1) New build & refurbishment

1) Introduction

We have a specialism for undertaking successful new build and refurbishment projects for small and medium size charities and other bodies. We recognise that such organisations can make substantial progress by creating a stable income stream from rents and service charges whilst also making a substantial capital gain on new or refurbished assets.Why allow property developers to make circa 30% profits on end values against cost subject to locations and market conditions when a local community can benefit whilst satisfying a local need for new or refurbished accommodation.

We are experienced in identifying suitable sites/buildings and drawing up proposals. We are happy to act as the Clients Agent managing the appointed technical team and reporting to you on a regular basis. We are happy to enter into a Development Agreement and if required a risk /reward sharing agreement. We therefore are able to remove the concerns that small and medium sized charities have about expanding their business and also provide expertise on accessing funding.

2) Development services for small & medium size charities.

We can provide new development services to small & medium size charities whether they are a registered provider with a regulatory body such as a housing association, an almshouse charity or simply a charity providing a range of services of which housing provision is just one. We are happy to discuss a service contract with you that provides you with the expertise to access capital and revenue funding and the range of services necessary for new build construction or major renovation works. We have a suitable, experienced and qualified team available to meet your needs. We believe that our holistic service will add considerable benefit at no additional cost.  One example of our approach to this type of contract would be the establishment of a tax efficient mechanism to save cost to your charity in developing your programme if applicable

3) Our experienced and reliable delivery Team

John Brennan

He was previously employed in several CEO/ Director level positions within the property and care sectors as an asset management and new build specialist over 30 years.  He has led major refurbishment programmes for ex-council stock transfers and new -build development for circa 1000 units from inception to final completion. A graduate and Institute of Housing external tutor, he also holds the Institute of Occupational Health & Safety qualifications.

His flagship schemes include the creation of a 40 unit foyer (18-25 year olds) managing the technical team and delivering the project; the decanting & demolition of 240 units and new build of 330 units on sites as major clearance programme; major specialist client needs 400 unit new- build projects such as Joe Taafe House and a challenging new build Eastwood Street properties in Birmingham. He was given a Mayor of London award for making an `Outstanding Contribution to Life in London ` for new development in 9 London Boroughs. He has a strong interest  eco-friendly new development working alongside innovations from the University of Plymouth.

Jeremy Page

Jeremy is a qualified professional with more than 25 years experience at a senior level in the voluntary sector.  This has included posts as Regional Director and Operations Director for a multi-regional housing association. He has led as a Chief Executive Officer major projects including the establishment of a new stock transfer housing association.

He is continuously actively involved with the development of new affordable homes. He was Head of Development for a Midlands housing group leading a team to procure and manage a programme in excess of 300 new homes.

His flagship schemes have included a 64 apartment mixed tenure extra care scheme for older people in Stratford upon Avon; the affordable housing provision on a 300 new home site in Suffolk and 29 new homes on a derelict Water Board site in Lowestoft. Other projects have included the first Foyer in Oxfordshire providing housing, support and training for young people; a garage site redevelopment programme, small rural housing sites and specialist housing with support schemes for people with disabilities.

His current projects include a 64 apartment dementia specialist extra care scheme and Wellbeing Centre in North Somerset; rural site finding and scheme development for a specialist rural housing company; S106 affordable housing provision with a private developer in Suffolk; and affordable housing promotion and development advice for a  housing charity.

Charles Oganya

Charles is a professional accountant and alumni of the London School of Economics. His early career was spent with the National Housing Federation where he co-edited the private financial manual which still serves as the `bible ` for the sector. As a former Director of Finance over decades he has developed his expertise into the areas of development finance working closely with development officers throughout his career.

He is an essential contributor to successful developments with extensive experience of strategic financial planning, treasury management, auditing, taxation, private sector finance and information technology.

4) Experience of sourcing sites and other development opportunities on behalf of clients.

We begin with the organisation development strategy linked to the business plan to ensure budgets and funding streams are appropriately aligned. We can also assist in formulating your design brief taking account of a suitable environment for your client group and the daily management requirements.

Our team has considerable experience of identifying suitable development sites using a wide range of networks and contacts within estate agency, architects, construction companies, valuers, charitable, & governmental sectors. We have worked in London, several other major cities and countrywide. We have negotiated deals from landowners on sites subject to planning permission being obtained within set time frame.

We are experienced in a range of detailed pre-acquisition checks including site area & topography, ownership & condition of boundaries, ground conditions, access to and through the site, existing roads and footpaths, services to and through the site, tree orders or statutory listings etc.

We also conduct a range of detailed legal checks including ensuring nothing exist in either the property or site purchase or planning permission which prejudices lender`s security, verify full vacant possession & insurance upon purchase, and instruct solicitors to ensure `good title` is obtained. We also have considerable planning experience and can avail of specialist cost effective contacts in this area as necessary.

In summary we assess the viability of a building or new site or acquisition against your design brief, budgets, technical and planning appraisal checklists. We are interested in the opportunities that exist and be the best suited for your future needs whilst achieving cost effective management services.

 5) Viability testing and securing funding packages.

