Developing high quality, well-designed homes with low environmental impact
"Our proven track record of delivering high quality, well-designed, comfortable homes with low environmental impact will make them highly desirable to customers and will have expanded our market base. Homes built by Berkeley will be recognised throughout the industry as the very best examples of quality construction and sustainable design. We will have completed our first zero carbon community and all our new developments will be low or zero carbon."
Over the past year we have evolved this section of the Vision2020 framework from focussing on greener, more sustainable homes to reflecting our overall aim for each home; it must be well-designed, be of a high quality and be environmentally sound. These three elements are fundamental to our business strategy and are demanded by all of our stakeholders, from our customers to local and national government.
At Berkeley, quality is a priority, from choosing the right location and style of home, to the construction processes we practice, the materials we use and the specifications we put into those homes.
Our homes must be constructed to the highest quality standards and this requires a skilled workforce and attention to detail. To achieve this, the business builds strong, long term relationships with subcontractors and ensures all details are forward planned and well coordinated. Many checks are undertaken both throughout the build process and prior to handover to ensure a high quality finish has been achieved.
Our specifications are designed to meet the varied needs of all types of homebuyers, from luxurious houses to top quality key worker apartments. We listen to our customers throughout the build process to ensure we understand and deliver their individual requirements.
Unlike most major house builders, we do not have a standard product but use qualified architects to design each scheme, whether it consists of four or 4,000 homes. This tailored approach ensures that we deliver homes and communities that meet our customers' needs.
Together with excellent external design of the buildings and landscaping, we must ensure that the homes are comfortable places in which to live. Meeting applicable space standards is key, together with ensuring there is enough storage. In 2014 our Technical Committee will finalise Berkeley minimum standards for these factors, as well as for issues such as sound insulation and overheating. We are also committed to investigating indoor air quality; in 2013 we have installed air monitoring equipment at one of our sites to obtain data on real-life performance which we will then feed back into the design process.
Industry standards are also used as a guide to creating great homes; in 2013, 52% of our homes met the Lifetime Homes standard (2012: 44%) for adaptability and flexibility. To help stimulate discussions and debate around excellent design we opened five of our sites to the public during the London Festival of Architecture.
As well as ensuring a great home aesthetically and functionally, exceptional homes must also be environmentally sound, reducing the potential environmental impacts they have during their occupation in decades to come.
We believe that building greener homes as standard, rather than within one-off developments, provides us with market differentiation for our product; all of our new homes reach at least Code level 3 and are provided with efficient internal water fittings and recycling facilities as standard.
We pride ourselves on having led the way in our commitment to reach Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 on all new schemes from 2008. In 2013 77% of completed homes were certified using an environmental performance methodology and increasingly our new developments are targeting Code Level 4. 63% of our completed homes were provided with energy from renewable or low carbon technology i2013, up from 56% in 2012.
We continue to support the Government's move, to zero carbon and in 2013 commissioned experts to conduct research into the implications and practicalities of implementing this across our business.