Radius delivering NI homes for a new, brighter and greener future

It is widely accepted that the prospect of better jobs, health, education and self esteem flows from the security of a good home, within a sustainable community.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 5:00 pm

At Radius we see ourselves as place-shapers, collaborating with local people to regenerate and build from new, for purposes of living, leisure and employment.

The construction sector is well used to facing and overcoming challenges. However, the dual impact of the pandemic and Brexit have tested that resilience to an unprecedented extent. As a leading developer of social and affordable housing, we are not immune to the current economic challenges and more than ever we are seeking innovative and imaginative ways of delivering new energy efficient homes within well-planned settings. Housing demand has increased over the last 18 months with 30,000 now living in housing stress, and it is more important than ever that we all work to increase supply.

As the initial lockdowns were introduced last year, we quickly agreed new flexible approaches and practices so that progress could continue safely on site. Work continuity gave way to supply chain pressures and rising material prices. All parts of our economy have faced severe labour shortages including the construction sector.

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Anita Conway, director of development at Radius Housing

It is important for us to collectively reflect on how we promote the positives of working across the sector and its contribution to wider society. This includes promoting the opportunities for apprenticeships and attracting a diverse range of entrants to the sector by highlighting the rewarding career opportunities. As we consider new sustainable technologies and modern construction methods, we have the opportunity to increase the competitiveness of our sector.

The Minister for Communities has set out an ambitious social and affordable housing programme for new-build, and the Department is considering short term interventions to address recent challenges and higher costs. In response to record housing stress levels the NI Programme for Government budget over the next four years will include sustained funding for new homes. This should give us all the confidence to make investments in staff, new building technologies and techniques, and in supporting local infrastructure.

For our part, Radius has ensured our projects progress with minimal disruption by taking bold decisions on new projects and using our leverage, capacity and resources to assist where we practically can. The strength of our position as a responsible and trusted developer has ensured we continue to build despite the many challenges. We have no less than 17 separate developments across province, delivering over 700 new homes.

One such signature project is the 135 house development at the former St Patrick’s Barracks site in Ballymena, which we will soon appoint a lead contractor on. This represents a £20m investment in the regeneration of this historical area of Ballymena. We have introduced new and enhanced social clauses, which will not only fund vital apprenticeships in construction but also support a host of local community projects as part of the governments ‘Housing for All’ initiative. 

Apprenticeships are a priority for Radius, ensuring that alongside the physical legacy of the project, we can possibly skill-up new entrants to the sector and set them off on a successful and rewarding career. And as we invest and decarbonise our existing housing stock, so the same people can look forward to a long and fulfilling career which benefits wider society.

Radius has worked with local developers, builders and design teams to deliver 13,000 homes over 45 years. On top of this we work with a host of contractors and experts on the maintenance of our stock. In any typical year that can equate to up to £70m of materials, works and services.

Our success has depended on the extent that we could collaborate, innovate and ultimately deliver together, sizeable construction and maintenance services. Throughout that time we have met and overcome many challenges while progressively increasing our output and value for money.

Through our social enterprise model, our access to best-price private finance and our partnership with the construction sector we are well placed to work through Covid and Brexit, deliver record new homes and deliver on the hopes and aspirations of all our communities.

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