Barratt Developments appeals for more sub-contractors in East Lothian

Barratt HomesBarratt Developments plc is seeking more sub-contractors in East Lothian and the surrounding area to help it meet its ambitious plans for growth.

With household names Barratt and David Wilson Homes, the housebuilder says as the economy continues to pick up and demand for new homes increases, it’s vital that it has the skilled labour in place.

Alison Condie, managing director, Barratt Homes East Scotland, said: “We have ambitious growth plans and are looking to supplement our sub-contractor base in East Lothian. We would like to hear from sole traders right the way through to larger companies who can provide trade services for the domestic building sector.

“They could have worked with us before or are new to the organisation. Equally, they could currently be working in the commercial sector and are looking to move over to house building. The trades we’re looking for include groundworkers, electricians, plumbers, painter and decorators, joiners, roofers, scaffolders, plasterers/dry liners and bricklayers.”

Barratt Homes is also keen to help ambitious trades people who are looking to start their own businesses.

Alison added: “Providing people with business opportunities and the environment in which to thrive, through regular work and mentoring, is one of the huge benefits we offer. Our philosophy is straightforward. We recognise sub-contractors are vital to our business and with Barratt Developments we are looking for genuine partnerships where all parties move forward together.”

To register their interest, sub-contractors are asked to contact

Barratt issues skills shortage warning despite strong first half performance

David Thomas

David Thomas

Barratt has reported a 40 per cent surge in pre-tax profits as its increased home completions by over nine per cent.

Figures for the housebuilder over the last six months revealed it has completed 7,626 homes so far this year, a 9.4 per cent increase from the half year ending December 2014.

However, the firm has said it expects construction costs to rise between three and four per cent this year as skills shortages continue to bite.

Barratt said that while labour shortages have eased over the past year, the issue remains the single biggest cause of build cost inflation.

David Thomas, chief executive of Barratt Developments PLC, said: “Whilst we have seen an increase in the supply of skilled subcontractors over the past year, there remains an industry shortage in the UK, with increases in labour costs remaining the largest driver of overall build cost inflation.”

He added: “We are well placed with the necessary labour to meet our operational and quality requirements. We are also seeking to increase efficiency through the use of timber frame on around six per cent of our plots during FY16 and through the use of alternative off-site manufacturing options, including closed panel roof solutions.”

Revenue for Barratt was up 19 per cent to £1,875.5m and pre-tax profit was up 40 per cent to £295.0m. The operating margin improved from 14.2 per cent last time to 16.1 per cent.

Mr Thomas said: “In line with our strategy, we have stepped up the number of completions in the first half and we did this in a disciplined way, both financially and operationally, without compromising on the quality of the homes we’re building.

“We will continue to grow in a way that delivers for the needs of homebuyers and shareholders alike.”

Barratt Developments unveils plans for over 1,400 new Scottish homes

Doug McLeod

Doug McLeod

Housebuilder Barratt Developments has announced plans to open 14 new sites creating 1420 new homes across Scotland.

The new sites will underpin over 300 extra local jobs, reflecting both a continued recovery in Scotland’s economy and the health of the new build housing market. The homebuilder predominately employs local sub-contractors and tradesmen – so local businesses and people will benefit directly from the jobs.

In 2015, Barratt Developments opened new sites across Scotland underpinning employment opportunities for 4,500 people. In total, the division built around 1,390 homes, 48 per cent of which were constructed on previously developed (brownfield) land.

New developments planned for 2016 includes new sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh & Aberdeen, where homes are being released for sale this month.

The expansion plans follow a strong year for the Group in Scotland despite the withdrawal of Help to Buy. During the course of the year, it sold out on a number of successful developments whilst also launching a number of new developments including the Botanics – the flagship David Wilson Homes development on Queen Margaret Drive in the west end of Glasgow.

The Castlewell development in Ellon

The Castlewell development in Ellon

Yesterday the Barratt Group said it remains confident in its outlook for the full year after it managed to lift completions by 9.4 per cent.

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Developments in Scotland, said: “We have seen demand for new homes across Scotland remain high and our new sites will provide more choice for buyers looking to purchase in some of Scotland’s most sought after residential locations. It’s also good news for the Scottish economy not just in terms of supporting local construction jobs, but also through the generation of local revenue from new residents spending in local shops and on local services. We know the positive social and economic impacts that our developments can make and we’ll be working closely with all the communities in which we’re building, to make sure we maximise those impacts as we progress.”

The new Barratt sites in Scotland include developments in Edinburgh, Haddington, Glasgow, Linwood, Strathven, Aberdeen and Newmachar.

Barratt increases completions by 9 per cent in first half

David Thomas

David Thomas

Britain’s biggest house builder Barratt remains confident in its outlook for the full year after it managed to lift completions by 9.4 per cent to 7,626 homes in the first half.

