Liverpool Habitat for Humanity and Wates Group

Corporate responsibility, care in the community and sustainability values all add up to one team: Asta Development, Liverpool Habitat for Humanity and Wates Group

Liverpool Habitat for Humanity (LHFH) is an affiliate of the international charity Habitat for Humanity which is working towards eliminating poverty in housing around the world. Liverpool Habitat for Humanity is in the process of building an estate of 32 homes in a district of Liverpool, 9 of which are already complete. The organisation relies on donated funds and volunteer labour for the construction of the homes and has implemented Asta Powerproject, donated by Asta Development, to plan and schedule the programme of works.

The homes are timber-framed, making them an easier design for unskilled hands to construct. Liverpool Habitat for Humanity is giving people, who would not normally be in a position to get on the property ladder, a chance to build and own their own homes. Partnering Habitat for Humanity on this significant build is Wates, a family-owned construction services company, whose culture celebrates people, partnership and sustainability. Wates’ ethos is to explore new ways for the construction industry to work together, so when approached by Habitat for Humanity to be involved in the pioneering work it is carrying out, Wates was delighted.

Paul Taylor, Development Coordinator, at Liverpool Habitat for Humanity and self-taught user of Asta Powerproject said “Asta Powerproject helps us on two levels: it helps us to programme our construction and build timeframe and, because Wates was already using Asta Powerproject, we can communicate better, work more efficiently and save time. Not having this compatibility was a great hurdle we needed to overcome, but Asta Powerproject has solved this problem.”

Liverpool Habitat for Humanity has now been using Asta Powerproject for one year, using it at ground level for the construction team. “We work with volunteers and corporate groups,” said Paul, “everyone gets to help on a team building. The software helps us to plan for what each team will be doing, when they are available and what tasks need to be done. It can actually turn out to be a more complicated task for us than for a traditional construction firm because they basically keep to a schedule and pay contractors to come in when they need them; we rely on voluntary unskilled workers and donations. This means we have less control over completion dates, even though we still have to keep to a schedule. So we need more flexibility to help us quickly and easily amend the schedule and change the programme. It’s not an exact science and we have no control over when offers will come in. Asta Powerproject makes it easier for us to move things about, to reschedule and rearrange without onerous, time-consuming effort.”

Asta Powerproject is the exclusive software of choice for Wates, it is used to programme all contracts throughout whole of the Group. Phil Williams is Principal Design Manager for Wates and Trustee and Member of main board for LHFH and Chairman of the construction committee. He has a lifetime’s experience of construction programme management software backed up by professional training. Phil has set up the programme of works for HFH and helped to coach the staff. Wates also provides LHFH with access to the sympathetic rates of its supply chain. He commented, “Asta Powerproject is now an integral part and essential tool for running the site. It is also used as a communications tool between both parties. I summarise the progress to the main board, trustees and other stakeholders, LHFH inspects, reviews, monitors, records and reports site progress. Successfully using Asta Powerproject in the every day management of this significant build, with no prior experience of programming, is testimony to the software’s intuitive and easy to use design.”

Control over progress is not guaranteed. Labour levels fluctuate, ground conditions change, funding is sporadic and resources can often be slim. “Easy operation to reschedule the programme to clearly indicate what the revised completion dates are forecast to be is imperative,” said Phil. “The software compares what was planned with actual progress. It plots a line that shows whether the programme is behind or ahead of schedule, from that we can see which items have fallen behind and take the appropriate action, in time. The beauty of Asta Powerproject is it will give a clear indication of the revised completion dates.”

Asta Development, Liverpool Habitat for Humanity and Wates Group, are working together to support people and communities in areas that need their help the most, their commitment to teamwork, performance and delivery all points towards their vision of sustainability for the future.

“We are so grateful for the support of Asta Development and Wates Group. It is through the support and resourcing by corporates, individuals and others that Habitat can survive. During this current economic crisis we have had to stop our build while we raise enough funding to continue. It is hoped that companies such as Asta Development and Wates will inspire others to get involved and help us in our worthwhile aim to build a strong and sustainable community. Once we raise the funds, it will be Asta Powerproject that will help keep us on track.” – Shannon Ledbetter, Rev. Dr. Shannon Ledbetter, chair of Liverpool Habitat for Humanity