The Springfield Group becomes first UK housebuilder to complete Sustainability Benchmarking Initiative

04/07/2023
Bertha Park by Springfield in Perthshire

THE SPRINGFIELD Group has become the first housebuilder in the UK to participate in a forward-thinking initiative designed to benchmark sustainable practices across the industry.

Made up of Springfield Properties, Springfield Partnerships, Dawn Homes, Walker Group, Tulloch Homes, and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, the leading housebuilder of private and affordable homes performed exceptionally well in the NextGeneration Core initiative.  This achievement reflects the focus the group puts on delivering energy efficient homes, as well as the support it provides to staff, customers, and the communities in which it builds.

NextGeneration was initially set up in 2006 to provide an external assessment of the largest 25 housebuilders in the UK. The body has recently launched NextGeneration Core to encourage small to medium-sized businesses to benchmark their own performance. 

The Springfield Group is the first housebuilder to engage with NextGeneration Core, ultimately setting the standards for which others will now be measured. Through the voluntary scheme, it was assessed against 14 key criteria including the company’s policies for reducing energy use and waste, its health and safety standards, its commitment to placemaking and affordable housing, and educating its workforce.

In particular, the Springfield Group was praised for its use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), with evaluators noting that 100% of its homes are built from sustainable timber in its own kit factories in Scotland.  Its high performance in MMC outshines the 41% benchmark currently set by the industry and demonstrates the Springfield Group’s drive for greater standards of sustainability.

Its lead on net zero also stood out.  To date the Springfield Group has successfully delivered over 60 developments with homes heated entirely by air-source technology. Last year alone, this resulted in over 30% of its homes built being delivered without gas. With other housebuilders only just beginning to pilot this new technology, the group’s head start was commended.  

Looking beyond efficiency standards, the company has an exceptional track record in creating sustainable communities and skills development amongst its workforce, including a strong commitment to apprenticeship training.  

Innes Smith, Chief Executive at Springfield Properties said: “Since we began building homes in the 1990s, Springfield has been focused on exploring innovations in sustainability, finding new ways to reduce our footprint, and positively impact the communities in which we build. As our business grows, we remain committed to the importance of these measures.

“It’s very satisfying to receive recognition for the good things we do through our high performance in the NextGeneration Core initiative, especially in the lead we have taken in adopting Modern Methods of Construction at our kit factories and in the delivery of homes using net zero technology.  However, the lasting impact that we have on our customers by delivering energy efficient homes, on our employees through our care and investment in them, and on the communities in which we build to ensure a positive legacy, is what is most important to us at Springfield.”

Claire Racine, Director at JLL Sustainability Consulting Services who undertook the independent scoring for NextGeneration said: “We were delighted to work with the Springfield Group as the inaugural homebuilder to use NextGeneration Core to baseline their sustainability performance. NextGeneration Core is the “executive cut” of the NextGeneration Benchmark, supporting mid-size homebuilders to assess their sustainability performance against a targeted set of key criteria. Springfield Group established a strong baseline for themselves, with a fantastic result, and we look forward to following them further on their sustainability journey.”

Lloyds Banking Group is an Executive Committee member of NextGeneration. David Cleary, Managing Director, Housing, Lloyds Banking Group added: “At a time when delivering sustainable homes has never been more important, it’s great to see how the adoption of NextGeneration Core is helping to support housebuilders such as Springfield Group to achieve their overarching goals of delivering high-quality, energy-efficient homes for their customers, while also looking after their employees and protecting the environment.

“Both housing and sustainability are key areas of focus for Lloyds Bank and since joining NextGeneration Initiative as an Executive Committee member, we are proud to have supported the expansion of the sustainability framework, including the development and launch of this intermediate sustainability standard that is helping to drive further sustainability performance and transparency across the entire new build sector.

“We are looking forward to supporting Springfield Group and others to meet the demands on UK housebuilders and contributing towards the UK’s Net Zero goal.”

For more information on NextGeneration please visit https://nextgeneration-initiative.co.uk/

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