Adapting to the Evolving Landscape of the New Homes Market.

April 16, 2024

Developers must innovate as buyer profiles evolve, or risk falling behind in the dynamic market.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

The property landscape is swiftly transforming, and with it, the profiles of buyers seeking new homes. In an exclusive interview with Tori Le Masurier, leading new homes agent at Bristol’s Knight Frank, we delve into the crux of today’s local market changes and the adaptive strategies agents and developers must employ to stay ahead.

“The successful agent today needs to look beyond the traditional blueprint for sales and understand people’s changing lifestyles. At Knight Frank, we continually monitor the market, we track the source of our enquiries and locations our applicants are coming from and try and make the path from them to us as easy possible which in turn boosts sales.”

Tori Le Masurier, Knight Frank

The New ‘Forever Home’ Trend in Bristol

The city, country and coastal lifestyle of the West Country is drawing a new wave of “empty-nester” buyers from London and the home counties. As Tori Le Masurier explains, these discerning individuals are relocating to be closer to their families, embracing the role of “grandparent care” while seeking homes that offer the perfect blend of space, luxury, and convenience. These homes are not just living spaces but a central hub for everyday life blended with extended family time, often needing to accommodate friends as guests from their previous locales.

For agents, this signals a need to recalibrate focus and extend their reach beyond Bristol databases to accommodate the influx of these lifestyle-changing, family-centric buyers. The key lies in recognising this shift towards Bristol and surrounding areas as destinations for “forever homes,” where the emphasis on quality and space aligns with the desire for a more connected family life.

“Knight Frank have offices across the country and internationally and our new homes teams work in tandem with all our local residential and international sales teams to make sure that we have maximum coverage making it easier for applicants to find properties we are marketing for sale.”

Tori Le Masurier, Knight Frank

Broadening Horizons: From City Centre Flats to Global Buyers

Knight Frank’s strategy encapsulates this ethos, successfully marketing to a diverse clientele across the Globe. This national and global approach taps into a rich vein of potential buyers, including academic professionals and international students, thereby amplifying the demand for centrally-located, well-appointed living spaces. Almost all the buyers who bought new build property from Knight Frank in Bristol last year were from abroad often, contacting the agents individually via Whatsapp so not via the traditional route through portals.

Rent to Buy: A New Frontier for Developers

An emerging trend that Tori highlights is the inventive “rent to buy” scheme, where a year’s rent transitions into a property deposit. It’s a win-win: tenants may leapfrog into homeownership, while developers foster loyalty and incentivise purchases. If tenants choose not to buy, the accrued rent serves as a financial buffer for the developers. This creative approach could be a game-changer, offering a tangible solution to those grappling with down payments, and thereby broadening the appeal of a development.

Embracing Change for Market Success

The new homes market is not just changing; it’s evolving at a pace where agility and foresight become the harbingers of success. Agents who anticipate trends by tracking market movements and analysing changing demographics will be far better equipped to target buyers beyond their traditional, geographical boundaries. As the buyer landscape diversifies, embracing a broader reach and innovative sales strategies is no longer optional—it’s imperative.

Tori can be connected with at:

The benefits of using planning CGI for commercial developments.

March 6, 2024

From a planning perspective, the use of architectural visualisation for commercial developments is invaluable.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

What are the benefits of planning CGI for commercial development?

Using CGI to help plan commercial developments can save time and money.

It can help speed up the planning process by accurately representing how a development will look. This can help persuade planners and residents that a scheme is beneficial to avoid potential objections.

By creating a realistic 3D model of your proposed commercial development, planners can better understand how the finished project will look and identify any potential problems early on.

This helps to avoid costly delays further down the line.

You can also use your CGI to support your sales and marketing activities. By showing potential investors or tenants a realistic representation of what the finished project will look like, you can increase interest in your scheme and maximise returns on investment.

Here, we take a closer look at the benefits of using planning CGI for commercial property developments and how you can make the most of this vital tool.

The benefits of using planning CGI for commercial developments

When it comes to using CGI for commercial developments, the benefits are numerous, including:

  • It’s quick
  • It’s cost-effective
  • It allows seamless details and precision
  • It can help bring presentations and marketing to life
  • It’s a fantastic way of promoting the development to potential investors and buyers
  • It helps identify and iron out any issues before construction
  • It’s easy to edit and collaborate

However, from a planning perspective, the use of architectural visualisation for commercial developments is invaluable for the following reasons:

Show multiple designs

Using planning CGI can help you visualise multiple designs at once, making it easier for planning officers and committees to compare and contrast different options.

