At Inland, ensuring sustainable operations and development is of paramount importance. Our caring attitude to our colleagues, partners and the communities and environments in which we work means we strive to function in a way that is best for everyone. Our key values of integrity, openness and trust dictate our interactions with each of our major stakeholder groups:
- local and national government
- the environment
The value we place on meeting the needs of each of our stakeholder groups intuitively informs all of our policies. With sustainability at the heart of everything we do, the following six areas describe our main focuses, and include many of our achievements.
Care for the community permeates all our activities, and our core focus of transforming potentially contaminated land into desirable family homes and community spaces is always undertaken with the needs of future residents and neighbours firmly in mind. When we acquire a site and are going through the planning process, we carry out public consultations. This allows us to develop an understanding of what stakeholders in the community expect from the development prior to formal submission of the planning application. These consultations with communities anticipate the wider needs of the homeowners, with green spaces, care homes, shops and communal facilities included to make sure our developments improve the neighbourhood. We put a significant amount of effort into ensuring that a development looks attractive through hard and soft landscaping of the site.
Inland as a company goes above and beyond to support local communities in our developments and this attitude is reflected in our team. A team of 19 colleagues and family members participated in the 5k 'Colour Obstacle Rush' race, raising more than £25,000 for three charities – ForCrohns, NeST (Nephrotic Syndrome Trust) and Sightsavers. Inland also donated £3,000 to the London Taxi Driver's Fund for Underprivileged Children. This enabled the charity to hold a "taxi safari", which involved a convoy of over 100 London taxis driving around 250 children through the safari at Wooburn Safari Park.
Ensuring customers have a positive experience throughout their interaction with us increases the likelihood of recurring project partnerships with developers, and repeat custom or recommendations from homeowners. Our strong reputation for quality, reliability and delivery leads to many opportunities, for example, land vendors trust Inland to honour promises and offer sales opportunities, while council and community groups seriously consider our bids knowing we have the capability to transform difficult sites. Our customer care system ensures that in the unlikely case that a customer is dissatisfied, we are able to quickly deal with the issue. Our process means that our contractors deal with customer enquiries and complaints reasonably promptly. Our Customer Care Manager monitors this communication to ensure that our contractors are fulfilling their obligation to fix any customer issues. In the event that our contractors fail to deliver the appropriate response, we would deal with the problem directly.
The relationship with homeowners also continues after the sale of a house, with close monitoring and support provided, and customer feedback used to improve future projects. Customer feedback has been used to improve the design of our homes, with the layout of certain rooms (for example the bathroom) changing to better suit the needs of our customers.
The principles of lifetime homes are incorporated into all of our developments, which means that our homes are designed to be easily adaptable for lifetime use at minimal cost. If a resident has reduced mobility due to a disability or old age, the home could be adapted for their needs without major renovation work. A large range of features have to be considered in the design, including the widths of corridors and doors and the size of rooms. The downstairs bathroom could be adapted to become a wet room if it were required and the living room could easily have a lift to the master bedroom added to it.
Health and Safety
We ensure that our projects carried out by principal contractors and our own self-delivered projects adhere to the required standards of Health and Safety. We do this through having Health and Safety consultants visit our sites and our contractors, who then report back to us on their findings. If there are any issues in the standard of Health and Safety on a site, a development director will intervene and ensure that the working practices on the site are returned to a satisfactory level. There have been no significant Health and Safety incidents during the year.
When we decided to begin self-delivering some of our projects, we established policies and procedures that were compliant with the Health and Safety regulations. These formed the basis of a training programme across the site teams to ensure that they were clear on the standards required to comply with the regulations.
Last year the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 were released, formalising the need to consider, anticipate and respond to Health and Safety issues from the earliest stage of planning a project. The lead designer on a project takes on the responsibility of ensuring that the design of the building complies with these regulations. In every design meeting, the CDM regulations are observed.
With the move to self-delivery, there are now two different facets to our supply chain - principal contractors who will carry out all the construction work on a site and the wider supply chain of sub-contractors that we use on the self-delivery sites. We have developed good relationships with our principal contractors through offering them steady, consistent amounts of work. Some of these principal contractors have won awards this year at the LABC and NHBC awards, demonstrating the quality of work that they deliver for us. For the self-delivery sites, we are focused on developing relationships with the supply chain, in order to generate a solid base of sub-contractors that we can use going forward. We aim to use local labour wherever possible. We carry out due diligence on our contractors to ensure that they are able to carry out the work that we require from them.
