Creating luxury homes

A day in the life of a house builder


As we continue to mark New Homes Week 2017 (#NHW17, running 15-21 May), today we speak to Henry Fordham at Bellis Homes, a regional developer that builds a variety of new homes across Essex, Hertfordshire and north London. Director Henry talks about what the company team does in a typical day, ranging from planning and technical issues to all-important customer care…

We at Bellis Homes always focus foremost on quality. How attractive looking is the scheme? Are the unit sizes and layouts good? Is the location prominent and is there ample amenity space? These are just some of the many things we consider when assessing the desirability of a potential development.

Once our homework is done and if the scheme ticks all the boxes, we enter the negotiation period. This can be the most exciting part of the job (if the vendor wants a quick sale), or the most tedious, with a past scheme having taken two years to agree - patience is a virtue, you remind yourself.

Once all planning and legal permissions have been granted we are finally ready to get underway and start building homes!

Mondays mornings always start with coffee and croissants in our in-house weekly meeting where all senior members of the team meet to review our ongoing projects and agree actions for the upcoming week. Being quite a tight-knit team, we all like to know exactly what is going on even beyond the scope of our own work – and always have an opinion on everything!

Bellis Homes staircase​Our project managers provide an overview of developments during construction and the directors will be there to oversee and pick up any complications along the way. We have definitely adopted the scouting motto – “be prepared” – as this is property, and rest assured there are ALWAYS complications.

To ensure everything is on track and completed to our exacting standards site visits are a regular occurrence from the very beginning through to the very end, when the keys are handed over. Throughout construction we have fortnightly meetings on site with all of the design team including lighting, interiors, architects, electrical, engineers etc; it can become quite a squeeze in the site cabins, but on the plus side it keeps it warm in winter!

When we are in the office we focus our time going through plans, developments and paperwork. On a typical day our in-house interior design team, Darsah Interiors, will be working alongside our land and acquisitions manager to re-jig interior layouts of a new scheme to ensure we have considered all the finer details. Too often we see homes where furniture layouts haven’t been given proper consideration and the TV point is on the wrong wall so your sofa won’t look right, or bedrooms come without enough space for a proper wardrobe.

Our project managers will be ensuring the paperwork for all our developments are all in order and meetings with the relevant parties from the local council to surveyors. Members of our in-house construction team, Bellis Construction, will be working hard to procure every element from the concrete in the ground to the mastic in the bathrooms for our projects onsite.

Our sales and marketing team work hard throughout the day with local agents to market and sell our properties. The appeal factor to buying a Bellis Home is quality, and thus we take great pride in the way our company and homes are presented with images that allude to this. The material which the marketing team produce is very important, from the development brochures through to the hoarding, advertisements, CGIs, videos and the like – it all has to be perfect.

With seven sites currently on the go across London, Essex and Hertfordshire, all at various stages, it’s always busy here at Bellis Homes. There’s never a dull day I assure you!