For example, you can create completely different versions of a proposed scheme to show how each would look or tweak some of the details, like textures, colours and finishes, to ensure the finished scheme is as attractive as possible and has minimal visual impact. You can even show how a building will look at various times of the day, or in different weather or lighting conditions.

Correct mistakes before construction

The best thing about using planning CGI to visualise your scheme is that it’s easy to correct any mistakes or potential issues before building work begins. While you can be diligent in putting your application together, dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’, there still might be details you miss or things that come to light once your plans have been submitted.

Because planning CGI is so easy to adapt and change, these issues can quickly be rectified to put planners’ minds at ease, speed up the process and boost your chances of a successful outcome.

Showcase style and branding

In most commercial developments – particularly retail parks or other consumer environments – style, branding and visual design are extremely important.

The need to be attractive and appealing to draw customers in and deliver a positive experience.

This can be difficult to capture in a traditional 2D sketch or technical drawing.

With CGI, you can bring these elements to light to highlight the overall aesthetic of a scheme and alleviate any concerns planners may have about the impacts that details like signage and lighting might have.


Arguably the most significant benefit of planning CGI for commercial developments is its versatility. It can be used to showcase a wide range of options, from colours, materials, textures and finishes, to give planners and potential objectors a better understanding of how the finished scheme will look, function and interact with its environment.

How to get the most out of your planning CGI

Working with a professional team of CGI specialists, like Oakfield Design and Creation, will help ensure your planning CGI will work as hard for you as possible. We’ve worked in the industry for a long time and understand the planning process and the importance of providing compelling visual evidence to support your application and maximise its chances of success.

We know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating planning CGIs that help tell the right story and set the correct context. Some of the elements we’ll use include:

  • High-quality textures and materials to make your planning CGI look more realistic and inviting
  • Real-world details like people, trees, furniture and vehicles to bring your visualisation to life and make it more engaging
  • Realistic lighting that mimics the natural environment as much as possible to give a clear idea of how the proposed scheme will look, night and day
  • Simple details that are not exaggerated or over-the-top to ensure your CGI is as accurate as possible and avoid any adverse reactions from planners or potential objectors

With more than 30 years’ experience in the property development sector, we understand the planning process and how to navigate it successfully. We offer our clients high-quality, persuasive yet affordable CGI visualisations to support commercial planning applications and give them the best chance of success.

To find out more and talk about your project and how we can help, please get in touch

Perfecting Your Price Point: Gaining the Crucial Edge in Property Development.

February 8, 2024

In our interview with George Cardale, we discover why accurate pricing is vital in today’s property market for development success.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

“In today’s market, more than ever, accurately pricing your properties is paramount. Failure to do so can mean the difference between attracting buyers and watching them move on to other options, leaving your properties in their wake.”

George Cardale, Savills

In a property market where now, more than ever, pricing strategy and precision can dictate the success or failure of a development, the emphasis on getting the price point exactly right cannot be overstated.

This insight, drawn from an in-depth conversation with George Cardale of Savills, highlights this critical idea.

As we know, the property market is a dynamic entity, constantly influenced by economic factors, buyer preferences, and competitive pressures. This flux means that what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow, making the task of setting the right price a challenging yet essential endeavour. It’s not merely about assigning a value based on costs and desired profit margins; it’s about understanding the market at a granular level. The right price point is a confluence of the property’s inherent value and the market’s current state, requiring a deep dive into comparative analyses and real-time market feedback. Getting this balance wrong means potential buyers are either not there, holding out for a more attractive price point, or they’ve already committed to other options by the time adjustments are made.

Developers must leverage every tool and piece of information at their disposal to navigate these waters. This includes a comprehensive understanding of the “5 P’s” of property sales, which we will explore further in a follow-up article. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that while Price is paramount, the other four P’s — Product, Presentation, Promotion, and People — play significant roles in drawing in and securing buyers.

Product quality cannot be compromised. The specifications, size, quality, and type of build must meet the expectations set by the price point. A misalignment here can deter potential buyers, regardless of the price.
Presentation involves the kerbside appeal and interior design, which need meticulous attention to detail. The first impression, both off-plan and with your show home dressing, is often the deciding factor for prospective buyers, making the aesthetic and functional appeal of each property a priority.
Promotion strategies must set your development apart in a competitive market. A strong brand presence, coupled with consistent, high-quality marketing efforts, ensures that your properties resonate with the target audience, garnering interest and engagement.

