Rocks Green

Ludlow, Shropshire
South Shropshire Housing Association
Vision Mills Architects
Rigby Thorpe
PPC 2000 Partnering Contract


  • Winner of the Most Sustainable Large Social Housing Project of the Year 
  • 16 No. Flats and 75 No. Houses
  • Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly


J.Harper & Sons (Leominster) Limited acting as Principal Contractor under a Partnering Contract with South Shropshire Housing Association, Vision Mills Architects and Rigby Thorpe (Quantity Surveyors) completed the construction of 91 affordable mixed use dwellings at Rocks Green, Ludlow. The project was honoured at the National Sustainable Housing Awards Ceremony as the ‘Most Sustainable Large Social Housing Project of the Year 2009’.

With phased completion from March 2009, the project featured 91 extremely energy efficient properties which receive their heating and hot water from an environmentally friendly bio-district biomass heating system, burning woodchips from locally sourced timber, saving around 120 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, compared to traditional developments of the same size.

Rocks Green is the first new development in Shropshire to include a ‘homes zone’ traffic management system widely used in Europe, which provides a safe environment for pedestrians and homeowners slowing cars down to walking pace by a sympathetic street design, completed to the highest quality within budget and on time, the construction project sets a standard for what is possible when building homes and communities for the future.

The project was carried out under a PPC 2000 contract and negotiated with J.Harper & Sons (Leominster) Limited following a tender process where required budgets could not be met.

J.Harper & Sons (Leominster) Ltd is a current and ongoing long term partner of South Shropshire Housing Association and undertook a detailed value engineer exercise to reduce tendered values by in excess of £400,000 whilst maintaining the design brief of sustainability and incorporating the biomass district heating system, assisting with the Association to obtain further funding through available grants.

The project was undertaken on a ‘target cost, risk reward matrix’ and was completed on time and under budget, with design development and technical resolution ongoing throughout the build process. The project was the largest project undertaken by J.Harper & Sons (Leominster) Ltd under their partnering agreement with South Shropshire Housing Association, which usually involves the construction of sites ranging between 5 to 20 houses.

The project went through an extensive review in relation to sustainability and was entered into the Sustainable Housing Awards and through the construction type of timber frame with the local stone, timber cladding and render, together with the biomass heating system, a robust waste management procedure, high quality specification and active waste management plans to reduce carbon emissions was honoured by becoming first in its class for sustainability.

J.Harper & Sons (Leominster) Limited negotiated many of the large subcontract and material supply packages with existing local supply chain members, again producing both economies in scale and value engineering, which included partnering arrangements with Lowfield Timber Frames, M.E Bishop Carpentry, Miller Roofing, Premiere Kitchens, Russell Doors and Whitaker Windows, using many local subcontract trades to deliver the project requirements.

The project, as previously stated, was tendered above budget and a robust value engineering exercise was undertaken with substantial savings being generated through changes to the biomass district heating system and the generation of associated grants and extensive changes to external work requirements through design development by our own in-house engineer and partnering structural consultant

(Drinkwater Design). Extensive savings were made to retaining structures, drainage schemes and hard landscaping whilst maintaining the overall design concept. Further value engineering and efficiencies were made through subcontract involvement and project commitment to the scheme coming in under budget. J.Harper & Sons (Leominster) Ltd forwent additional profit contribution allowed under the framework, following imposed financial constraints on the Housing Association by its funders.

Material choice and warranties were investigated in detail with the Housing Association and their maintenance department to ensure regularity of specification. Some of these included: –

  1. 25 year warranty on painted cladding boards
  2. 30 year warranty on window supply
  3. Current partnering arrangements with Premiere Kitchens
  4. Specification of Russell Doors – standard throughout the Housing Association
  5. Standard warranties with timber frame,
    electrical, mechanical, beam and block floor and biomass installation.
  6. Standard Professional Indemnity Cover from all designers.

Following detailed and extensive project valuation, the Housing Association committed to support the local community subcontract and supply base, the project was resourced with this requirement fully adopted. Local labour only resources were procured, with equality and diversity awareness paramount.
Extensive training was undertaken on site with subcontractors encouraged to adopt CSCS card certification with five young people undertaking and completing apprentice training as a direct result of the project.

The project was completed to a high standard in respect to health and safety, with two visits being made by the Health and Safety Executive, reporting acceptable practices and above 85% achievement level being recorded following inspections by our external health and safety consultants throughout the project duration.

The main Key Performance Indicators adopted for the project were as follows: –

  • Time – The project was completed on programme with staged handover meeting planned dates.
  • Cost – The project was value engineered and target cost set with the final scheme coming substantially under budget, with additional cost savings provided by the contractor.
  • Safety – The project was completed with no major incidents and only 1 No. three day reportable incident following a strain to back following a delivery procedure.
  • Quality – The project was completed with only minor defects at practical completion, scoring 93% attainment level. A further detailed review of quality has since been undertaken and improvements made to handover and defect control procedures.
  • Sustainability – The project was awarded the accolade of the Most Sustainable Large Social Housing Project of the Year 2009 and therefore fully met the Clients expectations.
  • Employment and Procurement – The project was undertaken with a high level of local and supply chain involvement, supporting both the local economy, community and labour base.

The project was undertaken with an extensive management team forming the Core Group, through direct level of site management and site management teams, assisting to control design, technical, cost procurement and sustainable requirements.

We believe that this project suitably reflects the ability of J.Harper & Sons (Leominster) Limited to deliver projects to the requisite standard whilst adding value to project delivery.