Monthly Archives

September 2020

sam-howard-magnet-capital

Magnet Capital marches through May with new business

By Blog, Development Finance, Opinion

Record level of new loans signed up in May 2020

 

Magnet Capital recorded its best month since its 2018 launch, with the highest level of new business written. Both enquiries and written business have risen with an 33% increase on the prior year.

 

Magnet Capital has benefited from its consistent approach to lending, which has not changed significantly through the pandemic, and continuing its approach of funding the right housing in the right locations.  It has completed on loans in March and April (including its largest loan to date, drawing down in April) and welcomed new business.

 

Sam Howard, Managing Director says “We have thrived in May by being open for business during this difficult period. Whereas other lenders immediately pulled down the shutters, our cautious lending model and years of experience enabled us to make sensible funding decisions, limiting potential exposure but continuing to lend.

 

We have a mantra in the office to be the tortoise not the hare and not to bite off more than we can chew. We understand how much value our borrower and broker partners place on consistency and reliability and this is what long term relationships are built on. In these tough times this is certainly bearing fruit.

 

We are delighted but not surprised with the recent numbers. Whilst the UK continues to suffer from the Covid 19 outbreak and arguably until we have vaccine, life will not return to the normal, there is a real sense that people want to get on with their lives. The fatigue of the Brexit years plus the seismic shock of the pandemic, has taken its toll but SME developers are seeing beyond this and thinking 15 to 18 months into the future. On that journey and beyond, we will continue to be their partner “

homes-in-neighbourhood

Government Announces £30m Funding Boost to Acquire Land for New Homes

By Blog, Development Finance

The UK government has recently announced that a funding boost of £30 million will be used to unlock surplus public sector land. This land will be used to build new homes whilst also supporting local economies during this turbulent period of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

This announcement was made at the annual conference for the Chartered Institute of Housing, Lord Agnew – cabinet office minister – stating that the government will be boosting its One Public Estate (OPE) programme as well as its Land Release Fund (LRF).

 

Those in the industry, have provided interesting responses to this new announcement,  including the likes of ilke Homes executive chairman David Sheridan, who has stated: “I welcome the government’s efforts to release surplus land for housing as part of a boost to its Land Release Fund and One Public Estate Programme.”

 

“However, to really kickstart a housing boom, government policy should be more ambitious. Ministers must be proactive in bringing land forward and designating parcels exclusively for factory- built homes.”

 

“This will help accelerate the pace of housing procurement and delivery in the UK – cutting construction programmes by almost half – which will be pivotal to any post-Covid-19 recovery plans.”

 

“Housing associations have a key role to play in using their own funds and their own land to boost the supply of affordable housing and should be encouraged to collaborate closely with Homes England and other stakeholders.”

 

One Public Estate – £10 million will be provided through this programme, helping to support early stages of development.

 

Through this programme, partnerships both new and already existing will have the opportunity to bid for support in delivering ambitious programmes – these programmes concerned around the deliverance of homes, jobs and improved public services.

 

The Land Release Fund – £20 million will be provided through the LRF, of which councils will have the opportunity to bid for to develop their surplus sites for housing.

 

The LRF targets specifically small sites, its support focused around SME builders.

 

Chairman of the Local Government Association, Councillor James Jamieson, has stated the following on the matter:

 

“Councils continue to lead their communities through the coronavirus crisis, working closely with other local partners including health and emergency services.”

 

“One Public Estate will play a crucial role as we move into the next phase and help with the local and national economic recovery.”

 

“This additional funding will support councils to make better use of their assets, including their spare land and property, to help join up local services.”

 

“This in turn will create new savings and efficiencies, as we look towards the future of local public services after the pandemic.”

eco-friendly-hand

Net-Zero Building Standards Don’t Have to Be Costly – Study Reveals

By Blog, Development Finance

A new report published by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) reveals that building to net-zero targets doesn’t have to be costly, and could likely enhance a project’s value.

