Springfield Properties

Springfield Properties hits 500 employees milestone

Growing housebuilder Springfield Properties has crossed a landmark threshold with over 500 employees now on its books.

Cementing its position as one of Scotland’s leading employers, Springfield has grown from 206 employees in 2011 to over 500 staff employed today.

Chief executive of Springfield Properties, Innes Smith, said: “Reaching 500 employees is a key milestone for the company. Springfield is poised to play a significant part in the delivery of the many new private and affordable homes needed across Scotland. The company has grown over the years and growth means we will take on more employees right across the business from accounts trainees to experienced tradesmen”.

Bricklayer Gary Robertson, apprentice bricklayer Ben Milton and apprentice bricklayer Cameron Armstrong all joined Springfield just as numbers were reaching 500. Employed at the Knockomie Braes development in Forres Gary who brings over 30 years of experience in the trade works alongside 16-year-old Ben.

As well as recruiting in the wider jobs market Springfield works with its partners to create employment opportunities for apprentices. Cameron, 17 years old, joined Springfield as an apprentice bricklayer through the Wheatly Pledge – a scheme introduced to give career opportunities to Wheatly Group tenants.

Springfield teamed up with the Wheatly Group in 2012 to deliver 202 affordable homes in Muirhouse, Edinburgh. Cameron lives in one of these Wheatly Group homes and benefits from the scheme.

Since the start of the year, Springfield has recruited nine office based employees in Larbert and Elgin in positions ranging from IT Systems Administrator to Commercial Manager.

Mr Smith continued: “A happy workforce is fundamental to a successful business. All our employees are encouraged to take new opportunities to help them grow.

“An apprenticeship applies the theory learned in the classroom within a working environment. They can put the skills they have learnt into practise while picking up hints and tips from experienced tradesmen.

“Apprenticeships are helping to address the current construction industry skill shortage. Our apprentices all work on building our houses every day – they all have the opportunity of a promising future with Springfield as they become skilled in their trade.”

Following its AIM listing last October, the award-winning housebuilder of private and affordable homes, continues to recruit across Scotland as the company expands. On top of the current 28 active developments, with many more in the pipeline, Springfield has been progressing the delivery of new villages across Scotland.

One of these new villages, Bertha Park, a 3,000-home community planned for the outskirts of Perth, broke ground in August 2017. It will include private and affordable housing as well as schools, shops, restaurants and health facilities. In total, the housebuilder currently operates 28 active sites with many more in the pipeline.

On top of its 518 employees and over 1,500 subcontractors, Springfield currently supports 113 staff in further education, training and apprenticeships. This includes 48 construction apprentices, 13 technical apprentices, 35 employees in modern apprenticeships and 17 employees undertaking higher education through training centres that work with Skills Development Scotland.

42 new homes proposed for Gartcosh

Springfield Properties has submitted a detailed planning application for a new 42-home development in Gartcosh.

The housebuilder submitted plans to North Lanarkshire Council to transform the 1.98-hectare site, which neighbours Mount Ellen Golf Club, into a new crescent development.

The development will deliver a mix of three and four-bedroom homes from the Springfield Alba range. The homes will be fitted with electric car charging cables as part of the company’s recent pledge to future proof its homes.

Springfield chief executive, Innes Smith, said: “This new development is in a great location. There are handy commuter routes a stone’s throw away, it’s nearby the Glasgow Fort Shopping Centre and right next door to Mount Ellen Golf Course.

“The development will introduce new jobs to Gartcosh while supporting local businesses and suppliers. And with plenty of open space throughout the development, bordered with existing woodland, we are confident our plans will be a positive addition to the area.”

Profile: Michelle Motion, financial director, Springfield Properties

Michelle Motion

Hard work, education and a dependable support network are just some of the factors which have enabled Michelle Motion to become financial director at Springfield Properties.

Career timeline

June 1991 – May 2001 – Morrison Construction Group

I spent ten years with Morrison Construction starting as an Assistant Accountant and finishing as a Finance Manager.

May 2001 – November 2013 – Gladedale (Now Avant Homes)

I joined in 2001 as a Financial Controller leaving 12 years later as a Divisional Finance Director.