People, the cornerstone of the sales process, need to embody expertise, experience, and the ability to foster trust, rapport, and excitement throughout the buyer’s journey. The sales team’s approach can significantly influence the buyer’s decision-making process.

To further entice interested buyers, developers can offer incentives such as stamp duty payments, part-exchange options, cash-back on completion, or covering service charges for the first year. These incentives not only make the offer more attractive but also alleviate some of the financial burdens buyers face, making the purchasing decision easier.

In conclusion, setting the right price point is a multifaceted challenge that requires a nuanced understanding of the market, a keen insight into buyer behaviour, and a comprehensive strategy that encompasses the 5 P’s of property sales. As we delve deeper into these aspects in our subsequent discussions, we keep in mind that the goal is not just to sell properties but to do so in a manner that maximises value for both developer and the buyer.

In this fluctuating landscape, the developers who master the art of pricing, supported by a strong product, presentation, promotion, and people strategy, will navigate the current market challenges with confidence and success.

If you’d like to keep up-to-date with the very latest insight in property development marketing and sales, sign up for our regular arrticles here >

How CGI can help win planning permission.

February 6, 2024

We deep dive into the areas where CGI can help you secure planning consent quickly and affordably.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

The different types of planning permission and how CGI can help

When it comes to ‘selling the vision’ of a planning application and giving planners a clear idea about its potential impact, CGI visualisation can be a vital tool. Here we look at some of the different types of planning permission in the UK and how architectural CGI can speed up the process and help you secure a successful outcome.

What is planning permission?
Planning permission allows homeowners, developers and other residential or commercial property professionals to make changes to land or buildings. It’s a legal requirement for anyone looking to construct new buildings or make changes to land or property to apply for planning permission.

There are different types of planning permission in the UK, and each has its own requirements.

The process of obtaining planning permission can be complex, so it’s essential to follow all the necessary steps to avoid delays or penalties.

In most cases, the applicant must submit a planning application to the local planning authority outlining the proposed development and its impact on the surrounding area. The local planning authority will then review the application and decide whether to grant or refuse permission.

Some of the terms you may come across during the planning process include:

Permitted development
Permitted development, in the context of UK planning law, is the term used to describe certain types of development which do not require the prior approval of a local planning authority. It is a relaxation of the normal planning permission process.

The definition of permitted development, together with its associated conditions, is set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

The purpose of permitted development is to provide a simplified route for minor works that would not normally be refused consent, but also to ensure that these works do not adversely impact neighbouring properties or the character or appearance of an area.

The most common types of permitted residential development are extensions and alterations to buildings, changes of use, and installing solar panels. Larger or more contentious projects may require planning permission even if they fall within permitted development rights. So, checking with your local council before starting work is always advisable.

When it comes to commercial property, the list of permitted developments includes most types of commercial and industrial development, such as new shops, offices and factories. However, there are some restrictions, for example, on the size or height of buildings. In addition, there are specific rules for different areas, such as conservation areas or areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Permitted development rights for residential and commercial properties can be restricted or removed if it would harm the local area, for example, by causing unacceptable noise or traffic congestion.

Reserved Matters
Reserved matters are a specific type of planning permission in the UK. They are used for commercial and industrial developments and allow for greater flexibility in the design or layout of the development or building, the type of materials to be used, or the landscaping scheme.

The developer submits a planning application for the overall scheme and then requests reserved matters approval for specific elements. This allows for a more streamlined process, as it avoids going through a separate application process for each component.

If a developer wants to change any of these reserved matters after planning permission has been granted, they will need to go back to the local authority for further approval. This process can be time-consuming and costly, so it’s vital for developers to get all of the details right at the outset.

Reserved matters are significant in commercial and industrial developments, where small changes can impact the final outcome. In some cases, it may even be necessary to obtain separate planning permission for each reserved matter.

Prior notification
Prior notification is a process under UK planning law that allows certain types of commercial and industrial development to occur without the need to obtain planning permission from the local authority. It is available for developments that meet specific criteria, including that they are not likely to affect the environment or highway safety significantly. Prior notification is not available for residential development. To apply, developers must submit a notice to their local authority outlining the proposal and its effects. The authority then has eight weeks to decide whether to approve or refuse the application. If approved, the development can go ahead as planned; if denied, the developer can appeal the decision.

