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Sean Keyes, managing director, Sutcliffe:

Proudly working and building on over £1 billion pounds worth of homes throughout Merseyside over the last 35 years, Sutcliffe is no stranger to providing the very best civil and structural engineering services on social housing projects.

With a responsibility to continue to build affordable homes throughout the Liverpool City Region and beyond, having worked on a number of schemes that provide much-needed new homes for families in their local communities, Sutcliffe is playing its own small part in easing the housing crisis throughout the UK.

The National Housing Federation’s latest figures report that over 8 million people are living in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable housing and the latest TV interviews featuring social housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa clearly shows that there are hundreds, if not thousands of examples of housing in the country which is bordering on illegal.

The latest news that 50 housing associations will receive £179m worth of funding to retrofit their homes under wave one of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is also well received in our sector, and thankfully from what the company is seeing throughout the Liverpool City Region, social housing projects are on the rise.

In recent years, Sutcliffe has personally worked on over 7,600 (and counting) homes, including  houses, low storey apartments and extra care facilities and with a true social conscience, the company is continuing to consider the environment and its green credentials on every site that it works upon.

Using Davenshaw Mill in Congleton as a prime example, Sutcliffe has been working alongside Jigsaw Homes, Bower Mattin Architects and Holmpatrick Contractors to complete the construction of 21 two and three storey apartments, available for social rent.

With the Davenshaw Mill building site in relatively poor repair, with a risk of flooding, poor insulation and energy efficiency, Sutcliffe carried out a full civil and structural engineering design service, including phase I desktop and phase II pre and post demolition investigations, to ensure the site was safe to build on. 

Additionally, Sutcliffe initiated a flood risk assessment on the site, which is located next to a main river, as well as temporary works for the riverbank stabilisation and the vibro rig working platform.

Discussing social housing solutions and how he sees the construction sector evolving and meeting the needs of its clients throughout the months and years to come, Sutcliffe’s managing director Sean Keyes told PBC Today that the demand for social housing has never been greater.

“Having worked on relatively small scale social housing units of 5 – 6 houses, right up to massive  hundred million pound projects, Sutcliffe is continuing to meet the demand for social housing and thankfully over the years, I have seen the standard of social housing increase, with the environment at the forefront of many building projects now.

“The population in the UK is growing exponentially and I have no doubt that the demand for social housing will continue to grow, especially as we enter into a post-pandemic world, social unrest around the world, with developers now keen to make up for lost time and first time buyers and investors alike looking to move onto the best brownfield land and social housing units respectively.

“Social housing developers are considerably ethical in their developments, considering the likes of flooding and wastage throughout their build, meaning they take a much more considered view when building. The social housing market is very buoyant at the moment and with a high quality of work, I predict the demand for these properties to stay high, especially as we move closer towards meeting the net zero agenda in 2030.”

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