The people side
With £10 million of investment in place, Werth turned to the people side of the business. Adrian Bohr had risen up through Crest Nicholson and GT Partnerships to become md of Linden Homes Eastern. He had enjoyed the plcs he had worked in, noting that at Linden they were building good bespoke projects and “interesting different house types”. But when Werth came calling he was ready to do something new, take a stake in the business and take on the challenge.
Werth says: “I didn’t want just a land man (as my director), I wanted more experience, someone who had been a managing director. Land men can be such optimists but don’t always see the whole picture.”
Bohr duly came on board as the firm launched last October, and now the team is up to nine as they seek out the right people with the right experience and attitude. With the skills coming on board it was time to set a strategy and find some sites.
“Banner built and sold high quality homes in the £500,000 to £3.5 million range and Linden and Crest worked in the £250,000 to £1 million range,” says Werth. “What we want to do is deliver quality, as with Banner, but towards the lower price end – £500,000 to £1.5 million range.”
The plan is to bring in the quality and to “exceed customer expectations in terms of quality”. “The volume housebuilder approach may be to have standard building techniques, putting in timber floor joists throughout for instance. We are looking to build in solid floors, a quality product,” says Bohr.
It is a laudable ambition, but it begs the question why go to that trouble if you can build to normal standards and still sell the homes. But Werth and Bohr are adamant that they want Troy Homes to be known for quality, and that they can extract value for that quality in the areas that they are looking to operate. “If you can build in that quality then you can get a better price than others around you,” insists Werth. “And in a harder market you will be able to sell your homes where others can’t.”
PUBLISHED: Housebuilder July/August 2016