Rise of the garden plot

Pressure on space across the country’s urban sites is encouraging developers to look carefully at alternative land for development.

With urban areas being dictated by lack of room, there is not a lot of space to play with. It means developers are constantly on the lookout for suitable brownfield sites or are thinking outside the box to make the best use of spare plots and includes a growing number of garden sites.

The benefits of using this sort of land are many. For one it eases pressure on greenfield land while providing much needed dwellings in town and city centres. Also, it uses, in many cases, brownfield land that has been left untouched by the owner, revitalising plots that are being put to much better use.

For builders looking to quote for these inner-urban projects, key to winning the work is the ability to advise on planning plus a vigorous pricing system that not only uses up-to-date material prices but factors tight schedules and delivery periods due to the lack of space for storage.

That’s the view of Joanna Mulgrew, director at HBXL.

She said: “With local authorities having to meet housing quotas, limited land is another factor in the rise of garden plots being used for small scale property development.

“It’s providing some excellent opportunities for builders with the know-how and knowledge to quote for these particular sites.

“When it comes to quoting for this type of work, those wanting to be in the box seat for these shovel ready sites should consider using PlansXpress and EstimatorXpress.

“Not only will they be able to provide architect quality plans and drawings – ideal for home owners trying to get planning permission – but they will also be able turn their estimates around quickly and accurately while providing work schedules which helps with the ordering of the correct amount of materials at the right time.

“This is crucial for sites where space is tight, so to demonstrate this to the client will go a long way to securing the work.”

The rise in garden plots is one area South West-based Helm Construction has stolen a march on its competition.

Active on a dozen brownfield sites across the greater Bristol area, the fast-growing firm is helping bring derelict or abandoned plots back into the public realm after years and even decades of standing empty.

Gary Sheppard, CEO at Helm said: “Developers are recognising our ability to deliver homes on the tightest urban sites – where you have to deliberately downsize the whole operating schedule in order to work within and alongside the community.


Gary Sheppard - Helm

“The Government’s call to activate brownfield sites has had an impact helping tackle our increasingly chronic housing shortage. This is especially true in Bristol which has a plentiful supply of brownfield sites.

“These inner city sites tend to be fairly restricted in terms of elbow room and this factor puts some builders off. The combination of very narrow streets, small build footprint and the sheer number of parked cars has to be factored in.

“For instance, we are frequently  unable to store  materials on  these sites so have had to work out complex delivery programmes designed to bring in exactly what the guys need on a day-by-day basis without causing undue upset to the neighbours.

“Using EstimatorXpress has helped us not only secure the job but provides us with material scheduling which is important for us to come in on time and budget.

“We’re adamant that we provide a true and accurate cost at the very beginning. If it means we come in more expensive than our competitors then so be it.

“Our reputation is built on delivering a service and doing what we say.  By providing a true and accurate cost at the very beginning not only builds trust but ensures that the client gets the build they asked for always at the price agreed.”