Landsec U&I Residential Cost Rulebook


Rob Littlewood


The impact of regulation change, rapid price inflation, increased interest rates and supply chain instability mean that the residential sector is now being set against some increasingly challenging economic headwinds.

Whilst stringent, predictable cost management is paramount in any given development project, the parameters within which the team operates rarely go beyond basic efficiency metrics when establishing an early project brief.

Akerlof was engaged to develop a residential rulebook, to support the briefing and planning process for Landsec U&I’s project pipeline of over 4,000 residential units across London and the UK. The overarching aim was to go beyond a business-as-usual approach to early cost control, establishing a set of key design criteria that should be adopted, without constraining the creativity of the team through design and delivery.

What we did

Akerlof developed a package-by-package guidance document, addressing the high-impact features of typical residential design and guiding the use / extent of those features into those that should be ‘absolute’ (rules) and those that could be more flexible (principles) all while controlling the route to budget.

The end result was a concise rulebook that provided a framework to control both cost and embodied carbon, set against the wider sustainability targets of the pipeline. The rulebook also developed signoff ‘checklists’ against the rules and principles, which could be used as part of a toolkit for gateway signoff.

The impact

  • Clear, highly visual and concise guidance notes, underpinned by cost and performance data, for developing a cost-effective residential design
  • Identification of options around carbon reduction measures, to ensure that investment priorities relative to sustainability targets are properly considered
  • Location-agnostic rules, applicable to residential delivery regardless of geography
  • Adoption by both internal stakeholders, as well as external delivery teams

Jamie Hillier


With a penchant for tweed and jackets with leather arm patches, Jamie began his career as a quantity surveyor, before climbing the ladder to lead major projects for a Tier 1 contractor.

Eventually expanding his book collection beyond copies of SMM7, Jamie has interest in a broad range of subjects linked to delivering better outcomes for society and the environment.

His strategic insights on MMC and behavioural science have made their way into numerous government, industry and academic publications, including the Construction Playbook, Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap to 2030, the Platform Rulebook and the RIBA DfMA Overlay.

John Handscomb


Construction is in John’s blood. Learning from his father who was a planner and project manager, John began his career by working on some iconic projects in both the public and private sector.

As a procurement expert and integrator of new ways of working, John has pioneered the integration of platform principles, DfMA processes and supply chain within over £5bn projects in the last 15 years, for some of the largest building programmes in the UK. Despite his considerable expertise, John keeps it simple, communicating complicated ideas with ease and helping to equip the industry with new knowledge and skills.

Outside of Akerlof, John enjoys his executive role with technology start-up ScanTech Digital, spending time with his family, taking trips down the football, playing a bit of golf with friends and the odd pint. 

Our name is shared with George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

His seminal paper, Market for Lemons, demonstrated the devastating consequences of making decisions under the conditions of quality uncertainty and unequal information between buyers and sellers, increasing the chance of buyers ending up with a ‘lemon’.

This 50-year-old concept continues to retain parallels within the construction industry.

Through our insight and experience, we can rebalance this information asymmetry on behalf of our clients, levelling the playing field to deliver better outcomes.