Initiative Design is our approach community engaged design, or custom build. It is a flexible approach to community engagement and co-design, the aim being to create a sense of teamwork between Initiative Homes and the community to achieve a set of agreed goals. We seek to start this process at the earliest opportunity, recognising that some projects may be more developed than others when we become involved.

Initiative Design is a flexible approach to community engagement and co-design that can be adapted to the individual circumstances of a development but can be broadly described as having three stages.


Stage one: Brief Development

Once a potential site has been identified understanding what is needed by local communities and how the site can contribute to those needs is the first step in the design process.

Information can be gathered from housing needs surveys, neighbourhood plans and wherever possible via direct engagement with the community. This information is collated into a Design Brief that will reflect community’s needs and our inclusive sustainability principles, and along with outline site layouts and houses designs, will be made available to the community for comment.


Stage Two: Detail Design

During the Detail Design process it may be necessary to modify the original concept. To enable the best possible outcome for all feedback on progress will be provided and comment invited as the designs evolve and develop.


Stage Three: Assessment and Feedback

Once the site reaches a suitable level of maturity members of the local community will have an opportunity to view and comment on the final product. We will welcome comments not just on the final outcome but also on how well the team approach to design worked.



The aim is for a final outcome that brings together good site layout and home design to provide accessible sustainable living and wellbeing that fits well with the local environment. The basic design of the homes can:

  • Support independent living by providing sufficient space and wide enough doors for wheelchair and walking frame use. These features can also make it easier to get the kids into a buggy in the dry and warmth, before venturing outside!
  • Level access into the property but also around the development enables residents to more easily make contact with neighbours, generating a greater sense of community;
  • The ‘right’ space can help clutter free living, important if you are trying to navigate around a home when partially sighted, for example;
  • Good design can also make best use of natural light. Again improving things for the partially sighted but also reducing the cost of artificial lighting.