CEO Craig Currie shares how Castleoak provides smart solutions for care home and assisted living construction and development.
Cardiff based Castleoak has been providing specialist construction and development solutions for the care sector for over 30 years.
“We‘re an absolute specialist in the care sector – working across the UK,” Craig tells CHP.
“We’re a relationship business. It’s all about people. We work hard to understand our customers really well, and then deliver great projects. Reputation is everything to us. We want our customers coming back for more.
“Castleoak offers a full range of construction and development solutions, including full project feasibility from demographic and care gap analysis, land sourcing and acquisition through property funding prior to design and build.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that 90% of our current projects are from returning customers,” Craig said. “Our purpose is to create quality living space – that’s our goal.”
Castleoak’s busy land team appraises over 50 sites a month. Most of these are targeted at meeting the high demand in the wealthy South East from providers for sites where land is expensive and competition is tough.
“House builders still offer stiff competition as they can offer a lot more for premium sites,” Craig explains.
“The answer lies in acquiring the site before it goes to market and we have a big network to typically be able to do this.
“Our key customers tend to focus us on the South East but we look at a much wider geography.
“For example, currently we have developments in the pipeline in Wales, the South West, Cheshire and Gloucestershire.
“We not only consider the demographic and gap analysis when appraising a site, we also look at where care home staff can be drawn from,” Craig said.
“We run various operational models so we know the range of fee structures that work for customers at a given site.”
Castleoak’s capital investment team provides a wide range of exit routes for funding options. Land can be bought as a complete freehold or through a raft of leasehold options available for organisations that don’t want to take a hit on their P&L.
Until recently, the majority of Castleoak’s leasehold deals have been taken up by private companies, but now not-for-profit operators are increasingly finding the option attractive.
The Orders of St John Care Trust, Abbeyfield and Methodist Homes (MHA) have all taken care home leaseholds within the last year.
“It’s about taking the customer on that journey to explore other funding options,” explained Capital Investments Director Gronw Percy.
“Not-for-profits can’t meet their growth objectives through cash funding. They may not have the necessary cash generation. They have to embrace other funding structures.
“Creating a funding structure that allows them to pay for new developments in line with their trading performance, over say 30 years, is a key part of what we are doing in terms of unlocking solutions.”
When the build has been completed, Castleoak’s aftercare team takes over providing customer support for the next 12 months. This includes training and guidance on building maintenance and dealing with any defects. The team continues to visit the property for up to two or three years after sign off.
“We’re no cut and run business,” Craig said. “Aftercare is a key part of our service. We want to ensure the product is properly looked after we have handed it over. We can also gain a lot of learning from revisiting completed projects.”