In relation to development delivery our advice involves the identification of the need for development, its procurement and successful delivery.

Project studies, site feasibility & delivery audit

The overall success of a project typically rests upon the strength of its strategy and the application of that strategy throughout the life of the project.

Projects must be benchmarked against known and identifiable targets, with fundamental milestones identified and key performance indicators set.

A holistic project study at the earliest stage will inform the feasibility of a project, identify its strengths and weaknesses and set the direction of travel to allow clear decisions to be made about what the project is to be, how it is to be delivered and when and what outcomes to expect. Issues such as capacity, location, assembly and title must all be considered.

Alternatively, the process may begin with a given site – what is that site capable of being developed for, how can the site be best exploited to meet the objectives?

A delivery audit can also appraise stalled projects or those failing to deliver the anticipated performance returns. It will identify changes that can be made or alternative approaches that should be taken to secure the desired objectives.

Land assembly & compulsory purchase

Transformational projects typically mean a change to the existing ownership and occupation of an area. Effective land assembly is central to the successful implementation of a project, yet the process can be disruptive for neighbouring businesses and residents.

Land assembly involves bringing together land and interests under a single control and can involve many alternative solutions other than straightforward property ownership. We have devised, co-ordinated and implemented some of the highest profile and most complex land assembly programmes over the last 20 years.

The process begins with private treaty negotiations and we have successfully concluded many such negotiations on behalf of clients, acquiring interests in many innovate ways to allow projects to progress expeditiously and within budget.

Keppie Massie has also helped residents, landowners and businesses to ensure the process does not undermine the fundamentals of their occupation, guiding them through what can be an unsettling time and keeping them informed throughout.

Compulsory purchase is a specialised and complex area and Keppie Massie has an in-depth understanding of the legislation and a wealth of experience of its application in the real world.

The firm has advised on some of the largest and most complicated compulsory purchase schemes and has been at the forefront of this sector for over a decade. Advice begins at the very earliest stages; considering and reviewing the policy basis for any compulsory purchase and ensuring it is sufficiently robust, through to the final settlement of compensation.

It is important for a project promoter to begin the process of compulsory purchase by drawing up a defined strategy, consulting with stakeholders and budgeting effectively. This should be followed by a co-ordinated purchase programme, continued contract with landowners and monitoring overall progress. Finally, and often overlooked by promoters, proper close down procedures must be put in place.

Keppie Massie supports clients at every stage of the process and we regularly appear at public inquiries in support of such proposals.

Appraisal & option analysis (inc. grant viability)

A thorough understanding of a project is essential to its successful delivery.

Keppie Massie regularly undertakes both traditional and bespoke project appraisals for a variety of clients to provide a best practice understanding of the prospects of success at inception, monitor ongoing performance and identify likely outcomes.

Project appraisals are also helpful for funding purposes or as part of government support initiatives and need to follow national or European government guidelines.

An appraisal can be undertaken at any time for a wide range of reasons including delivery issues, mitigating risks, financial viability or taking a holistic view of a project’s constituent parts to identify whether they will work together successfully.

Projects and their individual parts invariably have a number of different ways in which they can be delivered or achieved. Understating the relative merits, issues, costs and prospects of success of differing approaches requires a thorough and rigorous options analysis.

Keppie Massie has devised and undertaken many options analyses for clients across a range of different project types.

Developer procurement & delivery vehicles

For project promoters, how they choose and engage with development partners is critical to the success of that initiative.

Development selection should be undertaken in a strategic manner and in mind of any relevant procurement rules or obligations.

The methodology for selecting a developer must be identified at the outset and applied consistently throughout using a clear and defined comparison.

Whether the process is by means of direct appointment, multi-stage development competition or competitive dialogue, clarity and consistency remain crucial in any procurement exercise.

The firm has undertaken many development procurement exercises on behalf of both project promoters and developers and then helped them to establish the distinct roles and responsibilities within their relationship.

Development delivery review & development agreements

If you are a promoter or developer holding a portfolio of active or dormant development agreements, we can help you to fully understand each of those
agreements and identify any opportunities, obligations or weaknesses in order to restart developments.

This can be especially pertinent where agreements are historic and awaiting resolutions or are now subject to changes in market conditions, meaning
contemporary examination may help to unlock development activity through renegotiation.

Even active agreements may have shortcomings and create obstacles to delivery rather than guiding and promoting development. We use our expertise and experience to identify where changes can be made to remove impediments to progress.

Talk to Keppie Massie about creating an effective agreement and how to remedy an agreement that is not delivering; the team is also fully familiar with all forms of development agreements, from complex joint ventures to everyday S.106 agreements.

Viability assessments: planning obligations & policy requirements

All development projects are based on a viability appraisal and an in-depth understanding of the financial make-up of a project is critical to its delivery.

Invariably, development is finely-balanced and the viability of an individual project is at the margins.

Planning obligations imposed by way of policy requirements, conditions or S.106 obligations, such as affordable housing, can therefore have a fundamental impact on the viability and deliverability of a scheme; although the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has at its core the need for planning obligations to still ensure development remains deliverable.

Keppie Massie is at the forefront of development economics and we have undertaken a range of bespoke, detailed viability appraisals on all forms of development in all parts of the UK.

The firm acts for many local authorities in reviewing developers’ proposals, negotiating and agreeing appropriate S.106 and other obligation packages and translating complicated appraisals into straightforward propositions, ultimately allowing development to progress while ensuring the authority’s position is maximised.

It also advises developers and landowners on a nationwide basis on schemes where reduced policy requirements are crucial to progress, presenting a clear case to the planning authority and, where necessary, undertaking negotiations with their agents.

This expertise has been recognised by the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) and we are appointed to their panel of expert mediators charged with the task of finding solutions to stalled development schemes.

Project monitoring & output review

During the lifespan of a development project, many variables and inputs can change, including the original need and criteria driving the project in the first place. Successful projects are able to identify those changes, devise alternative solutions and respond to the new circumstances.

A defined monitoring programme ensures that a project remains on track and responds to changing conditions in the market, the delivery platform or the funding regime.

Project viability in particular needs to be kept under constant review and theopportunities for value engineering, together with cost engineering, must be exploited to achieve the best possible returns.

It’s important to know whether completed projects have met expectations and targets. Once completed, the performance of that project should be tested against a variety of benchmarks including expectations, performance indicators, contractual obligations and, where appropriate, financial returns.

Changes may still need to be made to the project to secure the achievement of the anticipated outputs and, critically, allow lessons to be learned for the delivery of future projects.

Keppie Massie can forensically monitor all aspects of project delivery to ensure the best outcome for the project and the parties involved.