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Guest Blog - Derek Jay, A2Dominion Group

Inside Housing reported in September 2023 that social landlord A2Dominion had completed more new homes achieving an EPC Band A rating than any other landlord in the UK – 115 of 678 homes built across the South East of England.

In this guest blog, A2Dominion’s Senior Design & Technical Manager, Derek Jay, explains the role of great design and the specification of high-quality building materials and products in achieving these market leading results.

I’m an architect by trade and was in practice for 23 years, working across private and affordable housing, but I decided I wanted to try to guide the strategy that dictates the design of homes by moving client side and working for a big social landlord where I could have more influence.

As an architect in practice, I worked on a broad range of housing projects for private and affordable developers, but over time, I began to realise that I could have a greater influence on the sustainability of homes if I moved client side.

I joined A2Dominion in 2020, with the ambition to promote sustainability, and contribute to improving our stance and policies in this area, and my colleagues and I have a strong commitment to realising the benefits of sustainability for individual households, the environment, and communities.

We want to try and instil positive decision making and changes on a project-by-project basis, and ideally, our social housing decarbonisation strategies will link everything up, get everyone talking to each other, and share knowledge and good practice.

Development in London

I’m responsible for development in London, and in the last two or three years we have been delivering roughly 800 new homes a year.

However, this volume of output will be hard to maintain over the coming years, due in most part to the rapidly rising cost of development.

Many construction costs have risen by 30% from when our sites were competitively won, and this, alongside the increasing costs in managing our existing assets, means that our main priority is getting things right for our current customers’ homes, particularly in the context of property EPC ratings.

A2Dominion’s priority should be building robust, and well insulated homes, using the right materials, and solving multiple problems in one go, and it is my belief that sustainability in housing means more than just the environment, it should also encompass the sustainability of people and communities. All three are interlinked.

There are a number of key criteria that A2Dominion must consider when evaluating building products and materials, these include resident use, ease of maintenance, and environmental efficiency.

We know that we need to take good decisions around carbon reduction and form strong group-wide relationships with forward thinking companies.


That includes NorDan UK, and NorDan’s windows are helping A2Dominion reduce the whole life carbon in homes by using timber, extended lifespan of materials and the ease of disposal and recycling.

NorDan’s composite timber windows deliver good environmental performance, and from a maintenance and use point of view, our residents like the familiarity of timber inside their homes.

Having durable thin aluminium layer on the outside also makes a lot of sense because it extends lifespan and reduces the need for maintenance because we need building solutions that tick multiple boxes.

Moving forward, we need to continue to strive to make our homes as energy efficient as possible, so they are affordable to heat and run, and to fulfil our commitment to sustainability targets.

To achieve this, A2Dominion will continue to consider new approaches to building and improving homes, embracing new products, materials and methods.

Derek Jay, A2Dominion, is the Senior Design and Technical Manager at A2Dominion Group.

Find out more about NorDan’s aluminium clad timber composite windows.

Oct 25, 2023
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