SDB Contractors – Services

A sample page description


Sandwood provides a full range of services to its clients.

The vast bulk of our work is Design and Build, so the team we have to manage under the contract includes architects and other consultants, as well as our employees and other subcontractors. We are used to establishing good relationships with them to resolve the usual problems of providing good design within tight and unyielding budgets.

As we are fundamentally a builder, not just a project manager, there is a wealth of construction experience within the company, and we are able to work with our consultants in reviewing designs and drawings, thus ensuring accuracy and buildability.

We are able to bring our subcontractors into the team at an early stage because of our partnering arrangements and we draw on the site experience of our own direct labour force.


We consider it part of our role to find sites for our Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partners. We have reasonable contacts and a good appreciation of what is viable.

Sites are generally passed directly to the clients on the understanding that any construction contract will be negotiated with Sandwood. If required by our clients, we can act as an intermediary. We do not charge introductory fees.

Site Finding


We prefer to be involved in a project from the outset. This helps us build a team from the beginning, allows us to understand the design, and advise on practical buildability issues. We do not charge any pre-contract fees, even though our involvement with some projects can extend over several years. We don’t think it’s logical to charge for this involvement, which we prefer, when there are no similar charges for submitting a tender. While there is no formal commitment on the part of the client to award us a contract, we would generally expect this to be the outcome.

With our partner architects and other consultants we can:

  • prepare feasibility studies.
  • advise on costs, planning, building control, sound, modern methods of construction, scheme development standards, construction, and sustainability issues.


Although we are happy to work with client supplied architects and other consultants, we have also built up our own team.

We have a number of architects that we’ve worked with regularly that we can recommend for appropriate sites and we have long term relationships with a number of structural engineers. We have our own M&E and Acoustic consultants as consistency across these areas is particularly important.

With sustainability such a significant issue, we have trained our own EcoHomes/Code for Sustainable Homes assessor. Our subcontractors are generally long term partners enabling us to maintain consistent quality and value for money. We also work with them on long term planning and resourcing.

Developing Teams
Managing Teams


This includes finding sites, feasibility studies, value engineering, tendering and negotiating, constructing teams, construction and post contract support. We can advise on a number of areas including planning, sustainability, scheme development standards, sound and air tightness, as well as design, cost and buildability.

We can bring to the pre contract process the experience of our direct labour force and partnered subcontractors, suppliers and consultants. We are happy to work with clients’ design teams, but equally we are able to put together our own team of consultants from those we have worked with successfully on previous schemes, tailoring the selection to the particular project.

One of the advantages of our directly employed workforce is that experience gained on previous sites is available to the company and clients for future projects, ensuring continuous improvement becomes a reality.


Although a medium sized contractor we believe our portfolio and range of experience is of more value than many of our larger competitors.

Firstly, as a builder, the schemes we have undertaken have been completed by our own permanent staff – not just at senior management level but also at site manager and trade levels. With a very low staff turnover, all that valuable experience remains within the company and is available for use in future developments.

We have a highly skilled and experienced workforce and as we tend to deal with the more difficult, tight, design led projects, we attract and keep people interested in these challenges.

We specialise in social housing and have done for 15 years, so the expertise we have developed is specific to the market in which we operate.

Construction Expertise
Construction Experience


We have a wide range of experience within the social housing sector. A large proportion of our past work has been timber frame, including two five storey blocks at Mackintosh Lane for Servite Houses. We have moved away from this on some new schemes, partly on cost grounds, and partly for thermal mass considerations. We have undertaken a number of concrete framed schemes, including Pembury Place for Peabody Trust and Spring Place for Community Housing Group – a 7 storey concrete frame abutting the North London Railway Line.

Our involvement in Modern Methods of Construction has also involved modular units (Mackintosh Lane ; 7 houses from 21 modular units constructed in Sheffield) and we are currently looking at bathroom/shower pods. We have a particular interest in sustainability and have been involved in some interesting schemes, such as Boatemah Walk for the London Borough of Lambeth. This included a photovoltaic roof, rainwater harvesting, FSC timber and natural paints. Our Wiltshire Road project is solar thermal, and Mora Burnet was fitted with a communal heating CHP system. Our interest extends beyond the headline additions to the importance of insulation, air tightness, sustainable timber, water conservation and sustainable drainage systems. Our interest in sustainable timber extends to Sandwood being one of the very few contractors to achieve FSC Chain of Custody status, and the only contractor to undertake a new build project (Boatemah Walk) which qualifies as an FSC mixed sources product.

We have been fortunate to work with some very talented architects including (but not limited to) Niall McLaughlin, who was the architect at Evelyn Road, Ash Sakula at Boxley Street, Anne Thorne Architects Partnership at Boatemah Walk and Wiltshire Road, Fraser Brown MacKenna at Pembury Place, as well as Penoyre & Prasad (Elsdale Street), PRP Wick Road), RGP (Mackintosh Lane), Dunthorne Parker (Merton Road), What Architecture (RoofTop Nursery) and Monahan Blythen (Spring Place).

We are particularly good at working within tight financial constraints while ensuring the design concepts remain uncompromised.

Although most of our work is purely residential, we have been involved in mixed use schemes, and have particular experience in supported housing, care homes and extra care facilities.

We generally work on a Design and Build basis but also on conventional and more innovative forms of contract.


SDB Environmental has been established to provide a comprehensive environmental service to make achieving Level 3 and above of the Code for Sustainable Homes both cost effective and stress-free. Our two in-house Code for Sustainable Homes Assessors (one of which is a BREEAM Accredited Professional) can provide a full assessment service and our On-Construction Domestic Energy Assessor accredited by the BRE enables SAP calculations and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to be produced all under one roof. These services bring the whole assessment procedure closer to the construction process, and give the design team flexibility when modelling sustainability options.

SDB Environmental also has the distinct advantage of being able to draw upon Sandwood’s wealth of construction and sustainability experience and commitment to high quality workmanship which provides a number of advantages for achieving credits under the Code, both indirectly through improved airtightness levels which enhance SAP ratings and directly through sound transmission levels in excess of Building Regulation requirements. Sandwood’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody status and the supply chain that has been developed to support it greatly assists in achieving credits under the Materials section of the Code which are often not even considered because of their complexity. Sandwood also has direct experience of installing a number of renewable technology solutions such as combined heat and power (CHP) and integrated photovoltaic systems, and have in-house staff that are fully-trained to install solar thermal panels.

By appointing SDB Environmental alongside Sandwood’s construction appointment, sustainability and buildability advice can be provided at an early stage of a project to ensure all requirements of the Code are met within the client’s restricted budget. The assessment process is an ongoing one, and projects will be closely monitored throughout the Design and Post-Construction stages by our Assessors, directly liaising with the Project Team to ensure the evidence requirements of the Code are met with the minimum involvement of the client.

As an introduction to the service we are offering FREE OF CHARGE Code for Sustainable Homes Pre-Assessments to our framework and other partners. There would be no commitment to continue with either our environmental or construction services past this stage, though clearly we hope you would do one or both. Our charges for Design Stage and Post Construction assessment are available on request, with further discounted rates where Sandwood is also appointed as the contractor.

If you have any schemes you would like us to look at please do not hesitate to contact us.

SDB Environmental