November 2013 – Present – Springfield Properties PLC

The next step in my career brought me to Springfield Properties, where I was appointed as Finance Director in 2013. Today, I am one of just five female executive Directors of a listed company in Scotland.

Projects completed in the past

The past five years at Springfield have been some of the best of my career, and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead on some incredibly exciting projects.

In May 2017, we achieved record turnover of £110m – a phenomenal accomplishment for the business. This was followed by the construction start and sales launch of a 3,000 home village in Perth. Bertha Park just off the Inveralmond Roundabout, will be complete with all the facilities a community needs to thrive, including private and affordable homes, commercial units, health care facilities and schools.

Both these projects took place in the weeks leading up to listing Springfield on the London Stock Exchange with the Alternative Investment Market (AIM.) After sharing the Springfield story with investors in London and Edinburgh, a whirlwind of numbers, late night emails and lots of caffeine, the hard work paid off, and on 16 October, Springfield made its initial public offering on AIM, with the placement of 23.5 million shares.

Visiting the stock exchange was certainly a tick off the bucket list. I had my family by my side with Springfield’s name in lights alongside a countdown to the market opening – it was a real celebration for such a significant accomplishment.

Upcoming projects

A main focus for the business will be to progress our Village developments, which include Bertha Park (Perth) Durieshill (Stirling) Elgin South and Dykes of Gray (Dundee) where sales are already ahead of target. Comprising both affordable and private housing, these villages will become home to thousands of people across Scotland in the coming years.

The first annual results as a listed company is going to be another key milestone for us as a business, and on a smaller scale, I’ll be looking to grow and develop my own team. I am currently directly responsible for 16 employees in accounts and four in IT and as the company grows there will be a need to expand both departments.

How have your employers helped your career?

Throughout my career I have been fortunate to work with people I respect and could learn from. Sandy Adam, chairman of Springfield, is an incredible entrepreneur, who has created an environment staff not only enjoy working in but can successfully develop their careers.

There are lots of opportunities for people to progress and Springfield invests heavily in training programmes. Encouraging the development of staff and mentoring them from entry level onwards is central to the company’s strategy.

Of the 500+ Springfield employees, 95 are apprentices with an additional 17 in further education.

Having an MBA has been fundamental to my move up the career ladder, and it’s great to see Springfield supporting the future of the business by giving staff the same opportunities.

What barriers have you faced?

In order to succeed, you need to strive to be the best, and this often involves setting the time aside for hard work and continuing in education.

This, as a woman, can be harder to do alongside taking time to start a family, but in many ways I attribute a lot of my success to them. I have two fantastic children and I’m married to the most understanding man. My family are my rock and they are the biggest support network – that’s why it meant so much having them celebrate the achievement of the float with me at the London Stock Exchange in October.

Rising to the top

In my later years at school I wanted to be an accountant and I was lucky enough to find a profession I love within an industry that excited me.

Through determination, hard work and the support of my colleagues, I am now a PLC Finance Director of a publicly listed company, at possibly one of the most exciting stages in the history of the business.

My advice to any young person is to find a career that you enjoy and don’t let anything hold you back – including yourself.

Catch up with the rest of Scottish Construction Now’s International Women’s Day feature here.

AIM listing helps boost profits and revenues at Springfield Properties

Springfield’s Dykes of Gray development in Dundee

Housebuilder Springfield Properties has reported double-digit growth in profit and revenue in its first set of interim results since the company floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

For the six months to the end of November, Springfield increased its operating profits by 16.9% to £3.6 million from £3.1m during the same period the year before, while adjusted pre-tax profit increased by 19.6% from £2.6m to reach £3.1m.

Completions by the Elgin-based company increased 6% to 280 new homes and the housebuilder grew its land bank to 10,605 plots from 9,195 as at May 31.

Springfield added that in its private housing business, sales increased 6% to £43m, with the average selling price up to £234,000 from £208,000. It reported “significant progress” on a number of sites in Dundee, Perth and Elgin.

In its affordable housing division, it said sales were up 40% to £11.7m. But average selling price was down slightly to £122,000 from £123,000.