Certificate of lawfulness
A certificate of lawfulness is a document issued by a local planning authority to confirm that a proposed development is lawfully permitted. The certificate will state the date of decision, the type of development approved and any conditions attached to the permission.

The certificate of lawfulness is an important document for developers as it confirms that their proposed development complies with UK planning law. It can be used as evidence in court if there is a dispute over the development or if someone tries to challenge the planning permission.

The certificate of lawfulness can also be used to show prospective buyers or tenants that the local planning authority has approved the development. This can help attract investment or secure leases for commercial or industrial developments.

Outline planning permission
Outline planning permission allows for developing commercial and industrial estates. This type of permission is less detailed than full planning consent. It allows for the erection of buildings and other structures and the laying out of land for use in commercial or industrial development. Outline planning permission is often used for large-scale projects such as developing new commercial or industrial estates, or schemes considered to be of national importance. It allows developers to proceed with their proposals without having to gain detailed permission for each element. Outline planning permission is also known as ‘general consent’ or ‘class consent’.

Full planning consent
Full planning permission is not normally required for small-scale projects such as home improvements, but is required for most types of commercial or industrial development.

This means that developers must go through a rigorous application process, submitting detailed plans and reports to the local planning authority. This process aims to ensure that any potential negative impacts are mitigated and that the community will benefit from the new development.

One key benefit of obtaining full planning consent is that it gives developers certainty over their projects.

This is especially important for larger developments, which often take several years to complete. In contrast, developments that do not have full planning consent can be subject to change orders and other delays, which can be costly and frustrating for all involved.

However, if permission is granted, it will usually be subject to conditions that must be complied with to avoid penalty charges. It’s worth noting that not all types of development require full planning consent.

How can planning CGI help?
Across the property industry, effective planning is essential for a successful outcome. Using CGI (computer-generated imagery) has revolutionised how planners and developers can plan and visualise new developments.

Planning law can be complex, so using CGI to help plan commercial developments can save time and money. It can help speed up the planning process, as it can provide an accurate representation of how a development will look.

This can help persuade planners and local residents that a scheme is beneficial, to avoid potential objections.

By creating a realistic 3D model of the proposed development, planners can better understand how the finished project will look and identify any potential problems early on. This helps to avoid costly delays further down the line.
CGI can also be used to create marketing materials for new developments. By showing potential investors or tenants a realistic representation of what the finished project will look like, you can increase interest in your scheme and maximise returns on investment.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the property sector, Oakfield understands the planning process and the importance of providing strong imagery to overcome objections and help planners make justifiable decisions.

We offer our clients high-quality, persuasive yet affordable CGI visualisations to support planning applications and give them the best chance of success.

To find out more and talk about your project and how we can help, please get in touch

How to help planners visualise your development.

January 26, 2024

Discover how CGI can help you overcome any design, planning, conservation and third-party objections to accelerate a successful outcome.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is an irreplaceable property design and development tool.

It offers a wide variety of uses across every stage of the property development process thanks to the way it can depict almost any object. It enables property developers to create incredibly realistic environments that don’t exist in the real world.

For anyone associated with the planning process, CGI can be a godsend. It can often be challenging to convince a planning committee of the minimal impact your development will have on the local area or demonstrate the value it will add.

CGI can help you overcome any design, planning, conservation and third-party objections to accelerate a successful outcome. Here, we take a closer look at what planning CGI is and how it can help planners visualise your proposed development.

What is planning CGI?
Planning CGI (computer-generated imagery) creates a digital model of a building or other object, which you can use for planning and design purposes.
The use of planning CGI – also known as architectural visualisation – has become increasingly popular in recent years as technology has become more advanced and affordable.

Property professionals use CGI to visualise a building before it is built. They also use it to create marketing materials for new developments or show potential buyers what a property will look like once finished.

With CGI, you can create images of any size and complexity, making it an incredibly versatile tool for architects and designers looking to create images of individual buildings, or entire neighbourhoods or cityscapes.

In the context of planning, CGI helps local authority officers and planners understand the context and visual impact of proposed buildings, developments and landscapes before they are built. This can be extremely useful for getting a sense of how a building might fit into its surroundings, as well as working out any potential problems before construction begins.

The benefits of CGI for planners
There are many benefits to using planning CGI. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it can help visualise existing and proposed buildings. It allows planners to get a better idea of how a building will look when it is complete, and how things like the placement of windows and doors, materials, colours, textures will affect the overall aesthetics.

