Andrea Buckle
Written by
Andrea Buckle

About the 80 Charlotte Street project

80 Charlotte Street is a mixed-use scheme made up of offices and apartments that’s being delivered through a blend of new construction and major renovation. Its overall net internal area of approximately 500,000sq ft is split between two blocks in the Charlotte Street area in Fitzrovia. It is a centrepiece development in Fitzrovia and has involved extensive interaction and communication with local people and businesses. A core part of our delivery was the robust Social Value and Community strategy we implemented to actively engage the local community, helping everyone to share in the opportunities that a major development like this creates, and I’m very proud of the achievements we have detailed in our new Social Value Report.

Defining social value

For me, social value is about bringing people to the forefront of a construction project; maximising the ways the project can deliver real benefit and change to local people. The opportunities that 80 Charlotte Street provided included local employment, training opportunities, career advice and outreach works, which all directly impacted people for the better. The relative importance that is placed on these changes created by the projects, as established by the Social Profit Calculator, is the definition of social value.

Measuring social value

Measuring social value within construction is very new to the industry. Through ongoing collaboration with our supply chain, robust data collection, monitoring and analysis, we use the Social Profit Calculator to return a social impact figure for the projects we deliver. The calculator itself uses over 5000 valuations drawn from a variety of publically available data sources, including the global value exchange for social value metrics and HM Treasury’s unit cost database for fiscal and economic valuations. I’m very proud that for 80 Charlotte Street our social impact figure was over £350 million pounds in social, economic and environmental impact. The full breakdown is included in the report.

The key to achieving accurate measurement at 80 Charlotte Street was through establishing collaborative relationships with subcontractors. A proactive approach to social value on the project allowed us to seamlessly link the project and its subcontractors into opportunities within the local community, in order to create genuine changes and improvements to the area.

Some examples of the social value we have created at 80 Charlotte Street

A stand out example of the social value we created at 80 Charlotte Street is what we achieved in terms of providing educational engagements, careers advice and coaching to local young people, ranging from kindergarten to university level. A huge amount of time and effort was dedicated to changing the image of construction for young people from varying socio-economic backgrounds.

Opening the eyes of young people to the lucrative and exciting careers possible within construction was one of the biggest social value outcomes of the project, which we achieved through delivering site walks, work experience placements, visits to schools, workshops and much more to engage young people in a variety of innovative ways.

The Multiplex approach to social value

Multiplex’s approach to social value is special because it had grown organically within the business well before ‘social value’ was a term being used within the industry. The fact that Multiplex was already so far advanced in the tracking and monitoring of local employment, apprenticeships, new entrants and work placements, as well as engaging local establishments, made the transition into measuring social value seamless. The people at the heart of our projects drive the social changes in our local community and the team is fully engaged in doing more than just build buildings.

Highlights of the project

Working with our client Derwent London was a personal highlight as they had an incredible approach to CSR and local community engagement. They have a genuine desire to leave a lasting legacy and this could be seen from the very beginning of the project –setting up the trust, their ongoing summer work placements, attending local networking socials, supporting the local soup kitchen, and even assisting in the resettlement to the UK of a Syrian family who had been living in a refugee camp in Iraq. I was impressed and inspired by the depth of interest and investment that Derwent London committed to meeting many different local needs.

About the author

Andrea Buckle was the Social Value and Community Manager for 80 Charlotte Street, with responsibility for maximising the social value created through our delivery of the project. The project achieved practical completion in June 2020 and is a net zero carbon building. The full Social Value report can be viewed below.