14 August 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Professional engineering services consultancy WSP has created a practical guide on how to introduce positive social value impacts into projects at the design phase.
This currently unique methodology requires minimal data sets, which makes it easy to incorporate at the early stages of development, in the form of a simple, points-based tool.
Considering social value in project designs makes spaces more attractive, increasing their use and boosting the revenues of the organisations operating within them. Including social value in projects encourages productivity and minimises waste, states WSP.
Snigdha Jain, principal consultant at WSP, says: "Since the implementation of the Social Value Act (2012), the construction industry is required to factor social value in for all public service contracts in the UK."
Jain added: "Currently, measuring social value for projects is a challenge for the industry and in establishing this brand new tool, which is the first of its kind, we are allowing for a new methodology and more widespread approach for social value assessment which can be rolled out across a number of different developments."
The research has shown that the consistent factors that influence social value are security, accessibility, physical and mental health, with added varying factors depending on the type of project.
For example, the five factors influencing social value in high-rise projects are local identity, security, accessibility, physical and mental health, whereas for masterplanning projects, social interaction takes the place of local identity.
The tool takes each factor independently and applies a set of five action points that the project must meet. This could potentially give an overall social value score of 25.
Further information gathered from the research on key stakeholder groups has also shown that security is perceived to be the most important factor in creating social value in the built environment.
Jain said: "Our research, gathered from the public, the client and the consultant, has shown that creating a secure environment is vital to introducing other social value factors."