Springfield joined the AIM in October last year as it sought to raise up to £25m for the construction of five new “village” housing developments incorporating a total of 10,000 homes on completion.

The developer is currently working on affordable housing proposals worth a total of £70m-£80m for delivery over the next one to three years

Sandy Adam, executive chairman of Springfield Properties, said: “I am delighted to be announcing our first set of interim results as a quoted company and reporting another period of strong growth for Springfield. We have increased our revenue from existing sites in both our Private Housing and Affordable divisions while progressing the development of our pipeline of projects. In particular, we have invested in the development of our new Villages that will accelerate our building of new homes, private and affordable, in new communities across Scotland.

“We now employ over 500 people and I would like to thank them for their continued support and hard work during this period where we have transitioned to becoming a public company and are about to deliver our 5,000th home since we started the company.

“Looking ahead, we have entered the second half of our financial year with a strong order book of contracted revenues and, together with sustained market drivers including a supportive Scottish Government policy, Springfield is poised to play a significant part in the delivery of the many new private and affordable homes needed across Scotland. As a result, the company anticipates revenue and profit for full year 2017/18 to be 5-10% ahead of market expectations.”

Unanimous refusal for Moray affordable homes overturned by Scottish Government

The site of the proposed development at Hopeman

The Scottish Government had overturned a decision from Moray Council to block plans to build 22 affordable houses on the south side of Hopeman.

Springfield Properties submitted its application for the building of affordable flats and houses on Forsyth Street in November 2016.

But members of the local authority’s planning & regulatory services committee upheld planning officers’ recommendation to unanimously refuse permission last October.

A report to councillors last year stated that the size and scale of the proposal did not reflect the settlement pattern, failed to integrate into the surrounding area and would be detrimental to the existing open character and identity of Forsyth Street and Hopeman.

The application received four representations of support but 254 objections, mainly from local residents raising concerns about the siting and design of the homes and arguing that any approval would act as a precedent for larger developments.

Chair of the committee at the time, Councillor Wilson, said that “although the need for more affordable housing in Moray is recognised, the council felt this development fell outside the current planning guidelines”.

In his findings, Scottish Government reporter Philip Barton said he could not make a decision based on potential developments – but stressed his decision should not be considered a “precedent”.

Mr Barton disagreed with the council’s decision the houses would not fit the character of the area but added an extra condition to ensure all the homes could be classed as “affordable”.

He said: “The unique circumstances of this case include the contribution that the proposal would make towards addressing an urgent unmet need for affordable housing across the Elgin housing market area.”

Springfield insisted the houses are essential to prevent people from being forced to relocate due to the high cost of living in their hometown.

A spokesperson said: “We are delighted with this outcome. In taking his unemotional, impartial view of this proposal The Reporter has shown it for what it is, the sensible provision of twenty two affordable homes where they are needed. Twenty two families that would have had to permanently relocate will now be able to stay local and live in Hopeman.

“More affordable housing is much needed across the whole country. It is painful to see locals forced to move out because they cannot afford to live where they are from.

“Regarding any future development in Hopeman, we’re currently involved in identifying potential site allocation as part of the ongoing Moray Local Plan Review.”

Springfield Properties gets plugged into electric cars

Springfield Properties chief executive, Innes Smith, with an electric vehicle provided by Douglas Park BMW Hamilton

Housebuilder Springfield Properties is speeding ahead with its latest environmental initiative by installing cabling for electric car charging points in new houses.

The developer is one of the first in the UK to make the infrastructure for vehicle charging a standard feature in all future new-build properties.

New 7KW cabling will be incorporated at the most practical point in the home to allow homebuyers to easily install a home charge point.

Amongst the first to benefit from Springfield’s green initiative will be those setting down roots in Bertha Park, the 3,000-home community planned for the outskirts of Perth. The new village which broke ground in August 2017, is ideally located to the A9, where the Scottish Government plans to create Scotland’s first Electric Highway, with charging points along its length.

The initiative is the latest in a series of environmental measures delivered by Springfield, which include the offering of solar photo voltaic panels as an optional extra, the installation of smart, energy efficient hybrid boilers and the use of sustainable materials in the construction of its energy efficient timber-frame homes.

