller Homes. Most recently, Bryan was head of construction at Barratt East Scotland.

Bryan said: “I’m very excited to be taking on my new role as construction director. It is a very exciting time for the business as it continues to grow and innovate within the housebuilding sector.

“I have a keen eye for quality and will be working closely with the construction team to ensure we continue to build the highest quality homes and provide the very best customer experience.

As part of his new role Bryan will have an active responsibility for ensuring excellence in all aspects of construction and an outstanding customer experience throughout the build process.

Commenting on Bryan’s appointment, David Knight, managing director of Avant Homes Scotland, said: “Bryan has a considerable wealth of experience and will be a real asset in helping to develop Avant Homes’ reputation for quality as we grow our portfolio of site in 2017.

“I’m confident that in his new post, Bryan will be able to strengthen our position in Scotland’s housebuilding market, and will play a key role the company’s future success.”

This latest announcement follows what the group described as an excellent trading performance over the past year.

Avant delivered record revenues of £369m in the year to 30 April with 1,636 total completions, up 35 per cent from the prior year.

Avant Homes to focus on Central Belt following ‘excellent’ year

Avant-homesAvant Homes has revealed it is to focus on the Central Belt as the housebuilder anticipates record revenues and profits.

The company said total completions for the 12 months to 30 April 2017 were up 35% on the prior year at 1,636, with a strong 31% increase in private completions. Sales showed a year-on-year jump of 44% to £368 million, with the increase attributed in part to “the continuing upward shift in private average selling price (ASP)”.

Colin Lewis, chief executive at Avant, which has its Scottish head office in Stirling and 12 of its 52 outlets north of the Border, acknowledged political uncertainties including the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum, but said the housing market “remains positive — we still can’t build as many houses as people want to buy. We are confident about our forward view and strategy”.

Sites acquired by Avant in the second half include 100 plots in Cairneyhill, Fife, and Lewis noted that the group operates in the Central Belt, and is unaffected by issues in Aberdeen, for example.

He also said it has opened sites in the east, in Haddington and Newcraighall, and added: “The Central Belt is good for Avant and I hope that Avant is good for the Central Belt so you’ll see hopefully more of us in that area.”

Mr Lewis said: “The strength of Avant’s performance over the last twelve months underlines the success of the strategy we launched to transform the business following our change of ownership in December 2014.

“The record results we have achieved across all metrics have been driven by the strong appeal of our aspirational family homes, designed to give our customers what they want, and the resilience of the markets in which we operate.

“The continued investment in our land supply in prime locations across the Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and the central belt of Scotland has further strengthened our platform to continue to drive significant growth.

“We are therefore confident of continuing to accelerate our growth and to deliver our milestone of 2,000 homes and £500m of revenues on our journey of growth.”

Man dies working at Avant Homes site in South Lanarkshire

Avant-homesA 45-year-old man has died while working at a building site in High Blantyre, South Lanarkshire.

Police and ambulance services were called to the Avant Homes site on Hamilton Road yesterday morning following a report that a man had been seriously injured.

Paramedics were unable to save the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation into the circumstances leading to the man’s death has been launched.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “At around 9.45am on Wednesday, April 19, police and emergency services responded to reports of a 45-year-old man having been seriously injured while working at a building site close to Shott Farm on Hamilton Road.

“Paramedics attended and pronounced the man dead at the scene.

“The man is still to be formally identified.

“A post mortem will be conducted to establish the exact cause of death, which is not being treated as suspicious at this time.

“The Health and Safety Executive have been informed and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

The site is a development of almost 200 two-, three- and four-bedroom terraced, semi-detached and detached homes.

A launch event had been scheduled for next weekend.

An Avant Homes spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm a man died in an incident at our construction site in Blantyre today (April 19).

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and loved ones at this time. An investigation has been launched immediately and all works have been suspended whilst we assist the emergency services.”

Unite regional co-ordinating officer, Steven Dillon, added: “This is a tragic accident.

“Our first thoughts are concern and sympathy for the family of this worker and for his workmates and friends.

“We will have an officer in the area tomorrow to observe conditions, and to be available for workers to talk to.

“We will have to await investigations into the cause of this death, but it underlines the vital importance of proper health and safety monitoring at every construction site.

“Every construction worker deserves to return home safely at the end of their shift – but there are still too many deaths and injuries in the industry.”

Avant Homes to build 385 homes across three new Scottish sites

David Knight, managing director of Avant Homes at the Calderbrook development in Glasgow

David Knight, managing director of Avant Homes Scotland, at the Calderbrook development in Glasgow

Scottish housebuilder Avant Homes has revealed plans for 385 new homes across three new developments in the Central Belt, with a combined value of £94 million.

The developer has purchased a 25-acre site in the village of Cairneyhill, near Dunfermline where it will build 100 new homes, a 25-acre plot of land in High Blantyre, South Lanarkshire for 195 homes and 9-acres in Dunbar, East Lothian where a total of 90 new homes will be provided.

The £24m development in Cairneyhill will comprise a collection of three, four and five-bedroom detached home and construction is expected to commence this summer. The first homes are expected to be ready for occupation by the end of 2017.

In High Blantyre, Avant will build 195 homes – making it the largest of the three sites – offering a mix of apartments, townhouses, semi-detached and detached homes.

Construction is well underway at the £43m development with the first homes due to be ready in the summer.

In Dunbar, groundworks have started on a £27m development of 90 homes, which will offer buyers a choice of three and four-bedroom semi-detached and detached properties. Construction has begun with the first homes due to be completed by September 2017.

The overall build programme is estimated to take approximately four years creating a large number of local construction and sales jobs.

Avant Homes Scotland managing director, David Knight, said: “We are very pleased to reveal our plans for these new developments, all of which present buyers with the opportunity to purchase our high quality product in three very desirable locations.

“We have an ambitious growth strategy for the business in 2017 with a healthy land bank and plans to expand our current portfolio of developments from nine to 13. Each of these new sites will feature our innovative collection of house designs, all created with modern lifestyles in mind and offering buyers more of what they want in a new home. Early indications already show high demand so we expect many homes on the first phases to sell off-plan.”

Based in Stirling, Avant Homes Scotland is an operating company of the Avant Homes group.

Avant Homes employs 575 people and has four regional offices in Scotland, the north east of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands.