Sarah Davies, the Development Manager at Trivallis shares what her role involves and explains how building new homes not only creates much needed affordable housing, but also supports our existing properties and services.
Sarah has been a part of the Development Team at Trivallis for 9 years. She is passionate about the difference affordable housing development can make in a community and is on a one-woman mission to debunk the myths around who benefits most from building and redevelopment projects.
Sarah said: “My role manages Trivallis’ development programme from identifying new sites, through to the end of the defects period. The different stages include purchasing land opportunities, securing planning permission, appointing a contractor, overseeing works on site, managing the completion of the new homes and handing them over to their new residents.
“After handover, the defects period starts which is the 12-month period after a property is completed, where the original contractor is still responsible for any repairs.”
Sarah explains how a typical day for her varies: “My day could involve meeting with a design team of Architects, Engineers and Planning Consultants, working up plans and designs for a new development scheme. It could be visiting a live construction site to check on how the works are progressing or running financial appraisals in the office to check whether a new scheme is viable for the organisation.
“It could also involve submitting grant applications to Welsh Government to make sure we are able to secure funding for new schemes or attending a RCTCBC Planning Committee meeting to see whether one of our schemes has gained planning approval. Every day is so different!”
Trivallis is currently on site constructing 11 new homes at Miskin School and 8 new homes on the site of the former Pentre Hotel. There are also upcoming developments in Ystrad and Penygraig where works are due to start on site soon.
Sarah said: “Development helps to regenerate a community, bringing much needed affordable housing to an area and allowing Trivallis to create more sustainable communities. It also adds to Trivallis’ funds rather than taking any away as 70% of a social housing scheme is funded via Welsh Government funding and the remainder from private finance.
“This means that any money generated from the work gets added to Trivallis’ funds, which then get invested in other services that we provide. As a community mutual we also have a community benefit clause in our contracts with construction firms and suppliers that generates additional funds or resources that get invested directly into our communities.
“I’m also proud that some of our most recent developments such as Llys y Tri Sant have been able to bring much loved community buildings back into use, creating quality affordable homes while maintaining the original character of the building.”
As part of Welsh Government’s funding requirements, Trivallis must design homes to a standard, making sure all properties are built to EPCA rating with only renewable sources of heating and hot water permitted.
Sarah explains: “By following Welsh Government standards, we ensure the homes we build today benefit future tenants. Using the most thermal efficient materials helps them keep their homes warmer for longer and using renewable energy sources creates further savings on energy bills.
“Not having to rely on expensive fossil fuels like gas also helps us at Trivallis to reduce our carbon footprint.
“We’re also replicating this approach in our existing properties, delivering a programme of works that will support tenants to live comfortably warm in their homes without the worry of having to spend more to do so.”
As you can see, Sarah’s role changes on a daily basis and covers a variety of tasks.
Sarah adds: “I really love how varied my role is and how no two days are the same. I also love seeing the properties develop from plans to real homes, especially handing them over on completion day to their new residents and seeing people make them their own.”
If you would like to find out more about development at Trivallis, click here.