BUILDOFFSITE synopsis of the UK Developer Services Event with a Water Focus by Fareita Udoh

On Tuesday, 11th June, a pivotal event “Developer Services ” focusing on the intersection of development and water management took place, sponsored by EPS Water. In collaboration with CIRIA, BUILDOFFSITE, Future Water, and other key stakeholders, the UK Developer Services Event with a Water Focus convened professionals from various sectors to discuss the challenges, innovations, and opportunities in urban water management.

The event provided a platform for networking, exchanging ideas, and exploring sustainable technologies and strategies for water resource management in urban environments.

Session Highlights

Session 1: Enabling Nutrient Neutrality in Wastewater Treatment

Speakers: Shaun Stevens (EPS), Alan Ford (EPS), Guy Laister (Water Environment Limited)

The event commenced with an exploration of nutrient neutrality in wastewater treatment, showcasing EPS Water’s project at Broad Oak WWTP in Canterbury. The panel discussion highlighted the importance of policy changes, technology integration, and nature-based solutions in sustainable drainage systems.

Session 2: Streamlining Utility Connections in the UK Water Sector

Speakers: David Macdonald (Radius Subterra), Ben Crabtree (Ovarro)

This session focused on enhancing efficiency in utility connections within the UK water sector removing joints and preventing failures. Where attendees shared their experiences and proposed improvements.

Session 3: Exploring Collaborative Approaches in Utility Connections and Developers

Speakers: Catherine Fearon, Ryan O’Sullivan (ESP Utilities Ltd)

The third session delved into collaborative efforts between NAVs and property developers, addressing industry challenges, regulatory considerations, and opportunities for effective collaboration.

Session 4: Planning for a More Sustainable Home – A Developer’s Perspective

Speakers: Lalit Chauhan (Zed Pods), Martin Ballard (Wates)

This session emphasised sustainable planning and operational practices in housing development. Zed Pods presented their innovative approach, followed by a panel discussion on post-planning considerations and green home initiatives.

Session 5: Community, Environment and Water Maintenance

Speakers: Adrien Baudrimont (CIRIA), Cristina Refolo (Refolo Landscape Architects Ltd)

Environmental considerations and SuDS implementation were the focus here. Case studies demonstrated successful integration of SuDS, discussing technical solutions and their benefits.

Session 6: Building Water Smart Communities

Speakers: Paul Shaffer (CIWEM), John Hernon (Thames Water)

The day concluded with an interactive dialogue among stakeholders, summarising key insights and encouraging continued collaboration for innovative solutions in water management.

Key Outputs and Insights

The event’s discussions and panels resulted in several critical outputs and insights, grouped into three main categories: enablers, regulations/tariffs, and challenges.


A major theme was the need to value multiple benefits in water management, emphasising a holistic regulatory approach for the entire water cycle. This includes educating local authorities with subject matter experts to better understand and implement sustainable water practices. Additionally, enacting Schedule 3 in England was identified as a crucial step. Public attitudes towards change must also be fostered to support these initiatives. A significant outcome was the strong support for establishing a Developer Services Group by Future Water, highlighting the industry’s readiness for collaborative action.


The discussions on regulations and tariffs brought to light several pros and cons. On the positive side, linking Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) to wetlands can enhance environmental benefits, and sharing best practices helps to highlight key issues and foster collaboration. Moreover, there is a notable green-level return on investment from sustainable practices.

However, several challenges were also noted. These include the liquidity and survival of NAVs (New Appointments and Variations), the impact of stricter regulations and tighter consents, and the need to balance customer affordability with NAV costs. Ensuring long-term sustainability requires alternative plans and substantial upgrades and funding. Additionally, there was debate about whether investments in improving water efficiency in new residential builds are worthwhile, given occupant behaviours.


The event highlighted numerous challenges that need to be addressed to advance sustainable water management. Navigating the complex regulatory landscape and understanding the interconnectedness of the water market are essential. Addressing water scarcity and availability is a pressing concern, as is bridging the disconnect between stakeholders. The adoption of river conservation practices and the enhancement of skills and workforce development were also identified as critical areas needing attention.

Call to Action

The UK Developer Services Event underscored the pressing need for a collaborative, integrated approach to water management within urban development. As we face increasing environmental challenges and regulatory pressures, it is crucial to value the multiple benefits of sustainable practices and invest in educating local authorities and stakeholders.

Let us work together to create water-smart communities, enhance sustainability in housing developments, and foster an environment where innovative solutions thrive. Join us in continuing this important dialogue and driving forward the changes necessary for a resilient and sustainable future.

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