The Wisp, Social Housing Development

Client: The Wheatley Group / Dunedin Canmore Housing

Location: Edinburgh

Value: £2.58m

Project Outline: Dunedin Canmore Housing is a registered social housing provider, are a part of the Wheatley Group, providing housing throughout Scotland. Under The City of Edinburgh Council’s Affordable Housing Policy, the developer transferred the land at zero cost to the Client as part of their Section 75 obligations. In return for the land, the Client entered into an agreement with the developer to construct twenty residential units for social rent.

The project is located at the Wisp, Edinburgh, which forms part of the regeneration and expansion to the south side of Edinburgh. The site is surrounded by existing residential and commercial properties to the north and forms part of an overall new-build development on a greenfield site.

The works consisted of the design and build of two residential blocks which comprised of the following:

  • 14 nr – 2-bedroom 4-person, general need standards
  • 2nr – 2-bedroom 4-person, amenity standards
  • 4nr – 3-bedroom 5-person, general need standards

One block (8 units) was of timber construction, while the other block (12 units) was of traditional brick and block construction. In addition, the works included all associated car parking, infrastructure works, landscaping, bike storage and refuse facilities.

Services: Under the Wheatley Group Technical Consultancy Framework 2017 – 2021 for Quantity Surveying, Employer’s Agent and Principal Designer Services, Summers-Inman were appointed as Employer’s Agent, Quantity Surveying and Principal Designer services for this project.

The role comprised of working with the Client to produce the Employer’s Requirements along with liaising with their legal team to review the contract amendments and collateral warranties. The documents were issued to the contractor and we reviewed the Contractor’s proposal and negotiated the contract sum to ensure value for money was achieved.

Once on site, we carried out post contract services including contract administration, chairing progress meetings, reviewing costs, tracking variations, monitoring risks and assessing interim valuation applications.

How Summers-Inman managed the variation process as the project progressed:

For this project, the developer utilised their standard house type design and adapted where possible to meet the employer’s requirements. Where the standard house types did not meet the employer’s requirements, Summers-Inman worked with the developer to identify and mitigate as far as possible these variances. Summers-Inman liaised with the Client to determine if the proposed changes were acceptable. If they were not, the variation was rejected, and we worked with the contractor to develop an alternative solution.

As part of the employer’s requirements, a specific type of meter which was linked to the photovoltaic panels (PVs) was required. Summers-Inman identified that the contractor’s proposal specified an alternative meter and this variation was discussed with the Client. The variation was rejected by the Client as it was different from all other developments and the Client required uniformity for their facilities management software. At our request, the contractor reverted back to the meter specified in the employer’s requirements.

During the construction stage, a change control procedure was set up. Any proposed changes to the works were formally raised through Summers-Inman. The contractor was required to provide details of the change, drawings, cost implications and programme implications. All variations were discussed with the client in order to obtain their authorisation prior to formal instruction.

As part of the monthly progress meeting, all known variations and potential variations were discussed in order to highlight and address potential issues as early as possible.

In order to track the variations throughout the project and to determine potential impact on costs, a monthly progress report was prepared and issued to the client.

How Summers-Inman managed risk and contingency during the Project:

Summers-Inman managed risk throughout the project by:

  • Ensuring tender documentation was accurate and comprehensive;
  • Ensuring that the contractor’s proposal met their obligations;
  • Monitoring closely cost expenditure, providing early warnings;
  • Reviewing risk was part of monthly progress meetings.

The requirement for contingency was minimised through detailed pre-contract exercises to ensure the employer’s requirements, contractor’s proposal and building contract were accurate. A separate contingency fund was managed by the Client and only used for Client led variations.

Description of lessons learnt, and experience gained (stating relevance to this procurement):

  • Setting up the employer’s requirements and careful reviewing the contractor’s proposals to mitigate the number of variations on site;
  • Careful review by the Clerk of Works to ensure any issues on site were identified and resolved as early as possible;
  • Given the skill shortage of suitably qualified brick layers, the traditionally constructed block took significantly longer to complete than the timber kit constructed block;
  • Timber kit construction could have been utilised for both blocks and would have reduced the overall length of the construction programme.

Added value:

Summers-Inman added value through

  • Effective management of the contractor and clerk of works to ensure the required quality was achieved.
  • Requesting the early involvement of client’s gas installation specialist.
  • Effective communications with contractor during the construction stage to bring the project in on programme.
  • Strict adherence to change control procedures to ensure variations were tracked and instructed as required.

Delivery Team:

Jim Sneddon, Director / Chartered Quantity Surveyor: Project Director

Simon Beveridge, Senior Chartered Quantity Surveyor: Employer’s Agent

Aynsley Cheatley, Chartered Building Surveyor / Certified Principal Designer / Director: Project Principal Designer

Commendations / Background:

Housing Association Dunedin Canmore, part of Wheatley Group, is behind the latest development at Craigmillar in the south east of the city.

The new £8.5m development at Greendykes will be made up of 39 homes for social rent and 31 for mid-market rent. The mid-market homes will be let and managed by Dunedin Canmore’s partners in Wheatley, Lowther Homes.

It follows Dunedin Canmore’s earlier phase of work which began in March 2017 and will see 111 new homes built in nearby Craigmillar town centre.

Dunedin Canmore Managing Director Hazel Young said: “I’m excited to see these new homes take shape and I can’t wait for people move in and build their lives here. It’s more than bricks and mortar. These new flats and houses will provide modern, cosy and energy efficient homes for the people of Edinburgh. We’re delighted to play our part in the regeneration of Craigmillar.”

The development is being part funded by a £3.4m grant from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Affordable Housing Programme.The homes, a mix of flats and family houses, should be ready by winter 2020.

The project is part of the wider Council led regeneration of Craigmillar. Over £110 million of investment has seen the completion of 324 homes in Craigmillar/ Greendykes area over last three years, a further 422 homes are currently under construction and 194 homes are due to start on site in the Spring.

Councillor Campbell said: “Craigmillar lies at the heart of our ambitious plans to bring prosperity to every community in the city.  These homes are another fantastic example of the collaboration between the Council and Dunedin Canmore that is improving Craigmillar. It is also a significant support to help us to build 20,000 affordable homes in the city.”

Tenants moving into the completed homes will be well served by public transport and local amenities with regular buses to the city centre just four miles away. There are also plans for community and amenity parks and a major new public parkland.

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