Planning CGI can also help ease any concerns or objections from residents, community stakeholders and other interested third parties. Often, standard planning documents and traditional architectural drawings don’t do a proposed scheme justice regarding how the finished development might look. This can lead to all sorts of rumours, unfounded concerns and misinformation circulating, which can slow – or completely derail – planning application progress.

With CGI, you can show those affected the vision behind a proposed development and how the finished project will look, to help alleviate their concerns and demonstrate the positive benefits your scheme aims to bring. Some of the other benefits of planning CGI include:

Save time and money
CGI can help you save time and money when planning or visualising buildings. With CGI, you can create high-quality 2D or 3D renders of your project, which can help with pre-construction planning. It can help with the execution stages of a project too, as it allows you to catch potential issues early on and make necessary changes. Additionally, using CGI for marketing purposes can give potential buyers or tenants a better idea of what the property will look like, helping speed up the sale or lease process.

Sell your vision
CGI can help you create realistic images to let planners see what a building will look like before it’s built. It can also be used to visualise existing buildings, to show how they could be remodelled or renovated. The level of detail you can achieve with CGI is much higher than any other medium, allowing for a high degree of accuracy when visualising buildings.

Better project management
CGI can help you plan and manage your project more effectively. Visualising the building or space you’re planning can help you make better decisions about the layout and design of the project. It can give your proposed scheme more context and, consequently, more realism. You can use it to enhance your proposals with real-life elements such as trees, traffic, and people. It can also help you determine how much space is needed for a particular building or landscape.

How can Oakfield Design and Creation help?
Accurate CGI visualisations can be the difference between securing or losing planning permission. They can help you present the context of your scheme in a real-world environment to maximise your chances of success.
With more than 30 years’ industry experience, we understand the planning process and the importance of providing the proper context to sell your vision to planners.

Our CGI visualisations can help remove speculation and uncertainty by showing how your scheme will look in the real world. They help planners and residents understand the architect’s vision and expedite the planning process with minimal objections and delay.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your next project.

The Art of Persuasion: feature-rich yet benefit-driven copywriting.

January 24, 2024

Discover how rich, benefit-led copy and vivid imagery transform property marketing into storytelling.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

Or “punchy copy” as a client described it as in a meeting this week.

The Power of Persuasive Copywriting
In the competitive world of property development, persuasive and detailed marketing copy is not just a tool—it’s a necessity. Whether it’s for sales brochures or websites, the right words can paint a vivid picture of your scheme, creating a compelling narrative that resonates with your potential buyers. This post explores the importance of enriching marketing copy with not only informative details but incorporating benefit-driven angles, to effectively communicate the unique value of your developments.

The Importance of Rich, Informative Details
The first step in creating effective marketing copy is to provide rich, informative details about your scheme. This involves going beyond the basic specifications and highlighting the unique features of the development. For instance, instead of merely stating the size of a living room, describe how its spacious layout is perfect for family gatherings or how the natural light enhances the ambience. By painting a detailed picture, you’re allowing the prospect to visualise living in the space, which is a powerful selling point, especially off-plan.

Leveraging Benefit-Led Angles for Persuasion
While detailed descriptions are important, they become truly persuasive when paired with benefit-led angles. This approach shifts the focus from what the property has – to what it means to your buyer. For example, a state-of-the-art kitchen is not just a list of high-end appliances and finishes; it’s a space where culinary creations come to life, and where families can create lasting memories. This method connects emotionally with your prospects, showcasing how the property can enhance their lifestyle.

Full Specifications: A Necessity for Informed Decisions
Including a comprehensive specification listing page for each development remains crucial. This page serves as a factual resource, allowing potential buyers to review the technical details and compare different properties objectively. It’s about balancing the emotive, persuasive copy with hard facts that give credibility and allow for informed decision-making.

Supporting Imagery: Bringing Copy to Life
The integration of interior and exterior CGI imagery with your copy is pivotal. These visual elements complement the narrative, offering a glimpse of the lifestyle and aesthetic appeal of your property. When the written word and imagery work in tandem, they create a more immersive experience, helping prospects to envision themselves in that space. It’s about selling a dream, a lifestyle, not just a property.

