man doing calculation

Create and Control a Budget on Your Property Development Project

One of the most common and most serious mistakes made by first-time developers is to underestimate the budget.

Make up your mind what you are doing. If this is not a hobby and you really are property developing then that is a business and you must treat it like one. You must include all your outgoings and costs and allow for contingencies in order to get the best profit possible.

Know in advance exactly where you can make cutbacks if the budget looks like it is getting out of hand. Burying your head in the sand and not looking at the sums because you don’t like what you see is not fooling anyone but yourself.

An overspend will not go away and managing the money does require organisation and discipline. Don’t forget if there is no real profit at the end of the year your business will not be able to trade.

It is absolutely vital to work out a realistic budget, and to make sure the amount you buy your property for makes it a sound investment.

Cash Flow

Remember, cash flow is the key to success or failure. Plan your budget meticulously and itemise in detail the things you will have to pay for.

Avoid getting carried away at the beginning of a project just because your bank balance is looking healthier than it has done in years, you may find that there is nothing left for crucial works later on, leaving you with no alternative but to cut corners to get the work finished.

Working out a realistic budget in the first place is the answer to this. It is absolutely vital to make sure the amount you buy your property for makes it a sound investment before you commit yourself; rather than buying something that happens to be unmodernised and then discovering that the cost of the development and the purchase price actually adds up to more than you can sell it for.

How Much Will It Cost

While it may not be possible to know every outgoing that you are going to make throughout the project, if you itemise realistically you can work out a reasonably sound estimate of costs.

The maths may seem a bit overwhelming and the probable costs may seem terrifying but if you are not realistic at this stage you will be in for big trouble later on.

The most common expense to overlook is the actual cost of buying, owning and selling the property. You also need to include everything from major repairs and structural alterations to light fittings and bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Most importantly, don’t forget to factor in the cost of labour.

Schedule Of The Works

Experience will help you know how much something is likely to cost, but before you have built up the experience it is useful to make a detailed schedule of the works that need to be carried out on the property, with drawings if necessary. Then approach builders and collect together your quotes.

Go over this budget over and over again and adjust if necessary. If you have no experience of what these costs are and are not used to working out a budget, it is easy to miss vital items, forgetting to include, say, stamp duty or perhaps even the wiring, and especially forgetting that there will certainly be unexpected expenses on the way.

Mortgage Protection

Always prepare for the unexpected. Remember that if you decide to give up your job or are made redundant during your development project or if you become ill or injured, you may have difficulty keeping up your mortgage payments. You cannot rely on the state to help to cover the payments. It may be worth buying extra cover to protect your mortgage payments in case this situation arises. Policies differ, so always check them very carefully.

Here are some essential key points For A Successful Project:

  • Don’t overspend: Don’t be tempted to spend money on things just because you like them. Make your money matter; spend where required but not where desired.
  • Get A Survey Done before you purchase any property, make sure you understand its problems, know what work is needed and whether this is the project for you.
  • Get A Second Opinion and check what has been sold for what price recently, and ask the estate agent you are planning to sell the property through what they think will add value to the property.
  • Be Aware of current building regulation requirements and adhere to them. Seek advice from the building regulations officer at your local planning department. Most planning departments are very helpful, so ask their advice.
  • Have Integrity in your product, do a job properly or not at all. Purchasers and certainly their surveyors are not foolish and so don’t labour under the illusion that you won’t get found out.
  • Design For Your Market and not for yourself. While keeping the décor as neutral as possible, don’t feel that you have to make the property bland. Create the best possible layout but leave scope for potential buyers not to feel smothered by your design.
  • Don’t forget that to succeed and to make a profit you must be businesslike from start to finish.
  • Adopt An Organised Approach to the venture, getting advice where it is needed, keeping efficient records and doing things methodically. Then if things go wrong, you have your files and records to refer to.
  • Make Lists and don’t rely on your memory.
  • Deal With all potential difficulties before they reach a head.