A challenge for our principal contractors is the lack of labour within the industry. To counter this, we are using new methods of construction that allow for offsite manufacture, which will reduce the amount of labour required to manufacture on site. One example is the use of lightweight steel frame construction on some of our projects, which allows us to build a house a lot quicker than with traditional block work and means that we are not reliant on bricklayers.
Planning the sustainability of developments begins at the earliest stages of a project, when potential sites are assessed — for example, considering what materials are present on the site and if these could be reused in construction. Throughout the planning of the infrastructure, buildings, and construction strategies, sustainability is a core focus, and decisions are taken which make both financial and ecological sense. On larger projects we have the scope to undertake ambitious sustainable projects, such as installing energy centres, and all of our projects use a range of environmentally friendly materials and construction methods.
As we are now self-delivering some of our projects, we will have a greater control over sustainability on those sites. At all of our self-delivery sites, we avoid using mixed use skips so that we can segregate waste. This means that it is easier for the waste to be recycled, reducing the amount that goes to landfill. We are trying to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions through a number of initiatives, such as having eco-friendly site accommodation and ensuring that we are always using electricity from the main grid supply, rather than using a generator.
Our efforts to achieve sustainable builds have been recognised in a number of recent awards. We won 'Regeneration Project of the Year' for Carter's Quay at the South Coast Property Awards 2016. This award "recognises the innovative use of brownfield sites as well as strong architectural design and the developer's approach to environmental issues". The judges of the award take into consideration how the particular area has been revitalised for those who live there. We were also shortlisted for 'Regeneration Project of the Year' for Lily's Walk High Wycombe, at the Thames Valley Property Awards 2016 and 'Best low or zero carbon initiative' at the Housebuilder Awards 2016.
We pride ourselves on our open, supportive and caring culture. We develop and encourage our colleagues by offering them responsibility, stimulating teamwork and the opportunity to learn both from others in the Company and through qualifications and courses. The warmth of atmosphere and pride individuals take in working for Inland is what encourages people to stay with us and ensure that our team remains strong into the future.
We are very passionate about bringing young people into the industry. It is vital that we do this as there is a general shortage of labour across all roles within the property industry and we need to ensure that there will be a new generation of workers. We offer work experience for students, which has the potential to lead to a job offer. In some construction contracts, we specify that our contractors must employ apprentices from the local area.
Rob Williams Commercial Accountant
I have been promoted multiple times over my five year career with Inland. I started as an Accounts Assistant, which was a data entry role, and now I work as a Commercial Accountant. My career development has been made possible by the training and qualifications I have completed. I am currently studying for the ACCA qualification. As I have progressed in the course, the level of responsibility involved in my job and the complexity of my work has increased alongside it. Inland are financially supporting me with this qualification and they are happy to do so for any employee who wants to study something related to their job.
I am a very inquisitive person and want to understand all the aspects of the company, not just what I need to know to do my job. I like to question and challenge why things are done as they are in the company. This kind of attitude is actively encouraged at Inland Homes. Any of the Executive Directors are very happy to explain anything I am keen to understand. As a result, I am able to continually increase my knowledge at work. The more I know, the less other people have to do. I think this approach is a big part of why I have been able to progress as I have done within the company.
I strongly feel that Inland is a family. Inland has been very supportive of me throughout my career here.
Sebastian Adams Graduate Land Buyer
I studied Real Estate at university. In the summer between the second and third years of my degree, I completed a one month internship at Inland Homes. During this internship, I was given responsibility and gained a good understanding of what the business does. This experience made me confident that a job at Inland Homes would fit in with my career ambitions.
As a result of the internship, I was offered a graduate role. My day to day work as a Land Buyer involves visiting and assessing the suitability of sites. I am getting exposure to all elements of the business, such as planning, design and the development process, so that I can understand how my role fits into the wider picture.
Inland took time to understand my needs and aims for my development and used this to shape the graduate role to suit me. I want to become a qualified Chartered Surveyor with the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Inland were happy to facilitate that. In addition, they have set up numerous days for me to speak to lawyers about issues and constraints involved with buying land. The training I have received has been brilliant. I see great potential for progressing my career with Inland.
Thames Valley Propery Awards
- Homes & Property – Best Regeneration – Drayton Garden Village
- Development of the Year – Carter's Quay
- Best Brownfield, Best House, Best Apartment, Best Mixed Use, Best Medium Housebuilder
South Coast Property Awards 2016
- Housebuilder of the Year
- Best Regeneration Project
Housebuilder Awards 2016
- Best low or zero carbon initiative
South Coast Property Awards 2016
Thames Valley Property Awards
- Housebuilder of the Year
- Development of the Year
- Regeneration Project of the Year