Innes Smith, chief executive of Springfield Properties, said: “The Scottish Government has pledged that by 2032 all new vehicles sold in this country will be electric but we anticipate that the uptake will increase rapidly long before then. One of our values as a company, is to include everything a customer needs in their new home, so, with this is mind, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for our customers to go electric.

“At Springfield, exploring new ways to protect the environment has been a focus of ours for many years and installing the infrastructure for electric car charge points in our homes was the next logical step for our customers.

“Internally, we have also implemented a number of green policies across our offices, such as no longer using disposable plastic cups and installing electric car charging points at our Larbert base.”

Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government minister for transport, added: “This is a welcome announcement from Springfield Properties. The ability to charge electric vehicles at home helps reduce barriers to ownership. With Scotland already leading the way with sales of electric and alternative fuelled vehicles rising faster than the rest of the UK, this is another positive step by industry in support of our vision to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032.”

Continued housing demand keeps Springfield Properties on track

Chairman Sandy Adam, housing minister Kevin Stewart, CEO Innes Smith and group partnership director Tom Leggeat at an affordable housing development in Muirhouse

Housebuilder Springfield Properties is making good progress with the five new village style developments it is creating across Scotland and is on track to deliver revenues in line with management’s expectations, the firm said today.

In its first trading update since its flotation in October, which successfully raised £25 million for the business, Springfield told investors that the continued demand for more housing in Scotland was underpinning growth in both its private and affordable housing businesses.

As a result, the Elgin-based company said it expects to report revenues for the first half of 2017/18 in line with management’s expectations and declare an interim dividend for the period.

Detailing the progress of its new village developments, Springfield said sales at Dykes of Gray in Dundee are ahead of the company’s target for the year to date. In September, the first homes at Springfield’s new 3,000 home village in Perth went on sale and work on site commenced.

The company will shortly be submitting the plans for another 3,000 home village at Durieshill, in Stirling, for planning approval and the legal agreement for 870 of 2,500 new homes for a village at the south of Elgin is being finalised.

The affordable housing division also continued to perform as expected, Springfield added.

The company will provide further details at the time of the interim results in February 2018.

Budget: £4 billion allocated for Scottish infrastructure

Derek Mackay

An allocation of over £4 billion of funding for infrastructure which includes a £756 million contribution to the Scottish Government’s target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 were amongst a range of investment plans set out in the 2018-19 Draft Budget by finance secretary Derek Mackay.

The infrastructure investment, which is in line with the Programme for Government commitment to invest £20bn over the life of this parliament, also includes beginning the procurement of Scotland’s £600m universal superfast broadband programme to be delivered over the next four years; investing £60m in Low Carbon Innovation Fund to deliver innovative low carbon energy infrastructure solutions including for electric vehicles and investing £1.2bn in transport infrastructure, including key road projects and further electrification of the rail network.

Publishing the Draft Budget to parliament yesterday, Mr Mackay set out a programme that will also:

  • Deliver the first £70m of a new £150m Building Scotland Fund to unlock new house building, develop new low carbon commercial property and support research and development
  • Set aside £340m for initial capitalisation of the Scottish National Investment Bank
  • Drive regional economic growth by more than doubling investment in city region deals.
  • Deliver £18m as part of a £65m package of investment for the National Manufacturing Institute to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing

Responding to the announcement, David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, said: “We welcome the creation of the Building Scotland Fund to support innovation in both housing and commercial property development as well as the capitalisation of the Scottish National Investment Bank.  Access to finance remains challenging in a severely risk-averse environment for developers looking to innovate with real estate projects and with the economy set for subdued growth in the next few years, the real estate sector can act as a positive driver of growth that will support jobs and investment in places to work, live and relax.

“The decision to use CPI as the measure of inflation rather than RPI is welcome but we believe that Scottish Ministers should not become tied to increasing business rates by this measure annually as was once the case with the RPI measure.  The economy is growing but only just and we feel that the freedom to increase rates by less than CPI should be considered in future budgets if the economy continues to struggle.

