ExtraCare’s development journey: An interview with Hardev Thandy
Hardev Thandy is Head of Growth and Construction for ExtraCare. Here he discusses the changes in the development process over ExtraCare’s 35 years, his greatest successes, and how he sees the future of development within the charity.
How long have you been at ExtraCare?
I’ve been at ExtraCare for seven years
How has ExtraCare’s development process changed since its first construction?
We listen more than ever to our internal stakeholders and residents during the design process for our village developments and modernisations. We now have a track record to learn lessons from, ensuring each project learns lessons from the last. Back at the start of the charity, we were developing smaller housing schemes and care homes, now our focus is on developing larger villages that are environmentally friendly.
How do you go about finding land for possible new build areas?
I engage with local authorities and a network of land agents and housebuilders. We attend networking events and talk to people we know in the industry including our competitors, we also have an extensive network of development consultants that also bring us development opportunities. Once we find a suitable site we conduct a desktop analysis, which includes demographic profiling software which tells us about the amount of potential residents in the area, house prices, etc. Working closely with the sales team we make sure that the locations is somewhere we feel that will create a vibrate community. Following the initial stage, we engage with a team of consultants including cost consultants, planning consultants and architects to establish what can we fit on the land and what the chances are of our design obtaining a planning permission. There is lots of engagement with the land owners on the cost of the land. Following this, there is then an independent evaluation of the land which goes through an internal approval process. Following the formal approval we submit a planning application to the local planning authority. If we are successful with planning, we then draw up detailed designs, then go out to the market to find a suitable contractor. Once the contractor has been appointed and ready, we start building.
What are you looking for in land requirements?
Some of our key requirements are that the land is ideally brownfield (previously developed) and close to public transport, highly visible, and near local facilities
What are some of the challenges you have come across and how have you overcame them?
There is more competition in the market now, along with increased land and construction costs. Having to compete with housebuilders can also be tough.
Where do you hope the charity goes in the future on a development side?
I hope we continue doing what we are doing, providing a unique offer, and continuing to be leaders in the provision of homes for older people. I’d like to see the charity continue to embrace a more sustainable low carbon footprint in our future developments.
What are the biggest improvements you’ve noticed in our 35-year journey?
From a development prospective we are at the start of what I would consider the biggest improvement as we start to fully embrace new green technologies that will make our future developments environmentally friendly and carbon neutral. We are actively pursuing a location for our urban model which will aim to be 80 units on a brownfields site, which is a disused location. Potentially we’d also like to repurpose an existing building such as an old retail store or office. This will help with our quest to focus on sustainability and lower our carbon footprint.
What has been the biggest accomplishment in your role since you began it?
Since I have been appointed, I have been responsible for a number of developments including villages, cottages , village extensions and a number of village modernisations Working on these developments – has been a personal achievement of which I’m very proud. I’ve been able to witness first-hand our evolution on a development front, and I look forward to seeing where we go in the future.
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