Hammerson - Learning from Victoria Gate
A holistic evaluation of Victoria Gate Shopping Centre in Leeds unearthed inspiring opportunities for improvement on future projects. Here’s how we helped shape Hammerson’s approach to design, delivery, investment and operations.
Hammerson is a property development and investment company that shares our ethos. We both believe in delivering value for people, and creating a sustainable impact for future generations in a low carbon economy.
They brought us in to develop and deliver a holistic evaluation exercise focused on the sustainability implementation at their Victoria Gate development.
This allowed us to do something relatively rare in property development.
Development companies tend to work in two ways. They either adopt a ‘save as’ approach and recreate what was done before. Or they ‘control alt delete’ and begin each new build fresh.
By taking time for extensive investigation and feedback this project informed improvements for future design, planning and procurement. We identified smarter construction and operational strategies, as well as business and project processes.
"We looked at sustainability measures and performance at Victoria Gate, learning what worked, what didn’t and why."
Outcomes led framework
Our team evaluated the entire project from an independent perspective.
We looked at sustainability measures and performance at Victoria Gate, learning what worked, what didn’t and why. In particular, we looked at the systems and processes at play. We sought constructive feedback, good and bad, to inform what would work better for similar projects.
Hammerson would therefore be able to take our findings, evolve and have a greater positive impact on society and the environment next time around.
Project specific challenges
In working with Hammerson we carefully positioned the evaluation project as a constructive learning opportunity for their value chain.
To be effective enablers of a successful evaluation meant going deep with document reviews, on-site observations, stakeholder interviews and multi-party workshops.
We overcame resistance by listening, learning and responding to everyone involved. This ensured they understood our evaluation wasn’t about fault or blame but genuine inquiry to enhance future projects.
One of the biggest challenges was to devise an action plan that could address such a large and complex project. Making matters tougher was the fact that the scheme had commenced some 4-5 years prior. Since then some people had moved on and the reasons for earlier decisions had been forgotten. To bring focus, we concentrated only on the most useful aspects so Hammerson could make improvements in a cost effective way
"Going behind the scenes of a building and under the skin of a project for clients is one of the most rewarding elements of our work."
We shared insights as primary findings reports, key point summaries and a structured session with representatives from asset and development management. We wrapped up with a brief for the client so they could undertake similar evaluations in an optimised way.
Going behind the scenes of a building and under the skin of a project for clients is one of the most rewarding elements of our work. It goes against the grain of the industry, but it moves us towards a better social and environmental impact – one that goes beyond a single project.