Our ‘Better Way to Live’ brand purpose permeates everything that we do as a business.
The homes and places Redrow creates are better by design; we are committed to creating better experiences for our customers and our colleagues; and our robust approach to sustainability, both within our own business and across our supply chain, reflects our desire to support and protect a better planet.
Throughout the first half of our financial year Redrow’s focus has been very much on doing things ‘better’, as well as delivering long term shareholder value – from pioneering trials to reduce the carbon footprint of our homes and providing our customers with more options to live a more sustainable life; to strengthening the relationships with our supply chain and inspiring our colleagues to play a supporting role in the communities where they live and work.
At all times, our ‘better way’ continues to be under-pinned by our three strategic commitments of Thriving Communities, Building Responsibly and Valuing People.
Redrow’s spacious, predominantly detached new homes lend themselves perfectly to the post-pandemic world.
NHBC said recently that detached houses are at their most popular since 2002 and an independent survey conducted by YouGov for Redrow reflected this, with 78% of people aspiring to live in a detached home. Those spending a greater amount of time at home, whether to work, socialise or relax, desire somewhere that’s quiet, more spacious and offers greater privacy.
A sense of space is intrinsic to Redrow’s homes and not just in the room sizes and layouts - we have the highest ceilings amongst our peers in the industry, along with taller doors, skirtings and architraves. We also provide the private outdoor space people want, including garages and off-road parking, plus ultrafast broadband as standard for working from home.
At a time when people may be feeling more vulnerable in their everyday lives and really need their home to be a sanctuary, our Arts & Crafts style Heritage Collection properties present a ‘familiarity’ that gives homeowners the sense of security, comfort and wellbeing they crave.
Inside there’s the all-important opportunity to personalise via My Redrow with a wide variety of standard choices, optional extras and upgrades, giving customers the home they want from day one instead of spending time, money, effort and energy doing up a second-hand property.
Our Lifestyle range - homes built with fewer, but larger and more luxurious bedrooms and each one en-suite - is particularly relevant at a time when pressures around housing availability have highlighted the impracticality of empty nesters ‘rattling round’ in houses that are too big. Our Lifestyle homes have been designed around them and their requirements; importantly they still offer plenty of space for entertaining and en-suite bedrooms that are perfect for guests.
As beautiful as they are, it’s vitally important that our homes give customers the opportunity to live more sustainable lives. We already offer a variety of options for people to add PV solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and other eco-friendly features to their home, while our established ‘fabric first’ approach produces homes which are already well insulated and energy efficient. However, with new Building Regulations due in June 2022, we are actively preparing our building specification to ensure the roofs, walls, floors windows and doors for all our new homes will meet the new Fabric Energy Efficiency Standards.
This last six months we have implemented a range of significant trials designed to strengthen our performance in this essential area and ensure our homes are ready for the forthcoming changes related to fuel, power and ventilation; and to meet the Government’s Future Homes Standard.
We believe that air source heat pumps will play an important role in delivering low-carbon heat in our future homes. We are collaborating with several major heat pump manufacturers to assess the practical and design implications of incorporating them into our homes and to understand the impact for future customers.
We are trialling the latest heat pump technology in a home at Great Milton Park in South Wales in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric. We will be monitoring the system for 12 months using specialist software. Additional trial plots are currently being designed in collaboration with other suppliers and these homes are due to be ready to be moved into in early 2022.
We have also finished building our gas-free, low-carbon smart home at Langley Grange, in West Yorkshire and the customers are due to move in imminently. The home utilises innovative technology, which is designed to turn any house into a sustainable, energy efficient home by using artificial intelligence and renewable energy. The system includes complete home automation, gas-free heating (including infrared heating panels and intelligent hot water cylinder), solar PV and battery storage solutions. The technology learns and works around occupants, observing how they live, which rooms they spend the most time in and how they use heating and lighting.
During the trial, the home will be paired with a ‘control’ house next door that has been built with a traditional gas boiler so we can observe a host of performance KPIs between the two homes. Data will be collected through smart meters, as well as advanced sensors which have been sensitively integrated into the light switches of both homes. We will conduct regular interviews with the customers to collect qualitative data and feedback so we can understand what it is like to live in the smart home. The 12-month monitoring phase will run from February 2022.
Already known for our strong sense of placemaking, under the umbrella of our Redrow 8 principles, we are refreshing how we can deliver sustainable and healthy communities addressing the current challenges of the climate emergency, Covid-19 and biodiversity loss.
We’ve begun scoping a ‘Learning from Lifestyles’ project which will seek to understand in detail what residents on our established communities feel about the place they live and what more we might do to create a sense of community. We will also focus on how we can work more effectively with existing communities in delivering the types of places that they would like to see by developing community collaboration techniques, as well as exploring the use of digital consultation techniques to capture the views of the ‘silent majority’.