Follow these simple but essential key points and you project will stand a greater chance of success and making big profits from your property development project.

A person sitting at a table

Property Development – Buying to Sell

If you want to stand a better chance of reaching the maximum profit from your property development project you must remember that this simple rule: The most important thing when buying to sell is to keep the image of your target market in your mind at all times.

Be sure to work out your figures after viewing any property you are serious about.

It is not as complicated as you may think. The most simple and comprehensive way to work out the maths is to subtract the associated fees and costs, renovation and purchase costs from the potential selling price of your property.

It’s easy. I’ll show you how. To get to this stage calculate the following:

The realistic resale value of the property.

The cost of renovation works to the property.

The sum total of all associated fees and costs you will incur during the project.

The Realistic Resale Value

You don’t want any nasty shocks so you must be realistic. Ask yourself what your property will be worth in peak condition. Finding out the realistic resale value or ‘ceiling price’ of a property can tell you instantly whether you have a deal. It will guide you towards buying for the right price, reveal how much the property will be worth once it looks its best and help you work out your potential profit margin.

So, before investing in a property, ensure that calculating its realistic value is your prime concern.

Build a profile of the property. Be realistic and base your profile on the location, building type, number of rooms, features and layout.

Next, contact three local estate agents. Ask how much newly modernised properties of this profile have recently sold for in your area. See how the details of these properties match your profile.

Calculate a resale value from the comparables that match your profile. If the sale of a comparable property took place more than two months ago, get an up-to-date opinion of the resale value of a similar newly renovated property. Then get two more estimates to substantiate the first.

Administrative Costs

Once you have worked out your realistic resale value, look at the administrative costs and budget. Buying a property always costs more than the purchase price. You will need to take into consideration all of the legal costs involved.

There are also extra fees such as the cost of the survey; Land Registry costs; site services- gas, water, electricity and taxes. Don’t forget to include other administrative costs specific to your project, for example, the costs of selling the property once developed, planning and building control fees.

Living In Your Development

If you are short of cash you could certainly consider living in your development. This may sound like a simple option but it does have its pitfalls. For example, are you really going to be able to continue to live in the property while the work is being carried out?

This can be noisy, dusty, and intrusive and you may find yourself without facilities such as hot (or cold) water, use of a loo or a basic kitchen while the work is in progress, and this situation could last for weeks, even months.

As with all developments you want to be very sure that the work you do is actually going to raise the value of the property.

It is vital to do your research first. Don’t assume that if you do what you want this will automatically increase the value of the property. Even if you were to convert the loft or add an extension, you might find that the costs involved would exceed the amount that it adds in value to the property.

Your thorough research before embarking on the property development project will stand you in good stead of reaching the maximum profit margin possible on the property that you will be selling on.

A train on a steel track

Geocycle solves a mounting challenge

Geocycle offers a unique and sustainable solution to the problem of increasing global urbanization; co-processing waste for use as fuel in cement kilns.

Building to a circular economy

Fifty million people move to cities each year to find better opportunities for themselves and their children. One consequence is a lot more waste. Between 2012 and 2025, the amount of municipal solid waste generated each year will increase from 1.3 billion tonnes to 2.2 billion tonnes, according to World Bank estimates.

Our Geocycle business offers a unique and sustainable solution to this growing challenge. Today Geocycle treats around 10 million tons of waste annually, serving more than 10,000 customers in over 50 countries. Our aim is to reach 22 million tons by 2025.

Using state-of-the art technology, tailored processes and in-depth expertise, Geocycle converts industrial, municipal and agricultural waste into a suitable material from which mineral and/or combustible components can be recovered in our cement kilns.

The extremely high temperatures required for cement production offer a unique and safe solution to dispose of waste for which no other solution exists. Geocycle thus opens a channel for a ‘circular’ economy: it takes waste that cannot be reused or recycled, treats it and then converts it into a resource.

