The Social Value Portcast is our podcast series in which we invite guests from a variety of organisations across the UK that are notable for embedding social value as a part of their day-to-day practices.
In this episode, our business development executive, Chris Harling, sat down with Louis Chapman, Assistant Building Manager at the 245 Hammersmith Road team. The Social Value Portal have been measuring social value at 245 Hammersmith Road since it was in construction, and we are now in year two of its in-use measurement working closely with the BNP Paribas team managing 245HR. Over the past two years, we have worked closely with four key service providers at the property and reported on their social value data. We have also begun working with their two tenants to ensure we also capture and report on their social value activities. We discuss the positive contributions to the local community made by the 245HR team and their delivery of social value throughout every aspect of the asset’s lifecycle.
This transcript has been edited for concision and clarity.
Louis Chapman: I’m Louis Chapman, I’m the assistant building manager at 245 Hammersmith Road. Part of my responsibilities to assist in making sure the building runs as it should day-to-day, ensure all of our lovely occupiers are happy and managed our service provider contracts. BNP Paribas Real Estate at the managing agent working on behalf of L&G and Mitsubishi London. The building management team consists of myself, the general manager, Carley Bright, and the Technical Services Manager Gordon White. We then manage the core contracts for the building. So Front of House security, cleaning and engineering. Social value is probably my favourite part of the job. All of our contractors as part of the procurement process have signed up to Social Value Portal. And this is a huge drive from our client and was put in place with all contractors from the initial stages of the design and build process.
Chris Harling: So why is social value so important to the 245HR team and what are the drivers behind this?
LC: I think for everyone involved in social value at 245 it’s a fundamental thing. We want to give back to our community and provide opportunities to those that otherwise may not get a chance to meet their full potential. As you know there are so many ways that we can meet targets on the portal and social value can be built into pretty much every aspect of what we do. From sourcing planting locally as we do with Hammersmith and Fulham Community Gardens, to providing placements for young disabled people trying to find their way into work, which we do with Action On Disability. It can even be as simple as providing a safe clean space for a local charity group to meet or hold a meeting. If we have the resource, why not share it with our neighbours and cultivate that community feel that we all love so much?
CH: How does the team track, manage, monitor and report the work that’s done to maximize your social value delivery?
LC: As I mentioned previously, we try to find a social value angle in almost all aspects of what we do, which coincides with National TOMs centred around five key themes: promoting local skill and employment, supporting responsible and regional business growth, creating stronger and healthier communities, protecting and improving our environment, and promoting social innovation. We’ve set up supported internships with Action On Disability, which provide a bridge for young people with disabilities from college into the workplace. We’ve embedded social value into our procurement process and work closely with a plethora of local charity-run businesses. For example, working with Petite Miracles for furniture repairs. We work with lots of community groups including Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Hammersmith Bid and Barons Court Project which is a day centre for people who are homeless or and/or suffering from mental health issues. Barons Court Project work to help their visitors get off the streets and back into work, while also providing a safe place for them to go for advice, get a healthy hot meal, shower, and clean their clothes. 245 is not just about placemaking, sustainability in the ecosystem is also incredibly important to us. We’ve been working with Hammersmith Community Gardens, Bees and Refugees and our landscaping partners Kings Landscapes, ANS and Eco Roofs to ensure not only are we are reducing carbon emissions but also providing a safe place for the bees and wildlife to thrive. This is only part of our sustainability projects that we’re continuously working on. The teams also have organised fundraising events to raise money for local charities or projects within the borough. We’ve recently gone into partnership with Hammersmith Bid and are hosting their outdoor summer screen this year, which kicks off with Wimbledon. We’ll also be showing the Tour de France Olympics, Paralympics and a plethora of networking events for local businesses and movie nights for local businesses and restaurants to come and enjoy for free. Everything we do is logged by the Social Value Portal, whether it be physical items donated, time volunteered, or financial donations. This is then calculated against the National TOMs to give us a percentage against our target as a building as well as a monetary figure. In year one, we managed to exceed our targets overall reaching approximately 130%, which amounts to roughly £700,000 in social and local economic value provided to the borough. As we’re reaching the end of year two, we’re well on track to exceed this target once again. The pandemic certainly hasn’t stopped us from trying to provide for our community.
CH: What has your team’s approach been to sustainability, and additionally how does social value fit into this approach?