Sustainable places: Our ‘Redrow 8’ commitments provide a framework for the delivery of beautiful, landscape-led communities where customers have the choice to lead more eco-conscious lifestyles; as well as the sustainable options we offer customers spacious homes and wherever possible we provide excellent walking and cycling connections to local destinations, and we provide tree-lined streets and great local green spaces which encourage walking and cycling.
Healthy places: These same eight principles also provide a framework for the creation of healthy places to live. Attractive tree-lined streets, biodiversity-rich spaces and ponds encourage all residents to exercise and spend time outside, which is good for both physical and mental health.
With the trend for more people working from home expected to continue, the concept of the ‘walkable community’ has become more desirable. We have responded in how we design our places by delivering local mini destinations in the form of ponds, nature areas, walking and running routes, outdoor gyms, community orchards and allotments. Our commitment to this was recognised with a Silver award for Best Public Realm at Caddington, Bedfordshire at the 2021 What House? Awards. Judges described it as: “Public realm as it should be, showcasing a commitment to environmental enhancement, but enhancing the value of the new homes and the wider community too.”
Nature rich places: Our Nature for People Strategy provides a framework for the delivery of biodiversity net gain as well as creating great places for people and wildlife to thrive. Our new Landscape Manual provides comprehensive guidance to our teams on the delivery of tree-lined streets, attractive front gardens as well as beautiful, nature-rich ponds and open spaces.
We have also been reviewing our approach to landscaping and will be designing our developments with more natural landscaping and planting designs. Part of this process will involve the creation of more meadow areas, which support a wide variety of wildlife and play a part in helping us achieve that biodiversity net gain. We have two trial projects underway from which we hope to learn more about local community expectations and opinions with respect to meadows, aesthetics and amenity. These projects will also help us develop our communication strategy with our communities so there is a deeper understanding of what to expect from meadow areas year-round, how they are managed and the benefits they bring.
Ensuring our homes truly represent ‘A Better Way to Live’ requires quality input from the start and at every stage of the build process, supported by technical innovation and buy-in from our supply chain.
Technology such as our Red SMI bespoke site manager inspection app, inter-linked with our Red Inspection Portal and Subcontractor Portal, continues to innovate our inspection process and is a significant driving force behind the quality of our homes. The nine mandatory construction inspections allow our teams to address any defects before each property is checked by our independent warranty providers and local authority building control, with the ultimate aim of handing over a totally defect-free home to our customers.
Further supporting this aim and fostering accountability, our divisional construction teams have now taken ownership of closing down items from the Customer Service Manager inspections, the customer’s home preview and the three-week courtesy check. This enables the teams to proactively monitor defects that are outstanding and action them swiftly.
From July 2021, all sites will now have two construction quality reviews carried out by NHBC each year. This ensures a more consistent overview of the quality on each site throughout the year and, combined with new robust scoring targets, we will have clearer oversight of the quality on our sites.
Our commitment to the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) continues and we remain in partnership with them as they refine their scheme. Our hard work is now paying off as scores are coming in above target and sites are achieving awards of compliance and excellence.
In September, we released details of a new design for our site offices and compounds, with a modular approach that features areas for collaborative working and continual personal development. Now being trialled on a live site, this new design meets many of the CCS environmental criteria and is a thoughtful, inclusive and suitable place of work for our employees and supply chain. The improved working areas, welfare, storage and materials areas are all conducive to ensuring the overall quality of our finished product and the well-being of everyone on site.
Our ‘Buildability and Waste Workshops’ have already proved a great forum for looking at how we can build our homes better, faster, more cost effectively, whilst producing less waste and being more sustainable throughout the process. For example, we have introduced subtle changes which mean we can successfully reduce the amount of off-cuts in timber and plasterboard, whilst still maintaining the integrity of our homes and continuing to be the market leader in areas such as floor to ceiling heights. We have launched a Waste & Resource Efficiency Policy and work continues to manage the number of waste contractors we use to ensure better cost control, consistency in service and improved data to measure efficiencies and reductions.
A further key area of focus is Modern Methods of Construction with particular considerations for which elements of our homes could be manufactured off-site and how this would affect our carbon footprint, cost and speed of build. We have introduced a new range of contemporary house types to complement our existing portfolio, which has been designed with off-site manufacture as one of the key drivers.
