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Spotlight on the Planning and Development Process

Posted by: Ed Mead on 13 Mar 2018

The planning and developing process is under the spotlight as never before.  I talked about it recently with the massively experienced Rupert Bates of Show House and What House fame. Developers are an easy target probably ranking close behind bankers and it’s not an easy game to make a living at. The majority of houses are built by small developers, for who the failure of a site build can be calamitous, but the headlines are grabbed by the big listed builders who, by virtue of being PLCs, have to publicise their CEO remuneration. Understandably a £100m + bonus resulting largely from Gov’t changes to Help To Buy have raised a few eyebrows.

That doesn’t represent most though, and the time honoured methodology is for agents to approach a developer with a piece of land they’ve spotted or been instructed on. Convention and politeness dictate that the agent is instructed on the resales even if they aren’t necessarily the best. Many developers will look for the widest possible net of buyers and so often will bring in a national agent to back up the local on the ground.

But for developers anything that affects margin in a competitive market is under scrutiny, so many now employ buyers who will scout out land, but even if they find a site chances are a national agent won’t have the local presence and so a local agent will still need to be instructed to open doors and show prospects around.

Headaches, quite apart from planning and building, continue to abound when the houses are completed, as any on site staff cannot stay forever. It is usually just when snagging is starting which presents its own issues with access and keys.

Frankly these problems have always been part of managing sites but I’d like to think that part of what we’ve done at Viewber is to ameliorate some of them by having a trusted local person along with a sensibly placed key safe to help out and make access easier – to my mind this could save on ibuprofen as well as money.

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