12th April 2024
The future of Sawyers Close: regeneration in the making

Sawyers Close, Windsor, is an affordable housing regeneration project by housing provider Abri. It will see the demolition of 192 existing homes and the development of 413 high-quality new homes, both on the existing site and on open land adjacent. All the new homes will be affordable housing, comprising a mix of apartments and houses. This ambitious project puts Abri’s customers and the wider community at its heart. Appointed by Abri since 2021, Rund has acted as Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor, and Principal Designer.

To date, excellent progress has been made on the scheme, and in December 2023 the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead resolved to grant planning permission for the regeneration of Sawyers Close. This is a significant milestone achieved, but not without its challenges. Rund has been instrumental in helping manage financial risk and ensure project viability throughout.

Navigating regeneration challenges
Regeneration projects are complex and carry more risk and uncertainty due to the many unknowns at play, and it's often not until the project progresses that unexpected site conditions arise, that can prove both costly and timely. As consultants, it has been important for Rund to provide careful and consistent assessments so far, to calculate accurate cost and risk estimates and updates to ensure the project runs smoothly.

Pre-development costs accumulate with assessment works and community facility evaluations, and with an exemplar project like Sawyers Close, this only heightens the time and budget pressures. Abri is setting new and higher standards than ever for its homes, and Sawyers Close is no exception.

Sawyers Close is going to be a model for residential quality and sustainability, with the project compliant with the Future Homes Standard, exceeding the minimum standards on unit size, providing EV charging and cycle facilities, as well as extensive public amenity and access to green space. To achieve this vision, Rund has been assisting Abri’s community consultation programme, with each step feeding into the design and specification prior to the agreement of its final scheme.

With the intricate financial challenges of complex regeneration projects such an important part of the project to navigate, Rund has worked hard to develop a bespoke costed risk register, which is updated as the project progresses. This has helped to ensure the project continues to run smoothly by detecting and planning for unknowns, enabling the best decision making throughout the entire project lifecycle.
Regular meetings with stakeholders to work through site risks and challenges have been key to the successful management of the project.

Next steps
Momentum on the project is set to continue with Rund soon providing RIBA stage 4 cost plan updates. We will continue to work with Abri to support resident and stakeholder engagement and contractor selection, which will all shape the ongoing delivery of the project in the coming years.

While regeneration has its challenges, with the right consultants in place the risks can be mitigated. This is important as regeneration will continue to play a vital role in the future of housing. The National Housing Federation has identified that England needs 340,000 new homes – including 145,000 affordable homes – each year until 2031, to meet current demand. Rund has the expertise and proven ability to partner on and help plan the successful project cycle of Sawyers Close and projects just like it.

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