 

The report by the UK Green Building Council, titled “Building the case for net-zero: A feasibility study into the design, delivery and cost of new net-zero carbon buildings”, explores implications of following net-zero standards throughout building development projects.

 

To help with this exploration, the report enlisted the help of designers, cost consultants and engineers, whose expert inputs have helped to create a clear look into applying net-zero targets to building projects.

 

The UKGBC Study

Throughout the study, two real-life building projects were examined, both at the design stages of their development, with one being a residential block, and the other being an office building.

 

Taking these two projects, the team then created two additional iterations to each of their designs, one aiming to meet the net-zero targets for 2025, and the other shaped by the targets for 2030. These two iterations were labelled the “intermediate” and “stretch” scenario respectively.

 

For the “intermediate” scenario of the residential block’s design, traditional gas boilers were replaced with air source heat pumps, in addition to other tactics to improve insulation and minimise heat loss.

 

In the same scenario, the office building design was altered by trading in the conventional structure of steel and concrete for a hybrid of steel and cross-laminated timber, as well as introducing active chilled beams and removing certain fitout finishes.

 

The Findings

 

For the “intermediate” scenario, aiming to meet the net-zero 2025 targets, analysis found that the cost only went up by 3.5% for the residential design, and 6.2% for the office building. It was also suggested that these costs were likely to be offset by the increased value and reduced costs for operating.

 

For the “stretch” scenario, analysis found that the cost for the residential building would be up by 5.3%, whilst the office building could range from between 8% and 17%.

 

Chief executive of the UKGBC Julie Hirigoyen commented: “We’ve known for some time that taking action to make buildings greener today will add value and save costs in the longer term. But the precise cost benefit analysis of achieving net-zero carbon standards on new buildings today has remained elusive.”

 

“This study provides long-awaited evidence that building today to the standards of energy and carbon efficiency required by 2025 doesn’t have to cost a fortune and is likely to be offset by enhanced value (e.g. higher rents, reduced running costs, higher sale price, reduced offsetting costs etc) in due course.”

construction-worker-with-plans

CHAS and NFB Help to Raise UK Construction Standards With Renewed Partnership

By Blog, Development Finance

The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) and the National Federation of Builders (NFB) have recently renewed their partnership, committing to the promotion of high operating standards throughout the industry.

 

The NFB represents builders and regional contractors throughout both England and Wales. It is one of the country’s longest standing trade bodies, created to not only represent professions in building, but furthermore to improve the conditions NFB members need to contribute to a successful UK economy.

 

CHAS managing director Ian McKinnon has made the following comments on the partnership:

 

“We are delighted to be renewing this important partnership which will help construction firms of all sizes demonstrate compliance and build their businesses.”

 

“Both CHAS and the NFB have gone from strength to strength since we first joined forces in 2018 so it is exciting to be able to bring an even greater range of benefits to our respective memberships.”

 

What Does the Renewed Partnership Include?

 

Through the NFB’s membership with CHAS, they will be eligible for assessment to the new Common Assessment Standard.

 

The Common Assessment Standard has been built with the aim of standardising the prequalification process, enabling both contractors and their clients to improve the efficiency of supply chains and find business opportunities that are reliable.

 

This standard helps companies to attain compliance and accreditation easier than before. These standards streamline the supply chain of construction, and is known as the “gold standard” throughout the industry.

 

CHAS will also enable NFB members to demonstrate their commitment of operating with high ethical, safe and sustainable standards. This opportunity will be provided to the NFB by CHAS through third party accreditation packages.

 

As part of the partnership agreement, CHAS will also offer all valid members of the NFB a discount of 20%. Contractors part of the NFB will be visible to CHAS’s 1,500+ clients via their client portal upon order purchase/accreditation.

 

In return for this, the NFB will offer CHAS contractors a discount of up to 10% when joining. This discount will also be offered for renewals following their joining, providing contractors with a range of benefits such as business services and training support.

 

The NFB’s chief executive Richard Beresford has been reported to comment: “We are very happy to be renewing this agreement with CHAS which will help our members’ businesses prosper while opening up a range of benefits to CHAS members.”