This first part to our London Development Specification series looks at Entry-Level specification.
As mentioned in our introduction we won’t be assigning these to price points as location plays a far too significant role in pricing. What we will look at is seeing what the general offering is for each segment of the market.
Let’s dive in and see what the market has to offer
Key aspects of the specification:
- The building itself
- The building services and amenities
- The building materials
- The mechanical and electrical that is end-user visible
- The appliances
- Any extra specification related features that set segments apart.
At the Entry-Level of developments in London, we see basic and simplistic offering, limited glazing, standard brickwork or cladding. The buildings are designed around being more cost-effective and meeting the basic requirements. The buildings rarely if ever offer great design distinguishments from the general offering in the marketplace by similar projects.
The building’s design is focused on being an envelope for housing units first and foremost.
The Building Services and Amenities
The buildings offer the bare minimum in services and amenities, rarely will they offer more than what is required by planning. They would likely offer for example just the minimum requirement for cycle storage and no space for a concierge or doorman service.
The Building Materials
Here the focus again is on cost savings and using the materials that are focused first and foremost on getting a specific job done. Design, visual appeal and feel are secondary to function.
Mostly man-made materials are used inside, and out and branded or trendy materials are rarely used. An example would be u-PVC windows and plain hollow core doors.
Kitchens will be unbranded or unfamiliar brands, also be finished in man-made materials, MDF, particle board, Formica and potentially man-made stone work surfaces.
Bathrooms will be partially tiled, feature mass market fittings and sanitary ware. Potentially have vinyl flooring and likely just feature a single shower bath combination.
The Mechanical & Electrical visible to end-users
For this segment of the market, the main purpose again is to meet basic needs. Here we see standard unbranded plain light switches, with single lights to room or limited downlighters. Wall mounted radiators on a single or dual circuit (no individual room controls). No AC or comfort cooling. Basic mechanical ventilation systems. There will be no advanced home automation systems or wiring for surround sound or home networks.
The building should still offer a connection to fast internet but is unlikely to offer a true fibre broadband connection if not yet available in the area.
Appliances will be unbranded, or unfamiliar brands. The kitchens could offer all built-in units or a mix of freestanding and built-ins. Often a dishwasher and built-in microwave are omitted from standard specification. If possible, without increasing costs significantly a developer could get some marketing advantage by including some branded items in the kitchens to stand out from the other competing offerings.
Any extra specification related features that set segments apart
This segment stands apart for its no-frills cost led approach. In this market segment, the smallest increases in the specification have a significant increase in sales prices so every element of the properties has to be considered and reconsidered for value.
A very important distinction that properties in this segment can make is to ensure that even though the properties are “Less fancy” they could be very durable and offer end users significant value and quality. This is something that can enhance a developer’s profile in this segment.
This post was written by Rian Strauss of Strauss Realty, a London based Real Estate firm providing clients with consultancy, marketing and property finding services.