Health, Safety & Environmental (HS&E) standards and our overall HS&E strategy continue to be promoted throughout the business to increase their visibility and highlight their importance, with a key focus on checking competencies of all of our contractors prior to them starting work on site. Our continued focus has seen a marked reduction in the number of both serious injuries and/or serious environmental incidents that have occurred in the first half of this operating year compared with the same period last year. We constantly monitor and follow guidance on Covid-19 working requirements in England and Wales to keep our customers, employees and supply chain safe.
We continue to collaborate and support industry and sector wide campaigns such as the ‘Stop. Make a Change’ health and well-being campaign, supported by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the House Builders Federation (HBF). Having run the campaign for the specified two weeks in October, we expanded it as our own internal HS&E focus for our Q2 period of October to December.
Delivering better homes, better places and a better customer experience is only possible through the quality of our people and the strength of our talent development programme.
Since the launch last year of our ambitious Redrow 2025 vision – which was preceded by the biggest team consultation in our history – we have made significant progress to deliver on some of those promises; from the creation of a new ‘agile office’ concept to support truly flexible working, to all the groundwork for the launch of our new volunteering policy, at the same time ensuring a continuous focus on the health and well-being of all colleagues.
Out in the field, our new compound office design will provide capacity for on-site employees to do eLearning and join webinars. There is also greater opportunity for those who normally work in a divisional office to operate seamlessly from site for at least some of their working week.
There are more open plan and communal spaces for team working and collaboration, fewer director and management offices, and the inclusion of mini pod spaces for employees who need private areas for video conference calls. Everything from the materials to the colours has been chosen to support employee health and well-being, with different tones and textures in different areas to inspire concentration, confidence, creativity or calm.
We've developed a new agile office concept which boasts a higher specification and the flexibility to allow us to work effectively and efficiently in a smaller floorspace. It has been developed initially for our new Southern division covering Surrey and Sussex, which will become fully operational later this year.
We launched our new volunteering programme on 1 January 2022, which ‘gifts’ every employee two volunteering days each calendar year that can be used for an individual or group volunteering project. For year one we’ve called it the ‘1,000 Days Campaign’ and are hoping to have at least 1,000 volunteering days booked and used by the end of December 2022.
Our divisions are encouraged to organise their own volunteering projects, supporting a mix of community projects (eg. community gardening, litter picking) and educational projects (eg. helping a disadvantaged school with a building project or skills mentoring.) Individuals will be able to use their volunteering days to support the divisional project or for an activity of their own choosing.
The health and well-being programme that was expanded during the pandemic, as we helped our employees adapt to home working, furlough and / or periods of isolation, has continued to evolve to support a pattern of more flexible working. Our monthly newsletters and fortnightly webinars have kept colleagues informed, involved and inspired.
Webinars over the last six months have covered a wide range of inclusive topics - including dealing with baby loss, bullying and cyber bullying of children, and prevention of breast and testicular cancer - and been delivered by a variety of partner organisations, including charities and professional service providers.
Sessions which proved to be particularly popular have included an NSPCC-delivered webinar on supporting children’s mental health; a session hosted by the Andy’s Man Club charity, which runs talking groups for men who have been or are going ‘through a storm’; and a Carers UK webinar explaining the support they can offer our employees who also have a caring role. Since the latter, we’ve had a number of employees come forward to talk about their personal experience of being a carer and ways in which we can support them.
Our pension providers, Legal and General, have run information-based pension webinars aimed at our youngest team members, including apprentices, trainees and graduates, as well as pre-retirement advice sessions for those closer to the end of their working lives.
Redrow’s commitment to inspiring the next generation to build has earned industry recognition, winning the ‘Best Recruitment or Training Initiative’ title at the 2021 Housebuilder Awards. This award recognised the impact of our inclusive training programmes for post-graduates, as well as our own sponsored degree programme which is open to A-Level school leavers.
Since making the successful Housebuilder Awards submission we’ve recruited a further 14 rotational graduates to our revamped Future Leaders programme, who will be mentored by our divisional managing directors. All 14 will undertake six-month rotation in three out of four business areas of their interest, choosing from Construction, Land, Technical and Commercial. The vast majority of recruits have studied a construction related subject.
We’ve also taken on an additional ten department specific graduates to a variety of roles, including Group IT, Group Customer & Marketing, Group Construction, Land and Technical.
Over 90% of customers continue to tell us via the NHBC survey* that they would recommend us to a friend or family member, supported by our Excellent rating on Trustpilot.
Never resting we remain strongly focused on continuous improvement so that we always hand over homes with zero defects and we are undertaking research to see how we can make our customer service even better.
Working with The Institute of Customer Service, we have surveyed** 6,500 private customers still in their warranty period, achieving a response rate of just over 20%. These responses provide a benchmark against the UK Customer Satisfaction Index, which will be reviewed annually as we look to improve the service we offer once our customers move into their new homes. In particular, we have been focused on improving complaint handling and making the process easier for customers when contacting us.
