Looking back on 2022 with Lee Thomas

As the year draws to a close, LABC Warranty is asking our account managers to reflect on the year that’s just been, and cast their minds ahead to what they think might happen in 2023.

First we speak to Lee Thomas, who represents LABC Warranty in the South West and Wales.

Lee Thomas on 2022 in the South West and Wales

What were the biggest trends you noticed for homebuilding in the South West area for 2022?

This year feels much divided, with the first two quarters still benefiting from the open market demand and the planned changes in the approved documents (FLOS).

Whist in the second half of this year the registration of new social schemes is rapidly increasing. It’s great to see three existing businesses opening up new offices in Bristol to meet this demand.

In South Wales we saw the closure of Jehu Project Services which will delay several important schemes.


Which developments are you most proud of supporting in 2022?

I enjoy working with all my clients as they share a common passion of delivering quality homes.

However, not one to sit on the fence ‘Cordelia Gardens’ on the Isle of Wight was my standout for 2022. The combination of design, material, colours and layout was to my taste.


What do you think you’ll see/do more of in 2023?

Obviously with mortgages becoming more expensive this might slow down the open market sales, but demand for living space isn’t going away and it just might shift from buying to renting that bit more. What is for certain is the increase in affordable/shared ownership home delivery.


What do you think you’ll see/do less of in 2023?

More clients have embraced remote working so I expect to travel less and meet more clients in the virtual world.


What are the common topics you discuss with LABC Warranty clients?

Based on the uncertainly of the last few quarters my regular clients who supply open market homes are looking at phasing schemes.

Ordinarily, a scheme might be 100 units but this is more likely to be registered in smaller phases. A combination of confidence in buyers turning up and material prices means developers will proceed with more caution.


What’s your biggest concern about 2023?

If I had one wish for my clients it would be to speed up the planning system, it’s just not acceptable anymore.

I don’t have many concerns for 2023, as LABC Warranty has a history of adapting in partnership with our clients.


What are you most optimistic or excited for in the South West & Wales for homebuilding in 2023?

We have some exciting schemes in the pipeline that will regenerate forgotten areas, and it’s nice to see the positive social impact.

I have a scheme with passivhaus standards to be delivered and this will really help on reducing energy usage. In South Wales we have ongoing investment happening in volumetric modular homes and hopeful this will continue to grow.


Anything else?

Engage with LABC Warranty earlier rather than later, it costs nothing and will nearly always benefit the scheme.


Speak to LABC Warranty about 2023 today

To make the most of home building in 2023, speak to LABC Warranty today. If you’re in Wales or the South West of England, Lee Thomas is your contact.

For other areas, the LABC Warranty account manager for your area can be found here.

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Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual.

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