Adapting To A Changing Property Market

Posted 25 January 2021 by Lizzie Leigh

Josh Chadd on building new homes which are adapting to new buyer priorities for technology and a changing lifestyle...

We talk to Josh Chadd, founder of mixed-useTailored Living Solutions, about technological advances that help create a modern home.

Josh, you founded your company in 2012, what was the inspiration behind Tailored Living Solutions?

Having graduated from university with a degree in Land Management and amassing considerable experience in the residential development industry, I wanted to establish a company that had a real focus on technology and sustainability to create homes that would be fit for the future.

What makes Tailored Living Solutions unique to other similar-sized developers is our approach to each project. Every site, every building, every layout is different and individually tailored to the local community that it sits within. We put a lot of work in at the beginning to understand what the local need is with regard to housing or commercial units, the look and feel of local buildings and the type of people that are buying there. We then make sure that the homes we build are of the highest quality possible, from the windows chosen (i.e. their placement and size to maximise views and natural light, as well as density to ensure noise pollution is minimalised), to how each room is laid out and presented. We also include as many modern technological features as we can, such as the innovative Wondrwall home management system.

Two Three Seven Brixton HillTwo Three Seven Brixton Hill

Tell us a bit about the company's approach and what stages of the build you're involved with as a team?

We are involved in the entire process from start to finish and then beyond that with the management of our buildings. We start by identifying suitable brownfield sites, typically with no planning so we can conduct our own local planning assessment. We then begin the community consultation process, then see through the construction, sales and completion process. Once all of the residential elements have been sold and commercial units tenanted we hand the building over to our in-house management team.

Interestingly, our approach of developing both residential and commercial properties has allowed us to adapt our learnings from both sectors into each one. For example, we are looking at using some of the flexible workspace concepts from our office spaces into future residential developments, with the understanding that home working, in some guise, will be here to stay, so people will want adaptable spaces where they can have a functional office/study on certain days of the week.

How do you work with local neighbourhoods to achieve 'buy in' from the communities where you're building?

We pride ourselves on delivering schemes that are unique to the local area, both in design and architecture, as well as the final offering be it residential or commercial.

We start each project by engaging with key local stakeholders to understand what is needed in terms of new home types (understanding the need for starter homes, larger family homes etc.), as well as from a commercial point of view. We adapt our plans accordingly to make sure the development will fit into its surroundings and achieve longevity in the area.

What particular projects are you working on in London at the moment?

We are very busy, which is always positive. We are nearing completion on our latest residential development, Two Three Seven Brixton Hill. We have a large commercial scheme on Great Suffolk Street, which is set to complete at the end of 2021. This is one of our most interesting projects, as the ‘office’ is now a hot topic during the pandemic. We were already planning a space that would be adaptable to meet future needs, as well as ensuring it meets the highest sustainability and design requirements (Great Suffolk Yard will be one of London’s healthiest commercial buildings, receiving BREAAM ‘Excellent’ and WELL ‘Gold’ certifications). We are also set to break ground in March on our next residential development, Ilderton Road, which will be our largest to date, with 54 residential units for sale.

87 Greenwich High Road87 Greenwich High Road

And how are the areas where you're building performing in the current climate?

I believe there has been a shift in London over the last ten years, which now sees the property market driven by quality of product over location. The areas we are currently building, predominantly south London hotspots, with close connections to central, such as Greenwich, Borough and Brixton, have been reported as places that people are leaving due to the pandemic. However, we have seen the opposite, selling out 87 Greenwich High Road in a matter of months in 2020. At Two Three Seven Brixton Hill we only have four apartments remaining after launching in September 2020. Location does play a part, but there is certainly a strong argument to say well-designed developments that meet the needs of buyers will always be in demand.

Are your clients able to have much input into the design and layout of the homes you build?

If a purchaser commits early enough in the build process, then we can work with them to incorporate any features that they require. We have had occasions when a buyer has asked for different appliances in the kitchen or to include more storage in a certain room and been able to adapt the layout to deliver this.

Have you seen greater demand for bespoke design from clients this year, as they look to achieve a better work/life balance during the COVID pandemic?

There haven’t been any requests to change layouts due to changing needs caused by the pandemic. However, this is certainly something that we are mindful of. As mentioned previously, we are tapping into our commercial experience to create adaptable work/office spaces for our apartments at future developments. We are also always thinking of way to ensure the amenity and communal spaces work for residents to ensure they have places to enjoy away from their apartments.

Space is certainly something we are mindful will be a growing need for purchasers in the future, so will look at including as much as designs allow, both privately for each home and communal outside spaces.

Great Suffolk StreetGreat Suffolk Street

Do you think working from home is here to stay in London, or will your clients want to return to offices and retreat back to their homes as a sanctuary at the end of a busy day?

I believe it will be here to stay in some form, be it permanently for some businesses or a mixture of days in the office and working from home. Everyone we speak to does have a desire to return to the office, whilst retaining a mixture of days at home to maintain a positive balance. There have been pros and cons for both homeworking and returning to an office environment, so developers will need to be mindful of a sharp shift in the needs of buyers. They will want spaces that provide a level of comfort when working and relaxing at the end of a long day.

What notable design features are coming our way in new builds in the coming year?

Working from home is here to stay, at least in the near future, so homes will need to be adaptable. There will be a need to ensure that internet connection in the home is as powerful and reliable as in the office.

In recent years we have seen a growing desire for recognised and impactful sustainability measures to be in place and I only see this increasing in the future: from making units more airtight to ensure maximum energy retention, to incorporating smart home software that allows homeowners more control over the performance of their homes.

And finally, what are your aspirations for TLS in 2021 and beyond?

Continued sustainable growth. We have reached our current position by taking each project as it comes and creating unique spaces that people want to live or work in. Whilst our next development on Ilderton Road will be our largest yet in terms of unit size we don’t have an immediate desire to transform into a mass housebuilder. We enjoy the mix of delivering residential and commercial buildings and will continue to grow and learn from our findings across both sectors, to ensure our final product provides the best environment for our end users.

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