Our website now gives customers clear and transparent information about our complaint handling policy, which has been simplified to reduce the number of stages. It is supported by an animated film and a downloadable PDF step-by-step guide, which both explain the help available.
Our new Group Resolution team works alongside our divisional customer service teams to monitor customer complaints across the business and provide valuable insight into areas that could be improved and trends that affect our customers. We can then work collaboratively with other functions and departments within Redrow to spot opportunities to be better and, ultimately, ensure we ‘get it right first time’. This team also actively manages our online customer service and works alongside empowered colleagues - our ‘Reputation Army’ - in Group Communications and at divisional level, to communicate with customers on our social channels and enable a swift reply to any issues raised.
The introduction of the New Homes Ombudsman is a positive for our industry and we have actively engaged with the New Homes Quality Board throughout consultation on the new consumer code which is due early 2022. We have volunteered to trial the new systems so we can ensure we are ready for the new ways of working.
Our unique Redrow systems, including mobile apps for Build, Sales and Customer Service, are continually being updated to achieve the high standards we demand in our drive to achieve zero defect homes; and our new Homeowner Support module within My Redrow was deemed Best Customer Satisfaction Initiative at the 2021 Housebuilder Awards.
Extending the value of My Redrow beyond completion and supporting customers after they have moved into their new home, this bespoke system serves as a self-help tool; offering informative video content and guides for customers to manage their new home. It also allows them to log any defects they may find. Over 90% of customers now use this platform to report an issue to us and the self-help element has contributed to a reduction in the number of items reported.
Following a successful trial, customer communication videos are now being delivered across the whole business. These are carried out by all customer-facing colleagues in our Sales, Build and Customer Services teams and customers love them. From putting a name to a face before a meeting or showcasing a house that is for sale, to the all-important ‘Hard Hat’ tour during the construction period, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Almost 1,500 videos were initially sent and there were more than 2,000 viewings in a six-week period.
* National new home customer satisfaction survey published March 2021
** Redrow benchmarked with July 2021 UKCSI results
The social and environmental impact of our business has never been more important. From setting out our ambition to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050 and working towards all our new developments achieving a minimum 10% biodiversity net gain, to improving our resource efficiency and driving further improvements in our ESG performance, these areas are pivotal to Redrow’s better future.
In September 2021 we set an ambitious target to achieve Net Zero Carbon across the whole business and supply chain by 2050. In pursuit of this:
- We have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) highest business ambition of pursuing efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C
- We are setting interim, science-based targets across scopes 1, 2, and 3 in 2022
- The work to complete this is well underway through collaboration with colleagues across the business and with our supply chain
- Redrow has joined the UNFCCC Race to Zero, becoming one of 3,000 companies globally committing to setting more ambitious climate targets
- The Carbon Trust have been appointed to help Redrow model its targets and develop its approach to meeting this strategy
Playing a key role in this wider challenge and preparing us for the Future Homes Standard, will be the important trials discussed that are already underway; our gas-free, low-carbon home in West Yorkshire and the electric air source heat pump installation in South Wales.
In the NextGeneration annual sustainability benchmarking (The 2021 Next Generation Benchmark) of the UK’s top 25 housebuilders, Redrow was awarded Silver, ranked fourth overall. Assessors commended our high level of transparency, showing us positively in terms of environmental disclosure.
Other awards have included a Bronze accolade at the Global Good Awards for our ‘Reduce the Rubble’ campaign, with judges recognising it as “an important project to drive better performance, and evidence of education through the research itself.”
Redrow welcomes the passing of the Environment Act into law, requiring a mandatory biodiversity net gain of 10% for all new developments, along with the introduction of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS). This gives us a clear method by which we will be able to measure, improve, monitor and report-on biodiversity for our new developments.
The 15 commitments made in our Nature for People biodiversity strategy provide a firm basis for this and we have developed a new ‘biodiversity net gain ready-reckoner’ to enable our teams to assess risks and opportunities for nature at the earliest possible stages of land purchase. Factoring biodiversity into purchase decisions and early layout reviews is essential in securing the best outcomes for nature.
During the half year we have strengthened our supply chain policy with further prohibitions and inclusions on environmental risk, resource efficiency, climate change and carbon. We have also reviewed and strengthened the terms of reference of our Placemaking and Sustainability Committee and are focusing on improving the quality of data for how we measure the energy efficiency and carbon performance of our homes.
Our focus on Building Responsibly and Valuing People, whilst delivering Thriving Communities, is what underpins the Redrow difference. At the same time, we continue to innovate and improve to ensure that our high-quality homes and places continue to create a Better Way to Live for our customers and communities.