The firm said the rise kept it on course to lift overall new homes output to 16,750 units by its year-end in June.

During the first half ended December 31, Barratt managed to increase the private average selling prices by 11.0 per cent to circa £281,000 benefiting from both mix and underlying selling price inflation.

Operating from an average of 386 active sites during the first half in line with last year, Barratt saw a dip in new site openings but launched 63 new developments in the first half compared to 96 last year.

David Thomas, chief executive, said: “We have seen an excellent first half performance, increasing our completions by 9 per cent whilst maintaining our industry leading quality.

“We continue to invest for the future, approving the purchase of £559m of land and investing in training and recruitment programmes to help address the need for additional skilled labour.

He added: “Overall, market conditions are good and we remain confident in our outlook for the full year as we continue to execute our strategies: aimed at ensuring disciplined growth, improving key financial metrics through a focus on efficiency and the continued delivery of attractive cash returns.”

He said that Barratt continued to benefit from a good level of consumer demand across all regions, with mortgage availability and affordability remaining attractive as competition amongst lenders continues.

Fellow housebuilders Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey have recently reported strong growth, boosted by increased house sales at higher prices.

Barratt Developments gives Scottish economy £250m boost

Douglas Mcleod

Douglas Mcleod

A study into the socio-economic footprint of Barratt Developments has found that the housebuilder’s Scottish operations have contributed more than £250 million to the economy during the past year.

A report carried out by planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP) revealed that some 550 subcontractor companies and 650 supplier businesses were supported by the firm.

The building giant’s Socio-economic footprint report also reveals that 4,500 jobs have been supported though Barratt, sister brand David Wilson Homes, and its contractors and suppliers. North of the Border, the group built 1,390 homes during the year.

The analysis, which builds upon previously prepared data for Barratt in 2013 and 2014, looked at a range of economic, social and environmental impacts generated by the firm’s activities, to feed into the Group’s Sustainability Report 2015.
According to the study, the firm planted or retained 29,400 trees or shrubs on its developments and generated £39.4m in tax to support public services.

Regional boss Douglas Mcleod said: “As one of Scotland’s leading housebuilders, we are well aware of our responsibility to engage with the communities in which we operate, to act as stewards of the environment, and to support the local economy.”

Click here to read the full report.

Revised Stonehaven mixed use development plans submitted

Mill of Forest masterplanRevised plans for a housing and retail development on the outskirts of Stonehaven have been lodged with Aberdeenshire Council.

The new proposals for the Mill of Forest site include the delivery of a new supermarket, community facilities, employment land, a hotel and 500 homes, 125 of which will be affordable. A new road bridge would also be built across the A90.

Mill of Forest supermarketInitial plans by developers Drum Property Group and Barratt North Scotland to build 1,500 new homes at the site were rejected by councillors late last year.

Drum and Barratt held a public exhibition last month to showcase the new plans, which were designed by Halliday Fraser Munro.

Before the consultation Chris Ross, senior land manager for Barratt North Scotland, said: “We have listened carefully to the views of the local community over the last few years and what is very clear is that there is a real need to start delivering a mix of homes to match all incomes within the area.

“While we have reduced our proposed homes from 1,500 to 500, we are fully committed to delivering 125 affordable homes to start to address the current imbalance.”

Mill of Forest road bridgeHe added that Mill of Forest would be “a sustainable and sympathetic expansion of the town, allowing it to thrive and flourish”.

Revised Stonehaven housing and supermarket plans on show

Mill of Forest supermarketDrum Property Group and Barratt North Scotland will hold a public exhibition today to showcase revised mixed use development proposals for Mill of Forest, Stonehaven.

The new proposals include the delivery of a new supermarket, community facilities, employment land, a hotel and 500 homes as well as a new road bridge across the A90.

Initial plans to build 1,500 new homes at the site were rejected by councillors late last year.

Drum and Barratt have said the development would be phased and “a fundamental element of the proposal is the delivery of the supermarket and the key infrastructure links, including a new road bridge across the A90, at the outset of development”.

Mill of Forest road bridgeThe exhibition will be held in St James’ Church (Arbuthnott St), Stonehaven and the drop in event will be between 12pm – 7pm.

Chris Ross, senior land manager for Barratt North Scotland, has urged people to get involved in the consultation process.

He added: “As well as the long debated discussion about where a supermarket should be located in Stonehaven, a key issue for the local community and their families is both the affordability and supply of homes within the town.

“It is vital that the current imbalance is addressed, that is why we are committed to delivering 125 affordable homes as part of the Mill of Forest proposals.”

Barratt reports record 45 per cent pre-tax profits increase

David Thomas

David Thomas

Barratt Developments has reported a record 45 per cent jump in profits on the back of continued strong demand for new homes.

