Challenges facing property developers by Live In Developments
PUBLISHED: 10:37 20 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:15 20 May 2016
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Property development in the UK has remained one of the most contested industries on the social agenda, causing a butting of heads in the civil and political spheres. Dan Eccles, managing director at Cheshire-based Live in Developments, gives us the lowdown on the main challenges facing them now
Since its coming of age in the 19th century, property development has become one of our strongest and most lucrative industries. But like most success stories, it doesn’t come without its fair share of hindrances in the form of rules and regulations to steady the pace of large and small-scale projects alike. Dan Eccles of Live In Developments gives us an insightful glimpse into the challenges he has faced as a developer working in the private sector, but not before he reminds me that he’s ‘a developer, not a builder’. Laughing off any suggestion of rancour between developers and builders, Dan reassures me that he uses this distinction to better elucidate between the two professions, and curb the common misconception that they are one and the same: ‘the service we offer is completely different to that of a builder or a chain development company. We are a bespoke one-to-one consultancy that guides you through every stage of your design and construction process.’
But of the hurdles to cross (and how to cross them) Dan narrows it down to three main points to be wary of when planning your dream development. ‘Number one is to plan well ahead’ Dan explains. It may sound simple, but when scheduling a new build or renovation job, bumps in the road need to be taken into account for before they’ve even happened – and he’s not being neurotic; planning applications and approvals are a lengthy - and at worse - belligerent process, to say the least. Mani Khiyora of London-based firm Fruition Properties blames the current planning system for being ‘sluggish’ and even ‘monolithic’ in its attitude towards modern initiatives by smaller enterprises, not just slowing up the development process for clients, but also discouraging smaller developers from setting up shop altogether. But whilst not being put off by the slow process as an independent proprietor, Dan (who has 16 years’ worth of experience in the industry: 10 in construction and a further six before those in design) advises that to handle the system and get a project completed to term, his team need to be drafted in at least eight weeks before the builder fires up the cement mixer. ‘We aim to take the worry and stress out of your project’ Dan says, but to be effective, ‘we must be there in good time’ which means after or (preferably) in sync with an architect doing his work and then a builder coming in thereafter.
Tip number two from Dan is to choose well. With an abundance of nationwide firms to compete with, property development is a saturated marketplace. Most homebuyers and indeed owners dream of using a service like Dan’s because it transcends that of a low-input, mass-produced experience with a commercial firm that might let you pick out cabinet colours if you’re lucky. ‘Instead of asking people to pick from a catalogue what door handles they want, I will go and pick them out with you, advising on style and feasibility’ Dan explains. But managing your project and bringing your artistic vision to life needn’t be a bank-breaking process. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dan’s final point is the crux of the issue for many: budget. ‘People are put off by the potential cost’ Dan says, ‘but rest assured, we’re happy to work within any budget.’ Live in Developments can recommend the best in architects, builders and even have an in-house quantity surveyor to manage the costing of your project, so they really do deliver on the ‘any budget’ promise.
Whether you want to spend 150k or a cool five million, Live in Developments will tailor the project to your needs, and offer two different packages. The design and build option is an all-in service, but Dan clarifies that you’re then ‘somewhat restricted’ by the people you’re working with and the case of competitive tender is thus very limited. The alternative is complete project management where Dan is at the helm of the entire project ensuring quality at every turn, ‘the question here is what would you like as opposed to what space have you got, so it allows us more freedom and adopting a holistic approach which we love.’
As members of the Master Builders and Trust Mark Scheme, Live In Developments can be relied on to deliver industry accredited practice, and on a more custom-made level, a completely personal finish whether you’re looking to extend or build your dream home from the blueprints. If you’re looking for modern designs with a traditional approach to customer service, Live In Developments serve Stockport and the surrounding areas.
F: Live In Developments
0161 285 3559