LC: Sustainability is an integral part of what we do as a managing agent and as a team on site. As a smart building, we’re continuously monitoring all of our building operations to ensure we’re running as efficiently as we can to reduce carbon and energy usage. We also monitor the other services in the building i.e. waste collection. For this, we try to recycle as much as we can and with increasing occupation levels, we will be introducing multiple waste streams to ensure that we are upcycling, recycling, reusing or mitigating waste where we can. This will also mitigate carbon waste. There are also potential plans for external planting. Currently, we have a lot of plants that have high carbon absorption rates. However, we feel that this could be improved and working with Hammersmith Community Gardens and around landscaping maintenance team we’re looking to put in place willow, which can be harvested each year and used in basket weaving masterclasses for local residents or community groups. We’re also looking to introduce some community garden space in our urban park, which will have the things grown will be donated to local homeless charities or shelters. We would also look to utilize the space to host educational sessions on food and nutrition with local kids.
CH: At 245HR social value data is collected from service providers and tenants as well as from yourselves. How exactly do you work with your service providers (supply chain) and the tenants to promote and encourage the delivery of social value?
LC: As I mentioned, social value was built into the procurement process for our contractors. As part of their contracts, they sign up to a Social Value Portal and set themselves targets based on their contract value. And as part of our occupier induction process, we also set them up in the same way. The best way we found to get people to engage is to utilise their skills in work, but also utilise their personal passions and skills. For example, I’m a qualified hairdresser. Prior to COVID, I was doing haircuts for the homeless at Barrens Court Project. And I’ll now be doing haircuts for the staff and occupies within the building as a nonprofit initiative for local charities. So I’ll select a different charity each quarter to support and all money made will be donated. We also have a photographer on the team, musicians, and our wonderful General Manager Carley Bright is a Zumba instructor and she provides free classes for occupiers. So we want our staff to feel they can bring their passions to the table and enjoy them as part of their service delivery and social value delivery.
CH: Do you think this type of social value measurement is important throughout the in-use phase of an asset/property? If so, why?
LC: I think it’s essential for all phases of development and occupation. It’s innately human to want to make a difference and give back so why not incorporate it into our day to day? Take a break and help a fellow human out.
CH: This is a little off-topic, but since we just had Pride Month, we hear that your team been raising awareness around LGBT+ history and raising money for Stonewall. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
LC: Absolutely. We have such a diverse supportive team here at 245 and as a queer man, myself, pride and the LGBT+ community is very important to me. During lockdown, we thought we’d try and bring a little cheer to people and do some good at the same time. So we decided for LGBT+ History Month, we would post some historical facts and educate people a little on queer history via our social media platforms. And to raise money for Stonewall, we decided to put together a lockdown lip-sync extravaganza to Vogue by Madonna, which all of our teams got involved in directors and engineers alike. Including our occupiers and we even managed to get some family involved. Carley Broght’s partner Dave happily dragged up for the occasion which was fabulous! You can find the video via Instagram, LinkedIn and it’s also on our YouTube channel. There’s also a Just Giving page so if anyone out there is able, please do donate.
CH: What role would you say social value has in contributing to a more inclusive UK?
LC: I think that is a change in thought process. Prior to being involved in social value, it was almost just a “get the job done” mindset. Now I find myself thinking about how we can incorporate social value and give people opportunity in any and all aspects of what we are delivering. Whether that be utilizing a local charity to provide a service or creating placements for young people for work experience, to opening up an event to local residents or kids that maybe wouldn’t get a chance to be involved in that type of event. It’s also so educational for those involved. I’ve learned so much about mental health and disability in the workplace and met some incredible people that just haven’t been given their chance to shine. I hope that we can give that to them in some way.
CH: How have you worked to encourage social value delivery in the area/community? What partnerships have supported you to do this?
LC: Social value was spoken about constantly. Legal in General and Mitsubishi London worked with LendLease on the base build projects to ensure it was instilled from day one. And BNP Paribas Real Estate’s Craig Chapman put a pitch together for the management of the building, which heavily involved social value. Now the building is open and we’re working with all different types of partners to cultivate a social value culture around 245. We’re marketed as the heart of Hammersmith, but I think it has become the ethos of our building. It’s part of everything we do. We work with the council and Hammersmith Bid and a plethora of local charities and all of our occupiers and service providers to ensure we are giving as much as we can.
CH: How do you see the uptake of social value across other assets in the UK – and maybe even the rest of the world?
LC: For us in the asset management world? It’s definitely the way our industry is going. With lockdown, I think people have realized that they need a better work/life balance, and mental health and wellbeing issues is something that occupiers are really wanting more awareness around. Social value can be implemented in so many different ways that it can be tailored to any site, big or small. If people aren’t getting involved, they absolutely should be.
CH: Thanks for joining us on the podcast today Louis! Before we wrap-up I have to ask: why is social value important to you personally and for the team at 245HR?
LC: Thank you for having me. Honestly, it’s been a pleasure. Personally, I want to make a difference and I want to see others thrive. And I think the 245 family would echo that sentiment. We’ve all had setbacks in life or were denied an opportunity. And we just want to give those people their minute in the sun. So we are always here to help.