What are the stages of the housing development process?

Housing developments have been the common answer to the UK’s property crisis in recent decades. The faltering supply of new homes hasn’t been able to meet the demands for affordable housing, with sky-rocketing property and rental prices making it harder than ever before for people to step on and climb the ladder.

Developers follow a similar process when it comes to creating new groups of houses. The steps they take are instrumental in achieving the required level of output needed to meet the UK’s housebuilding targets. So, what does the process look like?

Planning and strategy

The first step is to assess where housing is needed the most. This is generally in or around major population and economic hubs, where property demand is the highest. The majority of buyers are in employment and so it makes sense to build new builds where people can live and work.

Other factors that developers must consider include land prices, economic development plans and existing property markets.

Securing land

Once target areas have been outlined, finding appropriate land to buy is next. It’s easier said than done because finding owners willing to sell can be tricky. The plot needs to be big enough to make the venture profitable but also build houses that meet building codes.

An important distinction is between brownfield and greenfield sites. Brownfield plots have been built on previously, although many are now abandoned, so these are easier to gain planning permission for because local councils want them to be invested in.

Greenfield land hasn’t been built on before and is usually untouched. There is more resistance to building on these plots because housing developments are likely to detract from the nature already there.

Design and planning permission

Once land and planning permission has been secured, the design phase begins. Blueprints need to be precise to fit within the parameters of the plot. Every detail must be prepared, down to electrical systems mapped out with electrical design software, allowing for the development homes to be connected to the grid and individually supplied with electricity throughout their rooms.

Building regulations will dictate the standards builders need to work to, including the infrastructure and energy efficiency of homes. Housing developments are also required to fit in with the existing community surrounding them – this means limiting impacts on wildlife and residents.


Plans can then be brought to life by construction teams and contractors. Materials need to be sourced and foundations laid to provide a secure base. Structural elements like walls and roofing are constructed first, then windows and doors are added to seal houses. Interiors are then fitted and final inspections and amendments are made to ensure the house is market ready.

Marketing and sales

Housing developers usually control their own marketing and sales channels. Show homes and marketing suites are popular methods to give prospective buyers a taste of what they could get. Listings are typically created and many customers find them by searching for new build homes or developments online.

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