We have divided the Knowledge section into Publications and Resources

Publications are formal reports or good-practice guidance documents that we have either authored and published ourselves, or written on behalf of a client, who has been published it.

The Resources section contains additional material that may be of use to you. Typically it comes from presentations to conferences seminars and is less formal than publications.

For comment and opinion, please go to the Blog page.

The rest of this page lists out all the Knowledge content, both publications and resources:

Reasons to use a Method (processes, procedures and standard templates)

I thought it might be helpful if I outlined the benefits of using a standard Method. The following isn’t just my own personal opinion, it is what is taught under the Association for Project Management’s (APM) syllabus for their Project Management Qualification, and internationally recognised professional qualification. As I expect you know, the APM is …Read More »

Good faith in construction contracts

From Designing Buildings Wiki 28th Nov 2019 An obligation for parties to act in ‘good faith’ is not generally implied in commercial contracts. However, both standard form construction contracts and bespoke contracts commonly include clauses that require the parties to act in ‘good faith’ or may refer to ‘mutual trust’, ‘cooperation’, ‘respect’ or ‘collaboration’, or there may be some form of collaboration charter associated with contracts such as partnering agreements. However, there …Read More »

Study Material for Development Staff

I spent the first 15 years or so of my life in HA Development learning on the job. Then I started reading and discovered how much faster one can learn, and how very slow on-the-job learning tends to be. I quite often mention this on training courses. So I’m sometimes asked what reading I’d recommend for …Read More »

Reasonable endeavours or best endeavours?

What is the difference between signing up to a “reasonable endeavours” obligation on the contract, and promising to make “best endeavours”? This article from Estates Gazette makes it clear. To summarise, promising to use “reasonable endeavours” to do something means that you should try, but do not have to exhaust all possible ways of achieving …Read More »

Housing Shortage – Planners or Housebuilders fault?

This interesting piece of research from civet us suggests that the common conventional wisdom that the housing shortage is primarily caused by the planning system, may well be wrong. It highlights the increasing discrepancy between the number of homes permissioned, and those built. it also points to the likelihood that the culprits are often neither …Read More »

Getting more affordable housing – a long-term solution?

The National Housing Federation’s London Development Conference was, as usual, thought provoking. We all know that the prospects for affordable housing – I use the term correctly, not in the Newspeak manner of recent years – is bleak, especially for affordable rented housing. So it was cheering to hear influential speakers talk about the need …Read More »

Overview of valuation methods

Here are another very useful couple of articles from the Estates Gazette’s series “Mainly for Students”. These two articles provide an overview of the 5 main valuation methods, focusing on the single most important one – the Comparative Method. These articles will be of use to Development & Regeneration staff who wants to gain some …Read More »

Magna Carta – property rights led to freedom, human rights & democracy?

An interesting and entertaining article in the Estates Gazette highlights that Magna Carta forms the basis for the establishment of secure property rights in this country. Meanwhile, on the BBC Radio 4 programme Point of View, Prof Roger Scruton, philosopher, considers the underlying institutions needed for democracy, human rights and freedom to exist in a country, …Read More »

Valuation: the normal margin of error

This article from Estates Gazette is a couple of years old, but still provides a useful description of the “expected” margin of error valuations. Valuation room for error To summarise, even for everyday street properties, of which there are many comparables, a difference of 5% between the valuer’s opinion and the price realised is considered …Read More »

How are land deals structured?

This is a short note about the various types of structures that can be used to buy or sell land, and some of their pros and cons. This should be useful for all Development/Regeneration staff who are involved in buying land directly from landowners, or who may be dealing with other players in the land …Read More »

Planning limitations vs conditions

See this useful attached article from the splendid Estates Gazette Practice & Law section last month. In short, the description of the planning permission granted may purport to limit what’s built, but unless the permission ALSO has a condition to the same effect, the “limitation” in the permission description may not be enforceable. So, if …Read More »

London Housing Standards report published

We were commissioned by the Greater London Authority to review the standards of housing being developed in London in 2009/2010 i.e. before the GLA published their Interim London Housing Design Guide. The purpose of the study was to take a snapshot of pre-Guide housing standards so that future studies would show the effect of the …Read More »

5 things you should know about…Wikis

Wikis are powerful communication tools that can also be used for other purposes such as technical authoring. We use a wiki to provide Development Procedures that are particularly flexible, and user-friendly. We think that their use will grow rapidly over the next few years. Nearly everybody is familiar with Wikipedia, but we thought it would …Read More »

Room to Swing A Cat?

This HATC-funded piece of research investigated the amount and use of space in new dwellings in London & the South East. We measured up the plans of 90 dwellings then being marketed in London and the south-east and analysed how the space was used. This included looking at the range of dwelling sizes, how much …Read More »

Funding the Future

In this presentation to the Pamwin Conference 2009 we were asked to gaze into our crystal ball to see how the public subsidy system may change after the 2008/11 period. The presentation looked at historical trends in the subsidy system to identify the trajectory. In concluding that we would be moving from a grant-based system …Read More »

Competing For Skills – Preparing For The Upturn

This is a presentation to the NHF’s July 2009 Development & Regeneration Conference. The brief was to consider how changes in the shape of HA affordable housing programmes will affect demand for Development / Regeneration staff over the next 5 years. Our prediction was that Government subsidy would fall sharply but we would still be …Read More »

Developing Affordable Housing

Developing Affordable Housing is  the standard text for Development or Regeneration team members, or for others who wish to understand the process, such as Directors and Board members. It is a comprehensive starter-guide to commissioning & building new homes. Commissioned and published by the National Housing Federation, the first edition was written by Richard Broomfield. …Read More »

Resident Satisfaction with Space in the Home

This report was commissioned by CABE in 2009. Written by Andrew Drury of HATC Ltd with support from Gary Welch and Nick Allen of Ipsos-MORI, it gives the results of a postal survey of 11,000 households in London and south-east probing their levels of satisfaction with the variety of aspects of the space in their …Read More »

Achieving Building for Life

In 2007 the Housing Corporation introduced the Building for Life criteria as part of their compliance requirements set out in Design & Quality Standards. This emphasis on urban design was new to housing associations, and so we were commissioned to prepare a “how-to” guide, explaining the background to each of the Building for Life questions, …Read More »

Guide to Standards & Quality in Development

First published in 1998 by the NHF, the second edition of this seminal good-practice design guide was published in 2008. Heavily used throughout the affordable housing sector by architects, housing association Development teams and builders, it has been very influential. It is available from the RIBA Bookshop, or from the National Housing Federation.