Building for a Better Future

Lauded at numerous National award ceremonies this past year, we explore the fundamentals that set Gloucestershire-based family-owned housebuilder, Freeman Homes, apart.

Aptly summed up in the WhatHouse? 2017 Awards judges’ report in reference to Freeman Homes’ Best Small Housebuilder award: “There is something about family businesses that invariably means a touch more pride, a bit more passion. When your name is over the door and on the signage, perhaps you care more.” With the housebuilding division of the family’s wider group, MF Freeman, just shy of celebrating its 20th anniversary, these latest accolades are testament to Freeman Homes’ unrivaled care and commitment.

The housebuilder’s recent highlights include receiving the WhatHouse? 2017 Best Small Housebuilder silver award, the LABC Building Excellence Awards 2017 Best Small New Housing Development finalist award and Best Residential Development Gloucestershire for the design-led Northleach development at the UK Property Awards 2017-2018. The WhatHouse? 2017 judges commented: “There is an energy and authenticity about this builder that radiates through its work.” And it’s this drive and dedication the Forest of Dean-based team strive to nurture.

So what are the founding principles contributing to today’s successes and the continual growth of Freeman Homes? “The key is innovation,” says Luke, Freeman Homes’ joint chief executive. “We’re always looking for ways to improve and striving to be the best at what we do.” Ambition like this is vital for any small to medium-sized enterprise as they’re often the ones who feel a bigger brunt from obstacles along the way. Accurately acknowledged within the WhatHouse? Awards judges’ report: “SMEs have to fight hard when it comes to planning and funding but while dealing with the frustrations and the roadblocks, they must show an unswerving commitment to quality of product – no corners cut, with local materials in the mix and local reputation on the line.”

Planning consent process delays, less competitive funding opportunities and unviable conditions of building in ‘lower value’ areas, are just some of the hurdles pertinent to this industry that significantly impact upon small to medium sized enterprise contenders. Challenges aside, the group is passionately committed to “building for a better future” and this is evident in the bespoke, award-winning homes they’ve built to date. “We listen to our customers and then design homes around what they say matters to them,” says Luke. Freeman Homes has raised the bar with its customer and product research when it comes to profiling, working with Keith Goffin, professor of innovation and new product development at Cranfield School of Management. Luke says: “Our innovation team work hard to identify our customers’ needs and go the extra mile in using sophisticated techniques to gain important customer insight.”

The ongoing training and development of staff is integral to the organisation. This is evident in the undertaking of courses by staff across all divisions which range from practical plant based qualifications to leadership training programmes and MBAs. MF Freeman Group operate divisions in house building, leisure, farming, contracting and plant hire.

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