Research undertaken by engineering and professional services consultant, WSP, has enabled the creation of a scoring system-based database to assess the social value of a project in the built environment.

 Tool image - High Rise

By establishing the factors affecting social value, WSP has created a practical guide on how to introduce positive social value impacts into projects at the design phase. This currently unique methodology requires minimal data sets, which makes it easy to incorporate at the early stages of development, in the form of a simple, points-based tool.

Considering social value in project designs makes spaces more attractive, increasing their use and boosting the revenues of the organisations operating within them. Including social value in projects encourages productivity and minimises waste.

“Since the implementation of the Social Value Act (2012), the construction industry is required to factor social value in for all public service contracts in the UK”, says Snigdha Jain, Principal Consultant at WSP.

“Currently, measuring social value for projects is a challenge for the industry and in establishing this brand-new tool, which is the first of its kind, we are allowing for a new methodology and more widespread approach for social value assessment which can be rolled out across a number of different developments”, continues Snigdha.

The research has shown that the consistent factors that influence social value are security, accessibility, physical and mental health with added varying factors dependent on the type of project.

For example, the five factors influencing social value in high-rise projects are local identity, security, accessibility, physical and mental health, whereas for masterplanning projects, social interaction is in place of local identity.

Tool image - Travel Infrastructure

The tool takes each factor independently and applies a set of five action points that the project must meet. This could potentially give an overall social value score of 25. Further information gathered from the research on key stakeholder groups has also shown that security is perceived to be the most important factor in creating social value in the built environment.

“Our research, gathered from the public, the client and the consultant, has shown that creating a secure environment is vital to introducing other social value factors”, says Snigdha. “People must feel safe before they can begin to use a space for social and physical purposes.”

 

ENDS

For further information please contact Katie Brown on katie.brown@wsp.com, 07899776923

Notes to editors

WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.

With 7,800 talented people in the UK and more than 42,000 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high-profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network. www.wsp.com/uk