Sustainable Design

Barking and Dagenham Council has declared a climate emergency, and we are accelerating our roadmap towards zero carbon in operation whilst reducing our embodied carbon as much as possible. Be First recently developed a sustainability framework setting out benchmark and stretch targets on all Be First developments. We are currently on site delivering our first Passivhaus development in the Gascoigne neighbourhood, and will be taking the lessons from this project to inform future developments.
200 Becontree Avenue (photo © French + Tye)
Gascoigne West Phase 1 (photo © Paul Riddle)

Design for Manufacture and Assembly

Over the last five years Be First has been using offsite construction methods on our projects to improve quality, speed up delivery and increase programme certainty. During the next framework period we will be pursuing a portfolio-wide approach to design for manufacture and assembly and increase the use of offsite components on our projects. The architects and contractors selected for the framework will be required to work with Be First and the supply chain to increase the amount of offsite components delivered on our projects such as bathroom pods, utility cupboards or façade panels.

Diversity and Inclusion

We know those who shape cities typically don’t reflect the demographics of our citizens. We are therefore committed to ensuring our project teams reflect the diversity of our communities in Barking & Dagenham.

As part of the process, we will be asking participating teams to provide us with equality, diversity and inclusion data for their companies, as well as an action plan for improving this over the duration of the framework. This will be reviewed through framework meetings.

Arbor Court (photo © Paul Riddle)
Phoenix Pocket Park (photo © Andrew Baker)

Social Value

We champion social value through all our projects no matter how big or small and are committed to supporting strategic initiatives that drive positive change in the borough and align with our values and objectives. We are looking for passionate design teams who support this and bring their own creative ideas.

Be First’s definition of Social Value is “meeting the current needs of the industry and the communities in which we work; improving the quality of life for generations to come, ensuring no-one is left behind.”


We want to foster long term relationships with our design teams, contractors and commercial agents so that we can learn from and improve the places we design and build together. At a project level, we are increasingly looking at how we can work better together from early stages to ensure the full project team are adding value throughout the process. At a framework level, we want to bring our partners together at regular forums to discuss and workshop key topics and challenges such as achieving net zero carbon developments, increasing resident engagement and the Pattern Book.

A House for Artists (photo © Johan Dehlin)