Geocycle contributes to lower CO2 emissions from cement production by reducing use of natural resources such as fossil fuels and virgin raw materials. Simultaneously it conserves land which would otherwise be used for landfill and reduces air and water pollution as compared to either landfill or incineration. This also significantly reduces the burden on municipalities who need solutions to this ever-growing problem.

Geocycle in Goa

In India about 80% of municipal waste is uncontrolled, dumped and openly burned. The problem is felt acutely in Goa, where the economy thrives on tourism. Local authorities are tackling the problem head-on, showcasing new methods to create a clean and green Goa. In 2017 Geocycle India met with public and private sector players working on landfill remediation.

To demonstrate how they could help, Geocycle co-processed approximately 5,000 tonnes of refuse-derived fuel, winning the trust of authorities. The pilot provided a sustainable model for cleaning up landfills without any future liability for the state government. The Goa site is now being visited by city officials from all over India as a showcase of successful partnership between Geocycle and municipalities. Municipalities of Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and others are now looking at similar projects.

man holding materials
Real Estate,

Recycled materials: Ready-to-use concrete born again from rubble from Parisian heritage projects

Born again from rubble

In December 2016, Bouygues Construction began renovating two heritage buildings in the heart of Paris. Rather than producing new concrete for the reconstruction project, they partnered with LafargeHolcim’s business in France to turn the sites’ rubble — the waste left behind after construction and demolition — into ready-to-use concrete. Using our aggneo® solutions, our teams in France were able to make use of all inert material, turning 12.5% into new concrete products and 87.5% into new road gravels.

Transporting, sorting and recycling 4,000 tons of demolition materials meant that we preserved that same amount of natural resources from quarry extraction. More than 500 tons of this waste was then recycled to make new concrete, contributing to a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 8% for 1 ton of recycled aggregates.

The two renovated buildings now comply with France’s green building standards (“Haute Qualité Environnementale” or HQE) as well as Europe’s targets for the recycling of construction and demolition waste. This circular economy project is also an illustration of how the solutions driven by our sustainability strategy (The 2030 Plan) can be used to overcome the real-life building challenges faced by our customers and partners.

A man wearing a suit and tie

LafargeHolcim enters into liquidity enhancement agreement on Euronext Paris

LafargeHolcim has contracted to implement a liquidity enhancement agreement with Exane S.A. for its listing on Euronext Paris, effective as from May 4, 2018, in order to improve the market liquidity of its stock listed in Euro.

The agreement complies with the code of conduct issued by the French Capital Markets Association (AMAFI) which was approved by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers on March 21, 2011.

LafargeHolcim has allocated EUR 10 million to the implementation of this liquidity agreement.

Harry Gugger et al. posing for a photo

LafargeHolcim appoints new Head of HR

LafargeHolcim has appointed Feliciano González Muñoz (54) as new Head of Human Resources, effective 1 May 2018, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Jan Jenisch. He will succeed Caroline Luscombe who has decided to pursue opportunities outside of the company.

In line with simplification and lean management, the Head of HR will not be a member of the Executive Committee, bringing it down to eight members.

Currently HR Director for Europe, Feliciano González Muñoz, who is a Spanish national, has worked for more than 11 years in senior HR roles with the company. Feliciano González Muñoz has a PhD in Law from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and holds an MBA from Instituto de Empresa, Madrid.

A close up of a man

Changes to the Board of Directors of LafargeHolcim

Thomas Schmidheiny and Bertrand Collomb not to stand for re-election at upcoming Annual General Meeting.

Thomas Schmidheiny has taken the decision not to stand for re-election at LafargeHolcim’s upcoming Annual General Meeting on May 8, 2018. He has been with the Group for almost 50 years in different management functions and later on the Board of Holcim. Following the merger, Thomas Schmidheiny has been a Board member of LafargeHolcim since 2015. He will remain one of the Group’s main shareholders.