“New commercial development, or redevelopment has the potential to increase and to boost the economy and enhance the tax base.  The confirmation of the support for new build is welcome though we remain concerned that the potential restriction of listed building rate relief will deter the regeneration of listed buildings for business purposes.  This could have significant implications for struggling town centres and clear guidance to local authorities on restricting rate relief will be important.”

The country’s home builders said the Budget recognises economic importance of housing investment.

Chief executive of industry body Homes for Scotland, Nicola Barclay, said: “With home building in Scotland supporting over 60,000 jobs and contributing billions each year to the economy, we are pleased to see the Scottish Government confirming its ambition for the housing of all types our country needs.

“As well as a significant funding increase for affordable housing, the additional funding for skills bodies, colleges and universities that will help to plug the skills gap, is also welcome.

“The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax relief for First Time Buyers up to the first £175,000 of the purchase price could be a valuable boost for those aspiring to get on the property ladder, representing additional money towards their deposit or moving costs. However, given that this is not due to become effective until 2018/19, we are concerned that any delay may have a potential impact on purchasing decisions in the short term.

“Of particular note, however, is the establishment of the new £150m Building Scotland Fund which will have a prominent housing and infrastructure focus to support interventions that will further accelerate and scale up housing delivery. With the funding and delivery of infrastructure a major housing blocker, we keenly await further details in the new year.”

The Scottish Budget also followed Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s lead with a tax break for first-time buyers.

Under the plans, first-time buyers will be given a helping hand with a new land and business transaction tax (LBTT) relief for properties worth up to £175,000. As many as 80% of first-time buyers will now be exempt from paying any of the tax when buying a new home.

The move comes after Chancellor Philip Hammond exempted first time buyers from stamp duty – the equivalent tax in England – for homes up to the value of £300,000. Scottish ministers say lower house prices in Scotland means £175,000 is a roughly comparable figure north of the Border. Mr Mackay said the move will “make home ownership a reality for more of our young people.”

But the move does not go far enough according industry body the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland (RICS Scotland).

Hew Edgar, RICS policy manager for Scotland, said: “Whilst this change has the potential to stimulate activity in the short term, it comes at a time when the market is subdued, and does not tackle the overarching problem of housing shortage supply across all tenures. This government must realise that prioritising demand side measures is not conducive to market fluidity and will do little to solve the chronic shortage of suitable accommodation across Scotland’s housing options.”

He added: “Once again, we call on Scottish Government to review the current LBTT as a priority going forward as this current framework is not only limiting market activity, but could ultimately bring the market to a standstill. That said, we hope that the ‘Building Scotland’ fund will provide the required support for alternative models of housing delivery.

“On a more positive note, the £600m investment in providing superfast broadband – ensuring the last 5% of Scotland’s ‘non-spot’ dwellings – will be connected to the fourth utility by 2021, will be greatly received.

“As part of £4bn investment in this budget – £1.2bn of which will be directed towards transport – tackling the infrastructure deficit is always welcome. But Mackay held back and gave little away as to where the funding will be directed. He also missed an opportunity to attract and retain top talent to Scotland by not building on Scotland’s infrastructure success of the Queensferry Crossing, with no addition of noteworthy projects to the infrastructure pipeline.”

Innes Smith, chief executive at Springfield Properties, said the announcement was “a positive step forward” for the housebuilding industry in Scotland and for people who need homes.

He added: “With its progressive outlook, the Scottish Government remains determined to improve the housing situation across Scotland. A greater proportion of first-time buyers will be exempt from paying LBTT, making buying a first home more attainable. We are pleased to see the ongoing commitment to funding affordable housing and the large investments in infrastructure and superfast broadband which support the development of new housing.

“We are confident today’s news on LBTT, the Scottish Government’s £756m commitment to affordable housing and funding for further action on homelessness represents real action for those in need.”

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The Scottish Government’s continued commitment to renewable energy is of course to be welcomed, particularly as its final Energy Strategy will be published within days.

“It is encouraging that the Government recognises renewable energy as a key driver of Scotland’s economy.

