There are standards and guidelines for sustainability against which any development or regeneration project can be measured, currently the HCA Quality Standards, the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM, among others. We have both the experience and the expertise to meet and in many cases exceed these standards – indeed our Castleward project in Derby is only the second development in the country to achieve the BREEAM Communities accreditation.
However, this experience also makes us wary of relying solely on a ‘tick-box’ approach to sustainability. Current sustainability standards have been developed over many years by committed people with a great deal of technical knowledge. However, many of these standards are still changing and evolving, as we refine definitions of sustainability and its terminology, and learn more about renewables and new building materials and methods.
Compendium Living believes that these five principles (or foundations) of successful and sustainable place-making:
All must be considered in planning and implementing development and regeneration and we use these principles to underpin our approach to sustainability wherever we work.
For us, this means working with people to create communities that work, where neighbours can get to know each other, and a sense of pride and self-management initiatives can develop.
It includes working both with existing communities and identifying prospective and developing new communities (different sites present different challenges and opportunities in this regard). We value community and stakeholder input and feedback and support the development of informed ‘critical friends’ or sounding board groups. For example, at our Weston Heights project in Stoke-on-Trent, we have formed a strong relationship over many years with the existing community that surrounds our development site. Through formal meeting forums, but also through informal weekly contact with the Chair of the residents’ association we receive important feedback on how we’re doing and what we could improve.
On each project we use feedback to refine our approaches and by working with communities, to help change the way people feel and/or use their neighbourhoods, we hope to foster higher aspiration and even achievement amongst residents.
We promote sustainable transport policies and initiatives and try to integrate each development into the fabric and character of its surrounding area. We also promote healthy living through, for example, recreational space design and through our input into planning and where possible provide support for local and environmental business development. We consider factors such as walkability of our schemes, access to a variety of food stores, gardens, and support for allotments and community groups..
We are determined to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill from our projects. In Derby during 2014, our Castleward project recycled 96% of waste generated through the construction process, including the use of crushed brick and concrete from a number of buildings demolished for the project, to create car parking areas for the new residential development.
We pride ourselves on being able to build very low energy homes, using a fabric-first approach to energy efficiency, rather than relying too much on green ‘bling’ that then needs to be maintained and monitored by our customers.
Efficient, close partnership working with Councils and other strategic economic development agencies in areas where we work ensures alignment of our activities with their strategic aims. We support, and contribute to the development of local supply chains (including construction, design, professional, components manufacture, environmental and social enterprises). In Hull, for instance, a Meet the Buyer event we held in 2014 with the city council and local training agencies led directly to the expansion of the number of Hull-based suppliers & sub-contractors on our approved vendor list, allowing us to optimise the volume of orders placed within Hull for the Ings regeneration project.
Our marketing strategies also complement local economic development in seeking to attract new people into an area and/or to retain existing people. Major local employers benefit from having high quality, affordable new homes on offer in the area that appeal to a range of well qualified and skilled workers.
Direct employment creation is also a vital part of what we do – on all of our current developments we have created new jobs within our workforce that have been filled by local people. On our newest development in Hull we have already taken on two apprentices and a site operative from the local community. And through long term support for and intervention in primary and secondary education, we hope to create new aspirations for employment in for industry-related sectors among young people.
We work with the best architects and designers to ensure that our high quality and appropriate designs meet the aspirations of our customers and community. The scale and diversity of our projects means that each has a different feel and character (sometimes several characters) and this is reflected in our approach to design. Designed in consultation with our clients and stakeholders, each project has a wide variety of unique bespoke house-styles and designs, which complement their surroundings and are appropriate to the project’s vision.
We have the ambition to strive for exemplar projects – our Castleward project in Derby has Built for Life accreditation and has been recognised with the BREEAM Communities award, only the second residential project in the country to receive this accolade. However, we don’t rest on our laurels and continuously look to improve the design quality of our developments, be it through design competition processes, community design champions, working with universities and/or other agencies and initiatives, local consultation and exhibitions, or even international exchanges of ideas.
We incorporate planning for long term management into all aspects of our shorter term activity (design, specification, consultation, skills development, business support etc.) and try to learn from what works. This includes devising funding and management structures to sustain the initial investment of ourselves and our partners, and working closely with statutory and voluntary sector partners to enable planned revenue streams to be deployed effectively and efficiently.
We also have expertise in fund raising from public, private and charitable sources for community projects, including developing community capacity for self-management where appropriate and supporting the development of community and social enterprise based on new legacy services.