Brownfield sites in City Centres | Challenges & Solutions

City centre housing developments on brownfield sites pose significant challenges for building contractors, particularly in terms of logistics management. Read our article to find out about these challenges and how to tackle them efficiently.

The Challenges of building on brownfield sites 

Brownfield sites, typically in urban areas, tend to have limited space – traffic congestion, delivery time constraints or restricting site access increasing delivery complexity. They may also lack sufficient storage space thus imposing additional challenges. What’s more, any delivery delays caused by pressure on peak delivery spots are likely to have knock-on effects on schedules and budgets.

On brownfield sites where there are many sub-contractors, it’s commonplace for multiple unplanned deliveries to arrive simultaneously. This can be costly – congesting loading areas, causing delivery delays, site access issues and inefficiencies. 

As such, having the right materials at the right time is incredibly important for these projects, and logistics managers are recognising the need to have tight control, coordinated communication and central management of deliveries.

Increasingly strict regulation in city centre locations can also impact logistics – examples include the implementation of delivery time restrictions, clean air zones, congestion zones, and restricted routes.

Correct permissions must be acquired, or alternative routes mapped, which can limit accessibility for HGV and construction vehicles. 

Clean Air Zones (CAZ) are gradually being introduced across some of the UK’s major cities; London has a Low Emissions Zone and Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), Bath and Birmingham both have CAZ, and both Bradford and Greater Manchester are implementing a charging CAZ in 2022. Any vehicles travelling into these zones that do not meet the emissions standards have to pay a daily charge¹ or risk incurring penalty charges.  

There are rising pressures on the construction industry to reduce its environmental impact. Net zero targets are high on the agenda – to bid for major government contracts, businesses are now required to commit to net zero by 2050 and produce carbon reduction plans (gov.uk²).

Initiatives such as BREEAM and Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) – which require thorough CO2 and emissions reporting – are becoming not just desirable but essential accreditations.    

These are only some of the challenges for building contractors when managing city centre housing developments on brownfield sites. It is no surprise that coordinating and managing construction logistics and site security daily, particularly for large-scale, complex construction projects, is no small feat. 

The above-mentioned constraints mean that traditional methods of delivery management like spreadsheets no longer meet the requirements of the construction industry. Using a Delivery Management System (DMS) will become the norm for Logistics Managers or Site Managers working on development sites in these high-density urban locations.

How can Logistics Managers and Site Managers tackle these challenges?

The Benefits of using a Delivery Management System (DMS) for your project

Conventionally, delivery management systems that enable contractors to log delivery bookings can be used across various industries to coordinate the entire booking and delivery process. 

Zone Manager DMS diary function graphic

Zone Manager goes far beyond this.

It is a real-time management tool used to control events as they happen, highlighting unplanned activity and minimising the time that is wasted rescheduling.

The Zone Manager software allows for worksite deliveries and resources to be scheduled against time slots, offering a centralised plan of activity. Contractors and suppliers can request delivery slots online for site managers to confirm or reject, enabling efficient construction site traffic management. 

Selected & approved contractors and suppliers, at your discretion, can also be given the authority to register and manage their bookings directly, making the booking and request process much easier.  

You can also monitor site security and compliance by using Zone Manager’s DMS. You can ensure only authorised vehicles gain access to the construction site and have an auditable record of who arrived and when. As a result, construction managers have the appropriate tools to control all aspects of their site, keeping projects on track and providing compliance reports at the click of a button. 

Last but not least, you can identify environmental impact and opportunities for improving efficiency by analysing the data within Zone Manager’s DMS. For example, identifying ways of reducing the number of deliveries through consolidation can help reduce fuel consumption, emissions, as well as congestion in loading bays. 

The system’s CO2 and emissions reporting functionality enables compliance with environmental initiatives such as BREEAM and CCS. The system has capability to record whether vehicles delivering items to your site meet emissions standards or have to pay an access charge, not only helping to monitor your site’s environmental impact but also preventing possible penalty charges.  

Discover the way Zone Manager can help your next brownfield site housing development by requesting a brochure here or demo here, or by contacting us!

Let's work together

With our knowledge built on the experience of real-life delivery management at all levels, and of software development, we are ideally placed to help you develop your requirements into a software specification.

If you have particular requirements for your project, get in touch today so we can discuss how we can help.

Book a Demo

Give us a few details and we will contact you promptly to discuss how we can help.