Corporate, Social, Ethical and Environmental Responsibilities
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. Our ongoing 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. Inland ensures that sites are used to benefit community initiatives, such as at Wilton Park where the site is used for Air Cadet training. At Brooklands College, we contributed financially and used our expertise to ensure the community gym was maintained at the site until it could be relocated, saving it from closing down (read more in the case study). This is one of many examples of Inland as a company going above and beyond to support local communities, and a similar attitude is seen within our team, such as the nine colleagues who tackled the tricky 5k Colour Rush Obstacle Run, raising over £10,000 for local hospice charity Shooting Star Chase.
Maintaining strong relationships with our customer groups, homeowners and developers is key to the sustainability of our agile business model. 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.
When sales are made to developers, we retain them as partners in the development of the site, co-ordinating over branding and ensuring the site retains a clear identity. The intimate insight we achieve into the site and local community remains a key source of knowledge for developers, and they continue to receive value from us as we advise and collaborate on the project.
The relationship with homeowners also continues after the sale of a house, with close monitoring and support provided, and customer feedback used in future projects.
Customer testimonial carter’s quay
EVERY DAY IS A HOLIDAY AT CARTER'S QUAY, POOLE
When retiree Valerie Rossides decided to downsize from her home of 40 years in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, she wanted a fresh, new start. Little did she know she would end up feeling like she was on a permanent holiday.
"My son has a boat building workshop over the bridge in Poole and I decided to move to be nearer to him," Valerie explains. "I looked at a few places nearby and then walked into the show house at Inland Homes' Carter's Quay. Straight away I was 100% sure that this was the place for me."
Valerie instantly realised the benefit of living close to Poole town centre. "Carter's Quay is so close to the waterside and everything the town has to offer," she says.
Having moved from a large house with a big garden which had become a chore rather than a pleasure, she loved the fact that her home was fresh and new and she could move in with minimum hassle. "The layout is very well thought out and I loved the kitchen/diner and the fact that I could have my family sitting with me when cooking in the kitchen," she explains. "I wanted three bedrooms so I could have a spare room for when people come and stay and also a study, so it's perfect."
"I have since learned that the houses can very easily be converted into four bedrooms, as the loft is enormous and comes fitted with electricity and provision for Velux windows," she adds.
Since Valerie moved in she has been delighted by the friendliness of the new community at Carter's Quay. "All the people living here are so welcoming. I even know of one family who are so happy here that other family members are moving here too! It's been a fantastic way to meet new people when you are moving somewhere completely new. I really do feel like I am on holiday every day!"
Health and safety
In the 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. All projects are now required to appoint a 'lead designer', who amongst other duties must "plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project" and "provide relevant information to the principal contractor to help them plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the construction phase" (HSE CDM 2015). Over the last year, we have focused on training to accommodate these new policies. Our integrated business model, and ownership of projects from conception to completion means we are able to fulfil these regulations, and are able to naturally appoint a 'lead designer' from our skilled team to ensure all necessary health and safety procedures are instigated at the earliest stages of the project, and followed through on. Our internal focus on health and safety, combined with the wide pool of external experts we draw upon for advice, means we are positioned to achieve a high standard health and safety design and planning.
The uplift in the economy and booming housing industry in recent years has placed more pressure on material and labour supplies, and as such, prices have risen. Achieving a steady supply of resources at competitive prices is a challenge for all housebuilders. We pride ourselves on reliability, transparency, and the ability to build and maintain strong relationships with strategic partners. The relationships we have nurtured with contractors in the past are now supporting us through this period, as contractors know that they will get a fair deal and so continue to work with us. Our legacy of fairness and honesty means that our ongoing relationships help us to maintain an even and sustainable supply chain despite market fluctuations.
Additionally, there are broad challenges to the sustainability of the industry as a whole, with limited labour availability and a lack of skilled workers. We are committed to contributing to the future of housebuilding, and require contractors to include apprentices in projects, to ensure new talent develops. Internally there is also a strong focus on training, to support future generations of planners and land buyers.
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.
Our efforts to achieve sustainable builds have been recognised in recent awards. Prestigious prizes have included the Thames Valley Property Awards House Builder of the Year 2015, as well as awards for specific projects such as Drayton Garden Village, which was commended for the Sunday Times British Homes Awards 'Development of the Year' (100+ houses) 2014 and awarded the WhatHouse 'Best Landscape Design' 2014 silver prize. The WhatHouse judges were particularly impressed by the planting used to encourage ecological protection, and the site-wide water management strategy in the communal spaces and gardens, deeming the development "a refreshing example of what can be achieved".
We pride ourselves on our open, supportive and caring atmosphere. 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 think our colleagues can explain this best:
There is a strong sense of teamwork throughout the Company across the various departments, and as a relatively new member of the team it has been great to be able to draw upon the Directors' vast experience.
Rob Stone, Assistant Project Manager
Inland trust their employees with the opportunity to take on as much workload as they can handle which in turn offers a chance to progress within the Company.
Chloe Knights, Sales & Marketing Administrator
I am currently studying CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), which Inland are fully funding. By studying CIMA, I am gaining greater knowledge and experience which enhances my work performance and progresses my career."
Amanda Billins, Assistant Accountant
I am studying ACCA, supported by Inland Homes, in order to further my career in accountancy and to be more productive in my role.
Rob Williams, Management Accountant
Received Thames Valley Property Awards
— House Builder of the year
Homes & property best regeneration highly commended Drayton Garden Village
Carter's Quay development of the year
Best Brownfield — Carter's Quay;
Best House — Drayton Garden Village;
Best Apartment — West Plaza;
Best Mixed Use — Drayton Garden Village.
Best Medium Housebuilder
silver best landscaping Drayton Garden Village
Drayton Garden Village development of the year
West Plaza, Ashford highly commended development of 51+ units
best regeneration highly commended Drayton Garden Village