Local Lifestyle: A Key Selling Point
A property doesn’t exist in a vacuum; its surroundings play a significant role in its appeal. Highlighting the benefits of the lifestyle afforded by the locale is a powerful tool. This could include proximity to landmarks, the vibrancy of the neighbourhood, or access to amenities. This local flavour adds another layer to your narrative, making it more relatable and desirable.

Screen-Reading Adaptability: Punchy and Engaging
In today’s digital age, where screen reading is the norm, adapting your copy for online consumption is vital. This means reducing the word count and making the copy more concise—what one of our clients aptly called “punchy” in a recent meeting. This doesn’t mean sacrificing detail or persuasive elements; it’s about being more strategic in word choice and sentence structure, ensuring every word counts. The goal is to engage the reader quickly and maintain their interest throughout.

Creating Spaces That Resonate
In conclusion, the ultimate aim of your marketing copy should be to make your potential buyers feel an emotional connection to the spaces you’re creating. It’s about striking the right balance between informative details, benefit-led angles, visual imagery, and concise, engaging writing. When done correctly, your marketing materials won’t just describe a property; they will tell its story, evoke emotions, and paint a picture of a life that the prospect can aspire to.

This is the essence of effective property development marketing, turning your prospects into buyers by capturing their imagination and their trust, driving enquiries and off-plan sales.

If you’re still reading this copy and would like to discuss in more detail, contact me here >

Maximising the benefits of architectural planning CGI.

January 16, 2024

An image really can paint a thousand words. Are you maximising the benefits of architectural planning CGI.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

Architectural CGI (computer-generated imagery) is still a relatively new innovation in property development and construction circles, but it offers vast potential.

Planning CGI – or architectural visualisation – is the process of creating photo-realistic 2D or 3D images based on architectural drawings or development plans. They give realistic shapes, colours and textures to key design elements to help planners and other stakeholders better understand the visual impact of a proposed scheme.

CGIs allow architects and designers to bring their concepts to life and provide tangible evidence of their appeal to planners, residents, community partners, funders and other third parties.

Architectural visualisation is playing an increasingly central role across the whole project development cycle, from discovery and design to planning, construction and marketing.

From a planning perspective, 3D architectural visualisations augment planning applications with persuasive visual evidence of how the proposed scheme will look to provide context, tell the right story and alleviate any concerns.

The old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words rings true. Architectural visualisation enables architects and developers to show – rather than explain – their concept to planners and provide compelling insight into the features of a proposed development plan. They leave little room for uncertainty, which helps speed up and streamline the planning process and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

CGIs can also help quantity surveyors and builders by modifying and calculating required materials to precise specifications, as well as being used as a valuable marketing tool to help drive sales and secure finance.

While traditional architect’s sketches and 2D technical drawings will always have their place in the planning process, CGI helps bring a proposed scheme into perspective like no other format can.

So, if you’re in the process of securing planning permission for a residential, industrial or commercial development project, here’s how architectural CGI can help.

Benefits of planning CGI
CGI is an extremely useful tool that allows planning consultants, their clients and local authority planning teams to understand how a building or development relates to, and interacts with, its environment.

It helps designers and architects to experiment and refine their ideas at the planning stage and identify and resolve any potential issues or pitfalls during the consultation stage. This can help save time and money by providing planners with the evidence they need to make better decisions.

Planning CGIs can be used to show how a building or extension will sit within its surroundings at street level or from multiple angles.

Different colours and lighting options can showcase how it will look at various times of the day or night.

CGI images can even be placed into aerial views of an area to show how an entire development will relate to its surroundings, amenities and access points. They can give planners a realistic sense of the potential visual impact of a proposed scheme. They also allow developers to experiment with different colours, textures and finishes to ensure the right choices are made when ordering materials and informing the construction process.

Planning CGIs are also helpful in land promotion. It allows developers to present how a site will look within a wider residential or commercial development, so planners and other stakeholders can visualise the land, its impact on its surroundings, and its infrastructure and services requirements.
Some of the other benefits architectural CGI offers include:

• Speeding up the acquisition of local authority planning consent
• Demonstrating the distinctive nature of development and the way it will enhance an area
• Overcoming planning objections and easing the concerns of residents and community stakeholders
• Clearly and accurately conveying the scheme’s design
• Providing clarity around the context of a proposed development and its relation to the surrounding area
• Creating professional, photo-realistic images for sales and marketing materials
• Enabling potential buyers to view specific details without visiting the site or even waiting for construction to start.

