Who Are We?
AJ Cooper Builders Ltd was a development company of such repute, that homes are still advertised today as "Cooper built" and James Development Co. Ltd. was founded in 1959 to follow on and continue the success of the previous company. We are a family owned firm who believe that building requires knowledge, professionalism and dedication.
Our commitment to professionalism means that we recognise our own limitations and when we need specialist help, our extensive industry experience and colleague network enables us to draw on trusted and reliable advisors to tackle any of the tasks that face us.
Our employees tend to stay with us for a very long time, the longest serving joined us when he was 16 and other than his time of National Service has worked for us ever since. He still drops in and helps regularly at the age of 84!
What Do We Do?
To date, we have designed and constructed thousands of new homes and their associated drains, highways and other infrastructure. We have also designed and constructed many significant large scale retail outlets, commercial premises and industrial warehouses.
Unlike many other building companies of our size, we undertake the full development process ourselves and have for many years, been generally self financing.
When committing to a development, we undertake everything from identifying prospective sites, carrying out preliminary investigations and compiling feasibility studies, negotiating purchase contracts, designing solutions to optimise land usage and end user benefit, obtaining planning permission, managing (when necessary) planning appeals, producing working drawings, obtaining building regulations approval, construction of the development and ultimately, the sale or lease of the finished development.
Where Do We Do It?
Our work has mainly been focused in Greater London and East Anglia, but we have undertaken developments as far flung as Dundee and additionally, we have been involved in several projects in Switzerland.
What Is Our Aim?
We aim to build prestigious projects that will be testament to our endeavours for many years to come. We take pride in our work.
With respect to housing, we aim to build generous new homes that house people in a lifestyle of contemporary elegance offering pleasant surroundings and a civilised environment of which their sustainable family home forms an integral part.
We try to use our resources wisely to afford our purchasers the best value for money and for example, whenever possible we equip our homes with fitted carpets, fitted wardrobes to every bedroom, en-suite bathrooms and shower rooms to principal bedrooms, ecofriendly double glazing, renewable energy heating systems, thermostatically controlled central heating, appropriately tiled wet rooms and a generous supply of electrical sockets. Above all, our homes are built by professionals that love their work and are determined to produce genuine and tangible quality through high standards of workmanship and intelligent selection of material palettes. In commercial projects, we look to identify projects that offer long term secure investment returns in sustainable locations that properly account for the needs of all those using the buildings.
We offer a professional service simply because our senior management are professionally qualified and take a deep and sincere pride in the service and product provided. All our projects are designed by our in house Chartered Architectural design office and their construction is supervised by our Chartered Builder and our combined professional skill set is formidable and recognised as leading within the industry. One of our directors was asked to provide a lecture in Zurich on the development perspective to private healthcare and another of our directors is chairman of the Essex centre of the Chartered Institute of Builders and will take over as chairman of the East of England Region of the Chartered Institute of Builders in April 2010 while being an official industry spokesman as a formal ambassador for the that same institute.
Those more closely associated with the construction world may have heard the term "BIM" which to date, smaller organisations have tended to fear and avoid and larger organsiations have tended to adopt reluctantly. However, we are proud to say that we are fully BIM compliant and undertake all our design work with Archicad BIM software produced by Graphisoft - our designs are better because we can evaluate them fully from their inception.
Why are we different?
We are a small family firm and that means that our business matters to us. We take it very seriously and we work very hard. We do not squander our resources, instead, we try to invest what we have earned wisely to secure our future and in so doing, the future of our entire team. We have maintained continuous growth through times of economic turmoil and turpitude while suffering the consequences of the ineptitudes and errors which seem to characterise the abilities of those given the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer and yet, after over half a century we are still here, doing what we have done since our company was founded and competing with the enormous national house building firms on their territory.
We never opt for the "easy option" unless it is the also the best option. This can perhaps be demonstrated by our approach taken to the commercially available software used to undertake feasibility studies. When considering purchasing one of these packages, we took the trouble to check the figures that it produced tallied with a hand worked calculation and we found that we could not reconcile the calculated finance costs between the two. We then realised that nearly all the commercial packages used the same unacceptable simplification to calculate, what might well be, a crucial part of the costings. We therefore concluded that we could not invest in new land on the basis of a financial modelling package that may not be sufficiently accurate and so we wrote, in house, our own software to undertake a proper financial analysis and have updated this through the years to the current version that we have now ported to spreadsheets. It was a relief to find that commercial spreadsheets had evolved to offer sufficiently powerful Boolean operators to accommodate the costing analysis requirements since porting data to other packages is always easy if it comes in an industry standard form.
If the environment matters to you too, contact any other building firm and ask to speak to their Chartered Environmentalist - the chances are, they won't have any such person on their staff but you can speak to ours, because we have one. Many other companies pay lip service to concerns such as environmental policy, but we have actually done something effective about the situation and below are two examples that are representative of the intelligent and direct action that we believe in:
- At Mulberry Lea, we were probably the first development company in the UK to undertake a large scale development using very efficient and economical air sourced heat pump based heating and hot water system in every house, not just the expensive house types. This project, because of its unique scope, became the subject of study by academics and has formed the basis of two papers that were authored jointly by a University of Plymouth Department of Building senior lecturer and one of our directors and has also been studied by students of that University as part of their honours year submitted work. Our approach is not to hoard our knowledge but to share it openly with building industry at large for the good of all.
- We are amongst the first in the industry to have purchased a mobile concrete crushing plant. This enables us to recycle all our hardcore and concrete waste for drives and paths etc.. This saves natural mineral resources, reduces waste sent to landfill and reduces the amount of lorries travelling on the roads. We maintained a full permit to use this equipment which many mobile crusher owners do not bother with. However, we have now been granted an exemption from this permit on the basis of triviality. This is unusual for a crushing plant as large as ours and reflects the excellent management procedures that we have instituted and followed in operating this equipment and indeed, one local authority environmental officer asked our permission to distribute our management system to other users as an example of an ideal package saying that we had achieved more in a few well considered pages than some operators achieve in manuals of over 100 pages!