The Myddelton Lodge project commenced in December 2015 and was completed in August 2018. The project involved the demolition of some of the outbuildings in the grounds of Myddelton Lodge, refurbishment of the Lodge itself and the construction of a luxury 7* private Lodge. Due to the high profile of the site and the client, high expectations were imposed by the local planning authority, one of these being the imposition of strict s106 demands. s106 demands, or requirements, are stated by the local planning authority at the time of planning permission being granted and they are usually used to ensure the local economy benefits from the particular construction project. They traditionally make demands regarding local labour and procurement, forcing the contractors to achieve certain targets, e.g. ensure 10% of all labour requirements are sourced ‘locally’, which usually means from that council’s catchment area. In the case of the Myddelton Lodge project, the contractor was targeted to ‘supply’ 279 weeks of ‘local labour initiatives’, which had a financial equivalent in excess of £145,000.
WPS had already been retained to provide the Compliance consultancy for the project, so agreed to use its experiences from other projects to add this element of planning compliance to its responsibilities list. WPS’s first task was to liaise with the relevant council to ascertain what ‘initiatives/activities’ qualified as contributing to satisfying the demands and also to familiarise with the Council’s reporting processes and procedures. The s106 scenario was, however, in its infancy within this council, so WPS contributed to the development of the reporting process, even suggesting quarterly reporting periods. At WPS’s suggestion Base Contracts put in place agreements with the various subcontractors in order to share the burden of the s106 target fairly across all contractors contributing to the project.This also provided opportunities for a more diverse range of skills/subjects to be covered across the activities completed. It was then time to visit the list of acceptable contributing activities to select those which were suitable for the project to implement. This list included: employment of apprentices, providing work experience placements, conducting site open days to educate local college students, engagement with local schools / colleges demonstrating the career opportunities with the construction industry.
WPS managed the complete s106 ‘project’ on behalf of Base Contracts and all subcontractors, liaising with all the necessary parties (council, subcontractors and local schools and colleges), creating processes and delivering prepared presentations (for open days, school/college visits and careers expos), creating a work experience programme, negotiating with and reporting to the council as necessary and finally agreeing ‘sign off’ with the council within days of project completion, thus satisfying the financial requirement in excess of £145,000 for a fraction of that cost to Base Contracts.
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