The sustainable progress of Willmott Dixon’s housing business has seen it achieve its best ever position in NextGeneration’s benchmark report that ranks the UK’s top 25 homebuilders according to their sustainability performance.

In NextGeneration’s report "Delivering on the ground - the UK home building sector’s contribution to a sustainable future", released on 17 November, Willmott Dixon achieved joint second place after topping many of the different assessment categories.

According to NextGeneration, Willmott Dixon’s high ranking came after it topped the categories of climate change, management systems, construction site management, considerate construction, R&D, commitment to sustainable building standards and governance (see appendix 1 table for the categories where we came first and second, plus the percentages and comparisons).

This gave Willmott Dixon an overall score of 75%, up from sixth place last year. NextGeneration secretariat contact, Philip Hirst, said, "Willmott Dixon's commitment to building a sustainable business and testing itself with new challenges is admirable and evident in the range of sustainability awards, initiatives and schemes they participate in.

“This commitment, combined with delivering highly sustainable homes, has seen it progress to joint second place in the NextGeneration benchmark in 2011. The challenge now for Willmott Dixon, and other leading homebuilders, is maintaining their performance and redefining what is achievable in terms of sustainable housing in the UK."

A company’s position is based on information gleaned by NextGeneration’s auditors from publicly available information and interviews with the management team, enabling them to assess that company’s progress in several categories.

The aim of the NextGeneration benchmark is to provide a valid assessment of each house builder’s annual performance and commitment in social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Willmott Dixon Capital Works divisional CEO John Frankiewicz said, "The challenge we face to drive the sustainable agenda in an economically constrained market is the biggest we have seen. We will not let it undermine our ambition for year-on-year progress and this past year we’ve delivered Code for Sustainable Homes housing at levels five and six, the UK’s largest solid timber development, in Hackney, and we have started the UK’s largest Passivhaus residential scheme, in Camden.

"Minimising a home’s whole life cycle impact on climate change is a challenge going forward and we have made some important progress here. One example is our eight storey development in Hackney called Bridport House, which is the largest cross laminated timber building in the UK. By using timber for the frame, the carbon saving was 892 tonnes over traditional building methods and when you include the sequestered carbon locked up in the timber, the saving is 2,113 tonnes.”

It is the fifth year that Willmott Dixon has taken part in NextGeneration’s survey, which provides an independent assessment of how companies are performing in relation to their peers in the management and development of their approach to sustainability.