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.”

Barratt Homes to deliver affordable homes across the capital

Barratt HomesBarratt Homes has unveiled plans to deliver 96 affordable homes at three housing developments across Edinburgh, which are collectively worth in excess of £10 million.

The housebuilder is currently constructing 44 social housing apartments at its flagship Dalmeny Park development in South Queensferry. The properties on completion will be delivered to Home Scotland.

A further 24 affordable units are in the works at Barratt’s Verdant Walk site in the Blackchapel area of the capital and 26 units at Newcraighall in the South East of the capital. These units will be delivered in partnership with People for Places and Hillcrest Housing Association respectively.

The units form part of Barratt Homes’ commitment to the City of Edinburgh Council to deliver 25 per cent affordable homes and have been finished to the same high standards as the company’s private units.

Mansoor Ali, development director at Barratt Homes in the East Scotland, said; “Barratt Homes ispassionate about delivering affordable homes. Throughout the East of Scotland we are committed to providing 25 per cent affordable units at our developments. Our pledge at Dalmeny Park, Newcraighall and Verdant Walk, follows a significant milestone for Barratt as we have now delivered 332 affordable units in the capital with a further 210 units under construction.”

The announcement follows Barratt’s recent delivery of 16 affordable units, at its City Haven development in Newhaven, to Port of Leith Housing Association worth over £2m.

‘Pride in the Job’ award success for Barratt Scotland

Barratt HomesBarratt Scotland’s construction team picked up six prizes at this year’s NHBC Pride in the Job Awards – the highest number secured in one year by the housebuilder to date.

Now in their 35th year, the National House-Building Council’s Pride in the Job Awards recognise the unique personal contribution site managers make in the creation of UK homes of outstanding quality.

The five prizes went to David Maclean at The Grange, Elgin, David Oliver at Mill Brae, Dubford, Dave Scott at Osprey Heights, Inverurie, Martin Rait at Castlewell, Ellon, Allan Barclay at Kings Court, Aberdeen City and John Shields at Fairmilehead, Edinburgh.

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, said: “The official recognition of our winning site managers shows that Barratt Scotland is building some of the best quality homes in the country.

“Site managers play a pivotal role in delivering high-quality new homes and that is why we are so delighted with these five national awards. This is truly an outstanding result – our best yet – and one which should inspire confidence in our buyers.

“I’d like to congratulate our prize-winners and their teams for demonstrating such commitment to delivering quality, safety and workmanship in everything they do.”

Commenting on the importance of the awards, Mike Quinton, chief executive of NHBC, said: “A Pride in the Job award is the highest industry accolade a site manager can receive. It represents success for the site manager, his team and associated trades as well providing a reputational boost for the building company. Most importantly, homeowners who buy a Pride in the Job award-winning home benefit from a high quality product.

“It’s no surprise that Pride in the Job winning sites also have higher levels of customer satisfaction as these homes are without doubt among the best the UK has to offer.”

The winners have excelled in a comprehensive year-long judging process, assessed against stringent criteria defined by NHBC’s Technical Standards for building new homes. They are now shortlisted for regional titles which will be revealed in the autumn.

The regional champions will then go forward to contest the national Supreme Winner title in their category at the Pride in the Job Gala Final, taking place in London in January 2016.

Barratt Homes builds Scottish apprenticeship programme

Barratt HomesBarratt Homes is recruiting 20 new apprentices in Scotland this year as part of its ongoing commitment to bridge the skills gap in the construction sector.

The Barratt Academy – Barratt Homes’ apprenticeship programme – is a four year course which combines education and paid employment to build participants’ skills, knowledge and career prospects. Over the past five years, 70 apprentices have benefitted from the Barratt Academy in Scotland.

According to statistics from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Scotland’s construction industry needs 2,500 apprentices in the coming year to meet the demands of this growing sector.

Speaking during Scottish Apprenticeship Week (18-22 May), Douglas McLeod, regional director of Barratt Homes Scotland, said: “The building and construction sector offers a wide range of career opportunities.

“As the UK and Scotland’s leading house builder, we are committed to investing in Scotland’s young people to ensure that we’ve got the right skills in place to meet Scotland’s continually increasing demand for homes. That’s why we have placed such great importance on developing our award-winning apprenticeship programme.”

Gary Owens, 20, from Coatbridge, is an apprentice joiner in his first year at the Barratt Academy.

He said: “I always wanted an apprenticeship so that I could work my way into a secure career and learn the skills for the job as I go along. Joinery in particular is perfect for me because I enjoy making things and seeing the finished product.

“Barratt offers a lot of valuable support through the academy. Already, the firm has helped me to earn my Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) card, and has supplied me with a substantial range of tools that will be invaluable throughout my course.

“The apprenticeship is four years long in total, and throughout that time I’ll also be attending South Lanarkshire College to supplement the practical side of things with classroom-based learning. When the course is complete I’ll be a qualified joiner, and further down the line I’d like to progress to management by training to become an assistant site manager.”

Barratt Homes appoints new construction director in West of Scotland

Craig McFarlane

Craig McFarlane

Barratt Homes has promoted Craig McFarlane to the position of construction director in the West of Scotland.

With 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, Craig joined the firm more than five years ago as contracts manager, before becoming construction manager in 2014. In his new role as construction director, Craig will oversee the construction of all sites across the firm’s west Scotland division, reporting to managing director David Scott.

David Scott, managing director for Barratt Homes West Scotland, said: “With strong growth in the market and exceptional sales in the financial year to date, now is a great time for Craig to lead our construction team. His considerable experience and invaluable knowledge about Barratt Homes and the wider industry make him the perfect candidate for the job, and we’re pleased to recognise and support his professional development by handing him the reigns.”

Over the course of 2015, Barratt Homes expects to build more than 500 new homes across the west of Scotland.