Buoyed by sturdy housing market and increased mortgage availability thanks to Help to Buy, the group posted pre-tax profits of £565.5 million for the 12 months to the end of June, up from £390.6m the year before.

The housebuilder was helped by an 11 per cent rise in completions over the year, taking the total of new homes built to 16,447 including joint ventures. This marked its highest total in seven years.

A combination of the type of house sold and house price inflation saw average house prices rise by 8.7 per cent to £262,500 over the past year.

Barratt has also approved 16,956 new plots for purchase, and chief executive David Thomas said the company was expecting further growth.

He said: “The strong operational and financial performance reinforces the progress we have made over the past few years.

“The new financial year has started very well. We have a strong forward sales position and are making very good progress towards our 2017 targets of at least a 20 per cent gross margin and at least a 25 per cent return on capital employed.”

Mr Thomas added that Barratt was exploring technical innovations to make these numbers even better.

He said: “We are implementing a number of quick wins in terms of lowering build costs, for example we expect to build c. 1,300 timber frame homes in FY16.

“Other innovations in the build process implemented during the year include new roofing and flooring solutions and we have started to trial other new products having assessed over 100 offsite construction suppliers. We are also looking to embrace the best methods of on and offsite construction to increase efficiency.”

John Allan, chairman of Barratt, added: “The market for new homes remains strong across Britain, with demand continuing to exceed supply. The mortgage market has continued to improve both in terms of availability and rates, as well as government support for the new-build market.

“Against this strong market backdrop we are delivering ongoing improvements in our own performance across all aspects of our operations.”

Volunteer graduate joins Barratt North Scotland team

Victoria Gray

Victoria Gray

Victoria Gray has become the latest graduate to join the Barratt North Scotland team as the company continues to bring new talent to the construction industry.

Victoria, 22, who is originally from Renfrewshire but now lives in Aberdeen, will be working alongside the construction team at the Osprey Heights development in Inverurie. With a degree in Architectural Technology from Robert Gordon University and experience in the construction industry at a local and international level, Victoria brings both talent and passion to the team.

Speaking of her new role, Victoria said: “I have always been keen to work in the construction industry and what better way to start than with the UK’s largest housebuilder.

“I first experienced the house building industry in 2011 when I volunteered in southern India providing construction support for an orphanage. I have since gone on to complete my degree and complete placements at a range of building service companies.

“Although I’m sure there is a lot to learn, I can’t wait to start my new role at Osprey Heights. I look forward to contributing to the growing success of Barratt North Scotland over the coming months and years.”

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, added: “Given the ongoing success of our north and north east developments, and our continuing investment in new sites across the region, we’re delighted to grow our team by recruiting new talent who we can develop through our graduate and apprenticeship schemes.

“Having enjoyed over 40 years in the industry, I know that construction can offer a rewarding and interesting career path. I wish our new recruits all the best in their new posts.”

Housebuilding team celebrates four centuries of service

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, with Willie Donald who celebrates 45 years service

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, with Willie Donald who celebrates 45 years service

A group of long serving employees at Barratt North Scotland is celebrating after clocking up almost four centuries of service between them this summer.

The eleven tradesmen and construction professionals, whose tenures range from 20 years to 45 years, picked up long service awards at the housebuilder’s recent company seminar.

Willie Donald, 61, from Turriff, celebrates 45 years with the company this year, after joining Barratt Homes as an apprentice joiner in 1970. Willie has mentored countless apprentices over the years, many of which are still working with the company today.

He said: “Housebuilding offers a range of fulfilling career opportunities. I chose to stay with joinery throughout my time with the company as I really enjoy the challenge and variety it offers, the onsite camaraderie and the satisfaction of a job well done. Earning a trade is a huge benefit – as well as having a job I really enjoy, I’ve been able to build my own home as well as support friends and family with their projects.

“Barratt Homes has also been a great company to work for as you really get to know your team. People tend to stay with the company, so there are plenty of familiar faces. It has also been really satisfying to see many of my apprentices progress with the company – some have chosen to stay on the tools, whilst others have moved into management. It’s an enormous industry and it can take you as far as you want it to.”

Construction manager Kevin Urquhart celebrates 20 years service

Construction manager Kevin Urquhart celebrates 20 years service

Construction manager and joiner to trade Kevin Urquhart, 36, also from Turriff, joined Barratt Homes as an apprentice at 16, and celebrates 20 years with the firm this year.

He added: “I was inspired to pursue a career as a joiner by my father, who I spent many weekends working with as a youngster. Having joined at just 16 I’ve been able to build a career that is both exciting and challenging.

“The construction industry today offers excellent prospects, particularly with companies like Barratt Homes. As an employee I’ve received excellent support and guidance to help me gain my apprenticeship and progress into management. The industry is calling out for new talent – it is full of opportunities for ambitious young people.”