Appreciating the value of thoughtful design

Understanding the Social Value impact that we have on the world around us informs the collective decisions we make about where to invest our time and resources. It also helps us understand and appreciate the positive difference we can make to the communities in which we operate.

Through thoughtful design we consciously take account of economic, environmental and social elements to ensure our approach makes a positive contribution to individuals and society in general. By engaging early with Stakeholders we can understand their needs and preferences; what impact is likely to be experienced by our actions; and what changes in lives will result from what we do.

We have the opportunity to deliver Social Value at every stage of a development from design through to how the space is managed; and how the occupiers reach out to the local community and protect our environment.

Our aim is to make the maximum social impact to society through our activities and the places we create. We measure and assess our Social Value outcomes across the following key areas.

Social Mobility

Providing access to opportunities to develop new skills

We’re passionate about providing equal opportunities for everyone to succeed irrespective of their background. Through our work with schools across the UK we raise aspirations and remove barriers to those from disadvantaged areas and support everyone to reach their full potential. Last year, 55% of our staff were involved in our out-reach programmes. We are active participants and supporters of Founder4Schools which connects teachers with local businesses to improve the employability of their students and Ambassadors for Developing the Young Workforce. We hold careers fairs and mock interviews with students; run week long structured programmes and taster days for school placement pupils; arrange site visits for local schools, and we’re involved in tutoring and mentoring initiatives with schools, colleges and through our professional institutes. We’re proud to have been part of the Trailblazer Group which developed two new Architectural Apprenticeship Standards, providing a more accessible route of entry to our profession and employ a number of Apprentices each year.

Social Wellbeing

Recognising the individual needs and preferences of our stakeholders

We care about the wellbeing of our employees and those impacted by the places and spaces we create. We aim to understand individual needs and create an environment which is supportive, nurturing and inclusive. Through our Well-Beings Programme and appointed Mental Health First Aider we run campaigns, workshops and an extensive Employee Assistance Programme to support individuals across our studios. The wellbeing of users of the buildings and communities we design is also critical to us. We’ve developed HLM_Insight and HLM_Healthcheck; digital tools to determine stakeholder preferences against both physiological and psychological wellbeing criteria, enabling us to prioritise and evaluate key design decisions against those needs. Our Post Occupancy Evaluations monitor the impact and success of our design in operation helping us to continuously learn and improve our approach.

Social Communities

Supporting and empowering our local community

We’re proud of our work with local communities and the deep and strong relationships we have developed with the voluntary sector. Each year we empower our employees to donate both time and money to local projects and groups, from youth centres to keeping green spaces clean. We run community engagement and supply chain programmes and have established numerous community interface groups. We aim to create healthier, safer and more resilient communities by designing to reduce crime and build stronger networks. We fundraise and support local charities that mean the most to our team. Our annual Charity Construction Balls have raised over £250,000 to date and across our studios we bake, run, sleep out, dance off, cycle, swim channels, wear pink and hold coffee mornings.

Social Sustainability

Making a positive impact on the world we leave for future generations

We’re committed to taking proper account of the nature and scale of the impact of our activities on the natural environment, and promote the sustainable and ethical procurement of third party products and services. We’re accredited to ISO14001:2015 with a comprehensive Environmental Management System and Sustainability Support Group which guides our approach. Our environmental performance is monitored against annual objectives to reduce climate impact, by reducing pollution, increasing sustainable travel, reducing waste and carefully managing our resources. We create cleaner and greener places for people to live and work and apply a robust sustainable design methodology to all of our projects, in collaboration with our partners HLMGreenbuild.