In recognition of his many years of service to LafargeHolcim, the Board of Directors has decided to name Thomas Schmidheiny Honorary Chairman of the Group.

Thomas Schmidheiny began his career at Holcim in 1970. He became a member of the Executive Committee six years later and served as CEO between 1978 and 2001. After joining the Board of Directors in 1978 he was Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1984 until 2003. Thomas Schmidheiny was instrumental in the merger of Holcim and Lafarge to form LafargeHolcim, the world’s largest cement manufacturer.

Bertrand Collomb joined Lafarge in 1975. After serving in different management positions, including Head of North American operations, he served as Chairman and CEO of Lafarge from 1989 to 2003, as Chairman until 2007 and then subsequently Director until 2012. He was named Honorary Chairman of Lafarge in 2007 and joined LafargeHolcim’s Board in 2015. Bertrand Collomb has also decided not to stand for re-election at the upcoming Annual General Meeting, in order to follow a customary age limit of 75 years.

Beat Hess, Chairman of the Board of LafargeHolcim: “For almost 50 years Thomas Schmidheiny has made a significant contribution to the success of Holcim and later LafargeHolcim. He was instrumental in successfully expanding into promising growth markets and has made Holcim one of the leading companies in its industry. On behalf of the Board and all employees I would like to thank Thomas Schmidheiny for his exceptional contribution to our company.

“Bertrand Collomb has contributed significantly to the success of Lafarge and later LafargeHolcim in various roles. Under his leadership Lafarge has become an industry leader in the building materials sector. On behalf of the Board of Directors and all employees I would also like to thank him.”

All other current members of the Board of Directors will be proposed for re-election at the Annual General Meeting:

  • Beat Hess, Chairman
  • Oscar Fanjul
  • Paul Desmarais, Jr.
  • Patrick Kron
  • Gérard Lamarche
  • Adrian Loader
  • Jürg Oleas
  • Nassef Sawiris
  • Hanne Birgitte Breinbjerg Sørensen
  • Dieter Spälti

With the election of the nominees, the Board of Directors would consist of 10 members as compared to 12 today. Further details such as the agenda and the motions can be found in the invitation to the Annual General Meeting which will be available as of April 13, 2018 on

A group of people standing in a train station
Business, Construction,

Changes at the LafargeHolcim Foundation Board; announcement of Global Awards Winners

As of April 1, 2018, the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction will be chaired by former LafargeHolcim Executive Committee member Roland Köhler, replacing Rolf Soiron who acted as the Chairman of the Foundation since its inception in 2003.

Under the leadership of Rolf Soiron, the Foundation with its USD 2 million International LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction has developed into the most significant global competition for sustainable design. It recognizes innovative projects and future-oriented ideas and rewards projects that go beyond balancing environmental performance, social responsibility, and economic growth, thereby exemplifying architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability. Jan Jenisch, CEO of LafargeHolcim, will join the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation, together with Jens Diebold, Head of Sustainable Development, as representatives of LafargeHolcim.

In addition, Brinda Somaya, Principal Architect & Managing Director of Somaya & Kalappa Consultants in India; and Stuart Smith, Director of Arup, a multinational engineering Group based in the UK, were newly appointed to the Board of the Foundation that further consists of leading experts including Maria Atkinson (Australia), Alejandro Aravena (Chile), Enrique Norten (USA/Mexico) as well as Marilyne Andersen, Marc Angélil, Harry Gugger and Roland Köhler (all Switzerland).

Winners of the Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018

The LafargeHolcim Foundation also announced today the outcome of the 5th Global LafargeHolcim Awards. The gold winning project is a publicly accessible water retention and treatment complex in Mexico City. Further prizes go to Argentina, Ghana, Niger and the USA. The LafargeHolcim Foundation was created to raise awareness of the important role that architecture, engineering, urban planning and the building industry have in achieving a more sustainable future. The Foundation is an independent legal entity that is supported by LafargeHolcim. Find information on all prize-winning projects here.