ADRIAN MANN - Managing Director and Owner of Mansfield Developments
What inspired you to become a Property Developer?I started out in the building industry as an apprentice bricklayer and enjoyed the whole building environment. I progressed into contracting, then house building. I became a Director of Michael Howard Homes which influenced my working career with respect to appreciating Quality, Design and Customer Care. I started Mansfield Developments in 2007 and continued in the same vein.
Is locating land the biggest challenge today?
I am always looking for quality sites in good locations. Land acquisition and planning is becoming more complex, costly and time consuming. The contributions that have to be paid to the Local Authority are resulting in some of the smaller sites being uneconomical to develop which is proving more challenging for the smaller developer.
How did you find this location and generous plot for this lovely exclusive development?
I often rely on local Estate Agents and meeting the right people. The land owner of Meadow View approached me when I was building two larger houses at the opposite end of the village. The planning took a long time to secure but we eventually gained permission for 5 dwellings on this large site of disused chicken sheds.
Can you describe this Meadow View Development?
Babergh District Council wanted a development that offered a good mix of house sizes which attracted both down sizers and young couples and families. This stunning Development consists of two detached 3 bedroom houses and three terraced 2 bedroom houses approached by a long private drive open to countryside. We kept the quality consistent with our larger homes and all five were sold before they were finished.
How important is kerbside appeal?
Kerbside appeal is paramount to getting perspective buyers through the front door, so the exterior visual appearance is crucial in my view. We spend a lot of time on the design and using the correct quality materials to blend in with the existing surroundings. The majority of our Developments are in rural locations and are often surrounded by older houses so mixing the old look with a modern twist is very important.
Why did you choose EDILIANS products?
Without a doubt, I insist on using quality bricks and roof tiles. I wanted an older reclaim appearance, something with character but at the same time traditional appeal with all the benefits of a new product, which is why I never use concrete tiles. The EDILIANS Vintage Natural Clay Pantiles and matching plain tiles were the best-looking tiles for my development. Sometimes value for money is not always my number one consideration, it is always for me finding the right balance making a positive impact in local rural or semi-rural locations, enhancing these lovely indigenous surroundings with a sympathetic design. This should never be overlooked and it will continue to be a priority for me and Mansfield Developments.
Do you feel the smaller House Builder offers better value for money and higher standards?
Obviously, it depends on the developer/house builder. At Mansfield Developments we pride ourselves on giving attention to detail to a very high standard. We treat our houses as though we were going to live in them ourselves and because we do not build on mass, we can include a lot of extras as standard which does give better value for money.
Is the increased cost of building giving you cause for concern?
All the changes in the building regulations have a cost implication but I think the vast majority of these have a benefit to the end user. We do have to be careful that certain changes don’t just become a box ticking exercise with a cost implication but no benefit to the end user.
If you could ask Central Government to implement one thing to assist more House Building, what would it be?
By trying to take Politics out of planning as this continues to slow the whole process. Local Authorities decisions need to be more consistent as policy interpretation varies greatly.
Are you finding the skill shortage a problem?
This is more of a problem, I guess, for the larger developer/house builder. Mansfield Developments are not volume builders and therefore a continuity of workforce is achievable. I tend to use the same handpicked team of tradesmen and craftsmen for every development.
Do you build with Timber Frame?
At the moment, I am not convinced about building Timber frame houses due to its lack of flexibility to change layout plans and I feel a more solid brick and block masonry construction continues to attract new buyers.
What’s the most important room?
Without a doubt it’s the large open plan Kitchen/Family area followed by the Master Bedroom and en-suite.
What’s the future for Mansfield Developments?
I enjoy finding good locations and have three new planned sites in rural locations and small desirable Suffolk villages. I also enjoy having a hands-on approach to building on a scale that allows me to control all aspects of the site and build programme. I believe in providing our clients with exceptionally high standards of construction, design and craftsmanship, homes that are a pleasure to live in and a delight to the eye.
Check out Mansfield Developments website here.