“Of note are the funds allocated to support both low-carbon innovation and the decarbonisation of the heat sector – a task which is of critical importance if we are to tackle climate change.

“We also welcome the reaffirmation of the Government’s intention to follow the suggestions contained in the Barclay Review of business rates and to link increases to the Consumer Prices Index, both of which will benefit new and existing green energy generators. We are pleased that Scottish Renewables’ recommendations on these points have been heeded.

“We will continue to work to understand the full implications of the detail contained in the Budget document for our members and look forward to working with the Scottish Government as the measures outlined in the Budget and upcoming Energy Strategy are implemented.”

Elgin dementia facility wins award

Springfield Properties - Hanover (2)Linkwood View, the new specialist facility in Elgin built by Springfield Properties, has been awarded Social Housing Development of the Year by Premier Guarantee.

In partnership with Hanover Housing Association, Springfield built the 30 apartment specialist care facility, specifically for the elderly, in just over a year. Named Linkwood View by local nursery children, staff from Hanover welcomed the first residents last month.

The facility offers 30 self-contained wheelchair accessible apartments, six of which are tailored to meet the needs of residents with dementia. There are additional apartments for the live-in staff and a communal hub for residents.

(from left) Tom Leggeat (Springfield group partnership director) - Julie McKinnon (Hanover project manager) - Neil Smith (Springfield project manager)

(from left) Tom Leggeat (Springfield group partnership director) – Julie McKinnon (Hanover project manager) – Neil Smith (Springfield project manager)

Springfield Properties group partnership director, Tom Leggeat, said: “The completion of the Linkwood View Apartments marks a milestone for us. This is one of our biggest specialist care projects to date. To be awarded Social Housing Development of the Year by Premier Guarantee is a fantastic achievement – and much deserved recognition for the people whose hard work has made Linkwood View a success.

“The flats have been designed to make life easier for the residents and give them a home to call their own. Kitchen units have been lowered, windows are longer and doorways are wider.

“We’ve worked closely with dementia care specialists to ensure six of the flats would be suitable for sufferers of the condition. The kitchen doors are fitted with glass panels reducing the frustration caused by the confusion of forgetting where things are kept, the switches and sockets are in a contrasting colour to the wall and there is a clear line of sight to each room.”

Springfield Properties - Hanover (1)Tom added: “Externally, there is a feature wall along the edge of the building that has utilised the original stone from Linkwood Steadings just around the corner. The residents will be within walking distance of a local shop, coffee shop, doctor’s surgery, dentist, pharmacy and a key bus route.”

The winners of the Social Housing Development of the Year were announced at the Premier Guarantee awards earlier this week in London.

Springfield Properties raises £25m in early trading

(from left) Michelle Motion, finance director with Sandy Adam, executive chairman and Innes Smith, chief executive officer

(from left) Michelle Motion, finance director with Sandy Adam, executive chairman and Innes Smith, chief executive officer

Newly-listed housebuilder Springfield Properties has successfully raised £25 million in early trading on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) this morning.

The group raised the finance through the placing of 23,584,906 new shares at a price of 106 pence per share, capitalising Springfield at £87m. The shares equate to 28.7 per cent of the firm’s enlarged share capital.

The Elgin-based private and affordable homes developer last month revealed the plan to float on the junior London market with an estimated value of up to £65m as it sought to raise up to £25m for the construction of five new “village” housing developments incorporating a total of 10,000 homes on completion.

Sandy Adam, executive chairman of Springfield, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to bring £25m of investment into Scotland. This will support an increase in the number of homes we build and create new jobs. The level of support shown by our new investors on our admission to AIM is gratifying. It is a real endorsement of the work our employees have put into building a strong and growing business. I would like to thank our new investors for their faith in our company and its staff.

“Springfield is poised to play a significant part in the delivery of the many new homes needed across Scotland. Our investment in the infrastructure of new Villages will accelerate our building of new homes, private and affordable, in new communities. The Scottish Government’s aim of building 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 has created an opportunity which underpins the growth of our affordable housing business. We welcome our new shareholders, and look forward to updating them and the wider market as we develop our pipeline of projects and position Springfield as a leading housebuilder in Scotland.”