SWPA's News Bulletin: Q2 2024

The main event for team SWPA over the last few months has been delivering the SWPA Social Value Conference and AGM which was held on Wednesday, 12th June 2024, between 9.30am to 4.30pm at the Forge, in Winslade Manor, where SWPA previously held their Asset Safety and Compliance Conference.

The day heralded a great variety of speakers, from Community Benefit Fund groups, such as Silver Salisbury and Roots, to speakers from Green Accord in Exeter City Council talking on net zero and sustainability, Exeter College presenting on the skills gap, Westcountry Maintenance presenting on the importance of social value initiatives within projects, and Prisoner’s Building Homes and its upcoming initiatives, as well. Low Carbon Exchange also presented on the importance of upskilling and their Low Carbon Training Academy.

 Paul Read, Magna Housing’s Director of Sustainability and Investment, provided the Board of Representatives Address for LHC PG. Deon Barnard compered the Roundtable discussion and Slido quickfire questions, and George Stevens presented on the newly released Social Value Strategy. The Social Value Strategy has taken a prominent role in SWPA’s goals going forward, and can be viewed in more detail, using this link. Paul Smith also presented on the importance of embedding procurement in social value and Penny Searson introduced the team at SWPA, and the varied roles carried out in the South West, along with our main focuses going forward, including the upcoming Retrofit and Decarbonisation (N9) Framework, our added value services and community benefit fund.

The day was a huge success, with SWPA gathering some great feedback and the delegates leaving with social value aims and delivery, firmly at the forefront of everyone’s future plans. Another great aspect of the day was Magna Housing, Rollalong, CAMS and Wiltshire Council (the Cluster), launching their Modern Methods of Construction Proof-of-Concept Report on the importance of MMC, along with presenting. You can download this here.

This new report shows the benefits of Modern Methods of Construction with fewer defects, lower whole-life costs and increased customer satisfaction are just some of the benefits of modern methods of construction (MMC).

Those are the key findings in a new report on the outcomes of an innovative trial to demonstrate how MMC can help tackle the affordable housing shortage in the UK. Magna Housing and modular manufacturer Rollalong, both based in Dorset, commissioned asset management specialists CAMS to produce the proof-of-concept report.

Magna adopted an award-winning ‘MMC-first’ business case in 2020, setting out to prove that offsite construction could deliver ‘an ordinary home’. Last year Magna completed its proof-of-concept phase of creating 50 factory-built homes in partnership with Rollalong.

The report highlights evidence of the benefits of Magna’s approach in overcoming challenges to MMC, which include:

  • Fewer defects compared to traditionally built homes, saving money and time.
  • Overcoming planning barriers, creating homes that complement local environments.
  • Increasing customers’ satisfaction with new homes.
  • The ability to deliver modular homes from the factory to sites via narrow, rural roads.
  • Securing industry standard National House Building Council’s (NHBC) Accepts warranty.
  • Lower costs, including maintenance, over the whole life of homes.
  • Showing that customers are able to secure a mortgage on MMC homes when sold.

Magna looked to MMC to address what it saw as the performance gap between the design standard and final product of traditionally built homes. This was leading to additional costs and delays once homes were built, causing dissatisfaction for customers. Magna partnered with Rollalong to deliver its proof of concept and has since formed a procurement cluster including Wiltshire Council to secure value for money.

Rosie Bates, SWPA’s Client Support Manager and Heather Rowland, the team’s Procurement Manager, attended Browne Jacobson’s Procurement Reform Roadshow, in light of The Procurement Act 2023 going live on 28th October 2024. The Roadshow sessions covered many useful and informational pieces. With the help of LHC PG, SWPA have provided an informative section on our Knowledge Hub, which aims to break down the facts and provide you with everything you need to navigate the Procurement Act 2023, the changes and understand what it means for your organisations from October 2024, and beyond. Rosie also attended Exeter College’s Apprenticeship and Employer Awards evening, in which SWPA sponsored a category, with Rosie attending to award the certificate for ‘Medium Employer’.

Kaye Wills, SWPA’s Technical Manager has been conducting various site visits as well, with a trip to St Agnes to see Classic Builders building for Cornwall Council, and then on to Newquay to see the Kier Construction school site. Additionally, Kaye also visited the Shapland site, a project involving Mid Devon Council and Zed Pods.

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