Excellent Homes For Life PFI, Kirklees - Wates

Landmark affordable and extra care housing programme in Kirklees

Watson Batty Architects
Total number of homes
Local employment opportunities created

The Kirklees Excellent Homes for Life PFI was delivered in partnership between Kirklees Council and the JLW consortium (Wates Residential North and John Laing,) which undertook the contract for the construction of 466 new homes across Kirklees and the provision for both management and maintenance services over a 20-year period.

Wates Residential North was the design and build contractor which delivered the homes across 27 individual rural and urban sites spread throughout the Kirklees Council operating area. The project incorporated 326 one and two-bedroom homes (twostorey apartments) for small households, with 35 homes specifically designed for wheelchair users. 140 Extra Care homes were also delivered across three developments, providing much needed new homes for the older people of Kirklees.

The overarching requirement of Kirklees Council was to deliver the maximum amount of properties on a set and limited budget. This did not mean a reduction in quality, but utilised all achievable savings as an opportunity to deliver more homes for the same investment. As such, Wates Residential North took the lead in developing innovative strategies to deliver genuine savings without affecting final quality of the new homes. Products, specifications and layouts were standardised, creating a portfolio of standard house types which ensured time and cost efficiency across each of the 27 sites.

Project delivery approach

A key element of our delivery programme strategy was to start and complete a small, low-value pilot site of just four units. This proved a valuable exercise in lessons learnt and understanding required delivery standards, particularly in relation to handover.

The project-specific delivery process was then refined and tailored for each site. In addition, we also implemented the following initiatives:

  • Constructed a test building to identify interface and buildability issues of proposed designs. This enabled design alterations prior to starting on site
  • Implemented a timber frame solution across the programme, delivering significant capital savings whilst maintaining quality standards
  • Full ground investigation surveys were carried out and remediation works were undertaken as an enabling package prior to construction, helping to avoid delays and disruption
  • Established and developed excellent relationships with all partners to ensure processes were sensibly managed, avoiding conflict and ensuring handovers were accepted. All 466 properties were handed over ahead of schedule
  • Extensive value engineering with the client team prior to signing contracts, generating significant savings. The total number of units was reduced from 550 to 466, with the four most expensive-to-build sites removed from the project to provide the most economical solution

Community investment

The project delivered wide-reaching social value outcomes, which were actively measured throughout the contract.

  • 49 apprentices
  • 313 local employment opportunities created
  • 12 young people engaged through Princes Trust learning programmes
  • 11 local jobseekers engaged on Wates Building Futures training programme
  • 15 professional qualifications supported
  • 97% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • Winner of three Considerate Constructors National Site Awards
  • 30 SME sub-contractors on Wates supply chain (14 Kirklees-based)
  • £34,100 in staff time donated to support 12 community projects
  • 2013 Winner of CIOBs Committed to Corporate Responsibility Award
"'Excellent homes for life' responds significantly to the growing need for affordable housing in Kirklees and its great that its also benefiting the local economy. id like to thank our partners for their hard work.
Councillor Peter McBride
Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills, Transportation and Planning, Kirklees Council

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