Why you need architectural CGI
Architectural CGI will help you to bring your proposed development to life and show its impact in ways that traditional 2D plans and drawings can’t.

It will help you weave a story that takes planners through the ideas, thought processes and creative thinking behind the scheme to help them better understand the vision.

The key to securing a successful planning outcome lies in your ability to convince planners of how your scheme with benefit a local area. It’s all about providing context and backing it up with compelling visual evidence to get people on board. That’s where Oakfield’s inhouse CGI studio can help.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the property development sector, we understand the planning process and how to navigate it successfully. We help property developers, architects and consultants obtain planning permission for residential and commercial developments with high-quality, persuasive yet affordable CGI visualisations that enhance planning applications and give them the best chance of success.

View our latest Planning CGI projects here, or call us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your next project.

Navigating the Relentless World of Property Development Marketing.

January 15, 2024

Discover the strategies to reach the 3% ready buyers and nurture the 97% in the competitive landscape of property marketing.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

In recent conversations with a seasoned developer, a common grievance emerged: marketing to prospective buyers in the world of property development can often feel like an unrelenting and arduous task.

It’s a sentiment that resonates with many in the industry. The reality is that the property market, like any other, operates on a spectrum of readiness. Studies consistently show that only about 3% of potential buyers are ready to make a purchase right now. The remaining 97% are in varying stages of consideration, from initial interest to future planning.

Understanding the 3% Rule
This stark statistic underscores the relentless nature of property marketing. In an industry where success hinges on converting interest into action, reaching and engaging with that critical 3% of ready buyers while nurturing the remaining 97% is both an art and a science. It demands a comprehensive strategy that combines creativity, precision, and persistence.

The 3% rule, often referred to as the “3% rule of buying,” is a well-known concept in the marketing world. It suggests that only a small fraction of your target audience is actively ready to buy at any given time. The rest are either not yet aware of their need, exploring their options, or waiting for the right moment. While it might sound daunting, understanding this principle is the first step toward developing an effective property marketing strategy.

The Relentless Pursuit of the 3%
The 3% of ready buyers are like precious gems in the vast landscape of potential customers. They are actively searching for properties, comparing options, and evaluating offers. Your goal as a property developer is to be at the forefront of their consideration. This means creating captivating marketing campaigns that not only grab their attention but also provide the information and assurance they need to make a purchase decision.

To reach this select group, developers must employ a mix of online and offline marketing channels. This includes everything from eye-catching websites, sales brochures, site branding to impactful CGI imagery and films, search engine optimisation manipulation via content marketing to social media advertising and email marketing campaigns. Every touchpoint with potential buyers should be carefully crafted to resonate with their needs and desires.

The Power of Nurturing Leads
However, the relentless pursuit of the 3% should not overshadow the importance of nurturing the other 97%. These individuals are not lost causes; they are future prospects. They may not be ready to buy today, but with the right approach, they can be converted into loyal customers tomorrow.

Nurturing leads involves maintaining a consistent presence in their journey, offering valuable content, and building trust. This can be achieved through interesting and informative social and blog posts, imparting sharp imagery and content that showcases the development as well as the lifestyle afforded in the scheme’s locality, and personalised email follow-ups. By providing relevant information and staying engaged, developers can keep their projects top of mind – and more importantly, ahead of the competition – for potential buyers when the time is right.

The Powerful Role of Content Marketing
Content marketing plays a pivotal role in the relentless world of property development marketing. Creating and sharing valuable content not only helps educate and engage your audience but also establishes your authority and expertise in the industry. From in-depth property guides to virtual property tours and expert insights on market trends, content marketing positions your brand as a trusted resource.

Moreover, content marketing helps bridge the gap between the 3% and the 97%. While the 3% may be actively searching for properties, the 97% are looking for information and guidance. By providing them with the information they need, you can gradually move them closer to making a purchase decision.

Building Trust and Delivering Value
In an industry where significant investments are at stake, trust is paramount. Building trust with potential buyers is a long-term and constant endeavour that requires consistency and transparency. It involves delivering on promises, showcasing past successes, and addressing concerns or questions proactively and quickly.

To truly excel in property development marketing, it’s essential to go beyond the transactional mindset and focus on delivering genuine value to your potential buyers. This can involve going the extra mile in customer service, offering innovative solutions, and staying attuned to the constant flux in today’s market trends.

