Housing Delivery – Review of Sixty Bricks

The Assignment

Sixty Bricks Limited (“Sixty Bricks”) was established by the London Borough of Waltham Forest (“the Council”) in 2017 as a wholly owned housing development company. Following near completion of its Phase 1 programme, the Council engaged 31ten to undertake a review of the role of Sixty Bricks in the context of the Council’s wider approach to housing delivery.

Specifically, the Council required an assessment of the approach and delivery model being used by evaluating the value for money offered by Sixty Bricks, its approach to risk and maximising opportunities to deliver new housing, especially affordable housing. Based on the above, the Council wished for an assessment of whether there was a compelling case to continue to use and invest to deliver Housing via Sixty Bricks.

The Role

Our approach to the review was predicated on using the following key lines of enquiry, in order to assess the status and potential future of Sixty Bricks, in the context of the Council’s delivery programme:

  • What are the Council’s development ambitions and housing targets?
  • What are the key challenges and barriers to achieving these?
  • What other housing delivery models are used by local authorities and how do these compare with the Council’s current approach?
  • Once a preferred model is identified, what governance, funding and other resourcing arrangements need to be in place to optimise housing delivery in the future?
  • How effective have the Council’s existing models of delivery been to date; what added value does Sixty Bricks provide now or have the potential to deliver in the future?

To tackle the above lines of enquiry, activities included running a series of four workshops with Council stakeholders, one-on-one stakeholder interviews, financial modelling of different delivery vehicle options and a review of cost benchmarking provided by the Council. Through this range of activities, we were able to harness the knowledge and experience of housing delivery via Sixty Bricks from key stakeholders, as well as conduct our own independent analysis to determine value for money and form an opinion on the current operation. Furthermore, our experience of working with other wholly owned housing development companies was invaluable to evaluating Sixty Bricks’ approach to date and the scope it has to act more commercially, in order to maximise housing delivery at a time of challenging development economics.

Key Outcomes

  • Delivery of a well-evidenced report with key recommendations, including recommendations on scope and opportunities to better utilise Sixty Bricks following a successful proof-of-concept phase;
  • An executive summary presentation of the report produced and delivered to key stakeholders to distil key findings;
  • Buy-in on our recommendations for how to proceed from the relevant Council and Sixty Bricks stakeholders.