Demonstrating the value of reputation
Reputation for businesses operating in the built environment is a precious commodity. It’s a complex and highly regulated environment with multiple stakeholders from local and national government to customers, suppliers and employees and of course shareholders.
When things are going well, reputations will flourish and can underpin the long-term success of the business. When things go wrong, a strong and deeply rooted reputation can give the benefit of the doubt, providing the breathing space for organisations to take action. But the reputation of a business is fragile and successful organisations understand that it can take a long time to build but moments to lose.
The challenge of building safety puts the issue of reputation front and central in the most difficult of circumstances. And potential home buyers are watching organisations very carefully. The latest research conducted for BECG’s Building Safety Unit suggested that 68 per cent of adults in Great Britain were more likely to buy a new build apartment where the building’s developer had taken steps to proactively fix fire safety defects in other buildings they have developed. And the fact that there is little movement across the age ranges may suggest that the ‘bank of mum and dad’ will scrutinise the issue as much as traditional lenders.
This challenges the assumptions of some developers that the best course of action is to treat each building on a case by basis. Do the minimum and keep quiet. But the best housebuilders will adopt a different approach and will benefit from it. They will embrace an openness about how issues have been dealt with elsewhere and a determination to demonstrate a track record of taking action where ever it is required. That means having a consistent and well thought through approach to dealing with building safety issues. And a consistent approach to stakeholders that is clear and transparent. The BECG research suggests that this will serve them well with homebuyers.
The fact that there are legacy issues of building safety for building companies to rectify is inescapable. How well organisations deal with these issues – how quickly defects are put right and how stakeholders are dealt with – will be an important determinate for the reputation of developers for a long time to come.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,730 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 6th August 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).