MASS Reports aims to speed up development finance process with planning potential reports

Tim Valdar, co-founder and director of MASS Reports (featured in the video, above) recently spoke to Development Finance Today about how the company hopes to speed up the development finance process with its planning reports.

MASS Reports launched 18 months ago with an ambition to create planning policy reports for anything from single titles to mixed-use developments, showing realistic development potential inexpensively. 

It helps find rules, policy, regulations, comparables and precedents to show what can feasibly be built on site and aims to give lenders confidence when assessing deals.

It also includes details such as site measurements, property statistics and surroundings, local amenities and planning constraints.

It can create planning policy reports within two to three working days and pre-app reports for up to 20 units within five to seven working days, in addition to pre-app reports for 21 units-plus and commercial reports, priced on application.

DFT asked Tim how the tool could help developers secure funding and support lenders when assessing deals.

“What we are doing is not rocket science … the information is absolutely out there, but all the local authorities have a totally different platform and format of presenting all the information,” he explained.

As a result, the company uses architects and planners to aggregate the information and put it into a clear and concise manner, so anyone trying to find that data can do so quickly through its process.

“Anyone that’s done any sort of due diligence of their own will know that getting something back in two to three working days is nigh on impossible, unless you have a team of people to do that,” he added.
“…It’s all good and well telling a developer that you can get 20 units on a site, they tie up an arrangement with the landowner, but then as soon as it gets to them getting funding, it falls apart because the due diligence from the lender [states] you can only get 10 on there, in which case you’ve wasted everyone’s time,” he further explained.

As a result, MASS Reports is working with several lenders to create a product that adds its reports to the lender’s due diligence. 

“You can take [the report] to your lender and say, ‘These are the facts — do you agree with us?’ And you can do that very quickly.

“A lot of due diligence takes a lot of time so, the fact that all the information is there for them in a nicely packaged report [it will] hopefully save them time as well.”

DFT also asked Tim how MASS Reports could help with increasing the focus on sustainability and wellbeing when it comes to placemaking and property development going forward.

“I for one am so happy that this is coming to the forefront of people’s minds,” he stated.

“Everyone is now thinking about quality of life,” he said, adding that developers will need to be taking this into consideration.

As a result, MASS Reports has just employed a recent graduate who studied sustainability in property development, and the company will be looking at different elements which can enhance the sustainability of projects.

This includes elements such as using man-made materials, re-using existing materials and renewable energy.

Going forward, MASS Reports aims to put a page within each of its reports with a calculator to work out the costs of such things.

“Yes, ok, sustainability can often be more expensive,” Tim agrees, “But it will pay for itself over time.”

He added that sustainable housing was great for those building their own home, but “developers are obviously [looking at] the bottom line”.

“I genuinely feel that people are going to be paying a premium for a sustainable product now, and similarly, there are ways of offsetting this, and there are grants as well.

“I’m really happy that things are going that way … it’s a step forward.”

The full interview with Tim can be viewed below. 

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