We would consider a project viable if it can be relied upon to be self financing i.e. if the income will be sufficient to meet its operating costs and repay any loan over the appraisal period. It also must fund provisions for major repairs to keep the properties in good condition. Depending on the location/cost and nature of the site/building we have a number of funding models for all need groups.

Our appraisals would demonstrate viability for approval and would broadly be categorized as follows:

A) Cash flow (e.g. Deficit, breakeven year, peak debt year)
B) Long term viability (e.g. Net present value, internal rate of return or payback)
c) Value for money (e.g. Costs as % of market value, works costs per m2)

Our team has extensive experience of securing cost effective funding packages and providing the necessary support systems. We will discuss your requirements with potential funders using our contacts and knowledge of the sector. We would produce the critical financial appraisals required. The banks will check the organizations ability to meet covenant ratios and require regular financial information as a major stakeholder.

Our negotiations with the banks will be detailed and we may be seeking final arrangements with a number of potential funders to achieve a highly competitive borrowing margin above LIBOR for 10-15 year money .The overall borrowing target may be for £M or more to finance the development straddled over several years. Lenders will be checking whether the organization is a profitable business with robust long term budget plans at least 5 years ahead. Negotiations will be detailed with lenders offering indicative % margin on floating and a fixed cost of funds with a minimum `total` rate.

Our team has extensive experience of arranging private loan finance. Most borrowing is based on the strength of the business plan but lending terms may limit the investment to or within certain schemes. Loan covenants set prescribed limits on gearing and interest cover. We can also arrange the security of the loan offering the lender the 1st legal charge over the land and buildings together with a mortgage debenture. They may also require a charge over the main building contract as collateral warranties. We can lead these negotiations and achieved substantial savings over the period of the loan.

We are experienced in obtaining public grants from the Homes & Community Agency and other funders. We believe new development is also a tangible capital fundraising opportunity and can advise and assist in this process. This adds considerable value to the service we offer.     

) Recent experience securing planning and other statutory consents.

We have considerable experience in securing planning permissions for thousands of units including `difficult` sites. We are also well versed in the process of conducting planning appeals when they prove necessary. We take the time to engage positively with local communities spending several days on local engagement with all stakeholders. We frequently win letters of support from the local community for our planning submissions. One recent difficult consent was secured for a site in London CR2 to demolish a house on 0.9 acre site to redevelop 32 units and sold for Housing at  £2M.

7) Preparation of documentation for tender and selection of sub-consultants and building contractors.

We work with Architects and Employers Agents to draw up the necessary tender documents in accordance with different procurement routes. We ensure Building Regulations approvals are obtained as necessary. We involve our client in the selection process.

On sub-consultants we conduct an in depth selection process covering key areas such as appropriate skills & experience, adequate capacity for level of work required, track record, indemnity insurance etc. We use the industry standard appointment letters and negotiate fees to save our client costs.

On Building contractors we carry out an assessment process taking account of the procurement method and building contract type. We evaluate tenders against cost /quality measurements. We require a performance bond and adequate insurance provision. We provide close supervision of all sub-consultants & building contractor with regular meetings on site and circulated minutes & follow up action.

8) Contract management through to practical completion and final account.

We have extensive experience of managing the technical teams required to deliver a new build or renovation project. These include close working relationships with architects, employer’s agents, quantity surveyors, structural engineers mechanical & electrical engineers, sustainability consultants, CDM Co-coordinator, archaeological surveyors etc. Our teams meet on a regular basis against a fixed agenda and minutes are circulated to all parties. We welcome client representation from tenants to senior management from the organization to these meetings. The full minutes are taken and circulated within 48 hours to progress work and regular reports provided for clients.

9) Defects management

Our team has a `zero defects` approach committed to exemplary design and build quality recognizing long term requirements for charitable organizations. We believe that prevention is always better than cure maintaining regular checks and inspections during the development process. We have strict building `hand-over ` procedures on practical completion stage with `snagging` lists and monitor the building throughout the defects liability period.

If a defect did arise however due to negligence on part of the designer we would seek to recover costs. Where the contractor is responsible for completing the design and construction, the liability will be passed on but should the contractor become insolvent, the claim resorts to the designer providing a collateral warranty is in place.

If the contractor falls short on workmanship or materials in accordance with the drawings, specifications, performance standards it will have to be corrected at his expense. Where latent defects arise damage must be minimized and insurance company informed; where liability is denied by both contractor and designer independent advice or disputes procedures are entered into.

In all cases we would seek to ensure that our client is not put in a detrimental position and appropriate recompense is obtained if so.

 10) Experience of project management for and engagement with bespoke clients.

The team draws upon the considerable practical front- line experience of people who have worked with the charitable housing and care sectors delivering new build projects and support services. We do not view the building as divorced from the services they provide .Therefore we recognize the need of our client groups must be reflected in the design brief as our starting point in the new development process.

It costs nothing to talk to us. Our conversations are in the strictest confidence and covered by both our confidentiality agreement & Terms of Business as displayed on this website.

Please call John Brennan on 01803852270 or email john@caracommunity.co.uk.

Please note we accept no responsibility for anyone relying upon the above (which is subject to changing circumstances & markets).To do so is entirely at your own risk .The above is simply given as a guide to the process and some of the detail involved. We recommend that readers obtain further professional advice & assistence.