Conclusion: The Relentless Path to Success
In the world of property development sales, marketing is indeed relentless, but very achievable. The 3% rule serves as a reminder that the road to success in selling new homes is not a sprint but a marathon, made up of sprints! It requires patience, persistence, and a deep understanding of your audience’s needs and behaviours. By embracing the 3% rule, nurturing leads, and consistently delivering value and telling the story of your build from planning stage through to PC, property developers can navigate this unrelenting landscape and achieve lasting success in a highly competitive market.

Ready to take the next step? Reach out today to discover how a cost-effective content marketing strategy can position you ahead of the competition and in the minds of your prospects, whether they’re the 3% or part of the 97% waiting to become the next 3%.

The secret selling power of planning CGI.

January 5, 2024

When it comes to planning, context is everything. Are you utilising the power of planning CGIs?

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

The secret selling power of planning CGI
The planning process is in-depth and complex. It’s mired in bureaucracy, with many moving parts to resolve to achieve a successful outcome.

When it comes to planning, context is everything. If planners can visualise how a development will look at the outset, it can improve your chances of success.
Unfortunately, painting the right picture and selling your vision from simple sketches, 2D architectural drawings and planning documents can be tricky.
It’s hard to bring a scheme to life before the planners’ eyes if they have no way to visualise the scope and scale of what you’re proposing.

Fortunately, there is a solution, and it might be more affordable than you think.
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) plays an increasingly central role in the planning process.

When done right, CGI can provide planners with a more realistic view of what a project might look like, and the impact the design and construction might have on its surroundings.

This not only provides stakeholders with a better understanding of how the proposed scheme can enhance an area but can also speed up the decision-making process by helping planners understand all the potential benefits.
Here, we take a closer look at the secret selling power of CGI and how it can support your next planning application.

What is planning CGI?
Planning GCI – or architectural visualisation – is essential for presenting proposals to the planning authorities. As its name suggests, planning CGI involves applying digital technology to create images and visual effects. While CGI has been around for a long time, planning CGI is becoming more sophisticated and accessible.

With digital technology, property developers can create photo-realistic 2D and 3D renderings of sketches and architectural drawings, to give people a quick understanding of the concept and visual impact of a proposed scheme.
Designers and architects can explore different colours, finishes, materials and textures to see which works best, while lighting can be changed to show how a building might look at different times of the day or night. You can also create visualisations of a proposed scheme from multiple angles, to present a complete understanding of how it will sit within its environment and the visual impact it might have.

This can not only help planners visualise the potential impact of a scheme, but also help to allay the fears of residents, community stakeholders and other interested third parties.

The benefits of planning CGI
Planning CGI offers many benefits. Here are some of the ways you can harness its secret selling power:

Sell your vision
CGI is an extremely persuasive selling tool. Well-presented and professional planning CGIs can help you create a lasting impact and sell your concept to planners, funders, investors, potential buyers and even any colleagues who may not have fully bought into your vision.

Support tenders
Utilising photo-realistic CGI renders will help speed up the planning process, but can also help when tendering. It can help close the distance between the contractor’s quote and the developer’s requirements and set realistic expectations all round.

Tell the right story
When it comes to securing planning consent, effective storytelling is everything. It’s all about setting the scene, demonstrating context and then providing visual reassurance that the proposed development won’t negatively impact the surrounding area. In most instances, it’s also about showing how a development can actually benefit an area. This is very tricky to do with traditional architectural drawings. CGI excels at creating an aspirational vision and the lifestyle that goes with it. It’s an essential part of the planning side of things and the overall marketing/branding strategy for your scheme.

Quality control
CGI can help designers, architects, and developers identify and iron out any potential problems or challenges at the design stage. You can experiment with different colours, textures, materials and finishes to perfect the scheme and assure quality before it’s presented to planners and other external stakeholders.

This helps speed up the process considerably and means you’ll probably be equipped with the right information to answer any queries or concerns, as you’ll have already worked everything out beforehand.

How can Oakfield help?
Securing a successful planning outcome is all about convincing the planners of how your proposed scheme with benefit the local area. It’s about providing context, telling the right story and backing it up with compelling visual evidence to get people on board.

That’s where Oakfield can help. With more than 30 years’ experience in the property development sector, we understand the planning process and how to navigate it successfully.

We help property developers, architects and consultants obtain planning permission for residential and commercial developments with high-quality, persuasive yet affordable CGI visualisations that enhance planning applications and give them the best chance of success.

View our latest Planning CGI projects here, or call us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your next project.