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United House Developments to work with four contractors

United House Developments will look to form relationships with up to four contractors to work with on future projects, its chairman has said.

Jeffrey Adams told Construction News the group wanted three or four contractors to work with on a “comfortable basis”.

It currently has a gross development value of £1bn, with a pipeline of around 2,000 units across 12 locations.

United House Developments became an independent company after United House merged with Bullock Construction this week, signalling a “major expansion” of its residential and regeneration business.

The merger formed a new company United Living Group, with a combined turnover of £300m, which has ambitions to grow to a £500m turnover company over the next two to three years, Mr Adams said.

Rick de Blaby will remain with the group as United House Developments’ chief executive and will work with managing director Nick Stonley and former United House group director Paul Nicholls who will be joining the board to lead the company’s regeneration business within London.

Mr Adams will remain the majority shareholder of United House Developments.

He said the team had just started the process of getting ready to go to market to raise “substantial capital” for the group.

Mr Adams said United Living Group had “no intention” of becoming a developer and will be concentrated on the delivery of social housing, affordable homes, refurbishment works and working with housing associations and local authorities.

Bullock Construction chief executive Ian Burnett will become CEO of United Living Group, with former Wates Living COO [2010-2013] Stuart Laird joining the group as its chief operating officer.

Following the merger, United House managing director Colin Forrest left the group, with immediate effect.

Mr Adams said Mr Forrest had made the decision to exit the group but said his departure was “amicable”.

On the decision to merge United House and Bullock Construction, Mr Adams said there was a “commonality” in that both businesses have Lloyds Development Capital as a shareholder.

He said the “true merger”, backed by LDC would make a “much stronger business”, with a reach across the UK turning it into a “major regional player”.

Mr Adams was unable to give a timeframe on when he would look to sell the company and said this was now a more difficult process than it used to be.

“The days are gone where you can say you are going to stay with a business for three or four years, build it up and then flog it.

“I think it’s harder work now, you’ve got to prove what you set out to do and you’ve got to prove profit, and once you’ve got a proven profit track record, and you’ve got profit going forward, then you can do a deal [to sell the company] but it’s not like it was.”

United House Group is currently ranked 59th in the CN100, while Bullock Construction is 89th. With their turnover combined, the firms would be placed 38th in the top 100.

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