Using a design-led, technology-driven approach, Hull House Group aims to make our city one of the happiest places to live.
We spoke with Founder Steve Dam and Co-Director Scott Pilgrim to discover more about their work and how they are innovating the property sector through digital.
"The construction and property sector is the fourth biggest contributor to the UK's GDP, providing £100bn towards the economy. However, it has been proven by McKinsey & Company (an American worldwide management consulting firm that conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis to evaluate management decisions and businesses across the globe) as the least productive of all GDP sectors. It is also the second least digital after only farming and hunting," Scott tells us.
"We have built houses the same way for centuries. Think about it, how long do you think we have been using bricks to build walls? Probably around 10,000 years. How long have we used metal keys to open doors? Around 4,000 years," he continues.
"Now, look at your own car, it’s made of modern lightweight, but strong metals, and I bet you can’t remember the last time you used a key to open your driver’s door?"
Using the car analogy further, if you want to buy a new car, you use a configurator on the manufacturer's website to choose the model, shape and size of the product you desire.
"You pick the trim, colours and features all within your budget. You agree the price and payment terms before it then gets built in a factory in a dry and controlled environment using autonomous machinery to efficiently build it."
Scott explains that beyond the purchase, you might sign up for a service plan with planned maintenance schedules for your vehicle, service reminders are sent to you digitally. If all else fails, the vehicles onboard computer informs you of any impending issues or reactive alerts to problems. It is then hooked up to another computer to assess the issue and recommend a solution.
"Now, why can’t all of this be achieved with a house?"
"At Hull House Group we aim to become Humberside’s first digitally driven property solution. Of our 5 cornerstones that define us; great design, affordability, sustainability, urban regeneration, it’s the use of simple technology that sets us apart from the crowd."
What sets HHG apart from the rest is their passion for integrating technology into every aspect of their offering. In order to deliver a better quality service for both tenants and investors, the team is currently developing a one-stop tech solution.
“Our vision is to provide real value for our clients and tenants,” Scott points out. "It’s our aim to develop healthier homes in order to create happier families and greater communities. By making homes smarter in themselves through the use of PropTech and creating a digital platform to manage, maintain and track the value of homes we believe we will achieve this and even better, help make Hull the happiest place to live and invest in the UK!”
The digital platform aims to cover all facets of their business, from maintaining and managing houses to tracking investment growth.
“It’s essentially an Uber-style platform that empowers us to efficiently manage properties without having the expensive overheads that the more traditional agencies face,” Scott reveals.
“For example, the application allows our construction team to track their work from their smartphones and let us know when jobs have been completed.”
Steve adds: “We recognise that these costs are frequently passed onto tenants, in the form of admin fees and high rents. By incorporating cutting-edge technology into our business, we can provide a more efficient, economical service.”
This dedication to quality is reflected throughout everything HHG does.
As Steve flicks through images of their current letted properties, you can see that a lot of thought, time and money has gone into transforming these spaces into beautiful homes.
“We believe everyone has the right to an affordable, quality home. By thinking outside of the box and adopting digital solutions, we can create affordable and sustainable places to live,” he continues.
The bigger picture for Hull House Group is trying to bring investment back into the city. On top of designing inspiring homes, they also want to create a community-driven approach to investment.
“We’re a long way off yet, but we want to be able to gather like-minded people to partially invest in a house, or even a street, to make real change to the areas of Hull,” Steve points out.
“I’ve seen it happen in other cities, so why not Hull? We want to try to revive that feeling of ownership and pride that people had for their homes in the past.”
The next step for HHG is to continue developing their digital platform. As well as investment, they are currently searching for developers who would be interested in working on the project.
“By positioning ourselves at the C4DI, we are able to frequently cross-pollinate ideas with fellow members and see what sort of things are achievable,” Scott enthuses.
When HHG do launch their one-stop solution to property management, it could seriously disrupt the way agencies work, as well as improve standards of living across the country.
To find out more, visit the Hull House Group website.