layers 0 £ 0

How to save cost, time and carbon in hard landscaping

Chris Griffiths
Monday 10th August, 2020

Developers and contractors are under increasing pressure from multiple angles. Despite serious budgetary constraints, they need to build fast to meet government targets - and they need to build sustainably too. But if targets are met at the expense of the finished scheme then has it been worthwhile? Whilst many developers and contractors are making reductions above ground, the smart ones are going a little deeper to make their savings.

The most common way to save cost on a new development

There’s no doubt that cost is the primary consideration; there’s nothing unethical about making a fair profit so developers work hard to protect the margin they intend to make on their investments.

The most common route to cutting costs is to scrimp on materials. Sometimes this can work (assuming, of course, the cheaper materials perform equally as well as the preferred specification) but cheaper materials usually provide a less appealing finish, and that’s not the way to command the best price for your finished schemes. It’s a tricky balance between maintaining a premium aesthetic on your project whilst driving as much cost out of the build as possible. Once you factor in increasingly stringent sustainability legislation, it’s no wonder that developers are left scratching their heads.

A better approach to drive down cost, time and carbon

Smart developers are now working closely with reputable suppliers to help them deliver their projects. This approach makes sense; as much as the developer wants to provide good-looking, robust schemes, it’s also in the suppliers’ interests to ensure that their products are installed safely and securely and stay looking good for a long time. At Marshalls we have a specialist Design Team, a group of experts with intricate knowledge of our products and a great understanding of how best to engineer the systems into which they’re installed. This means that, rather than scrimping on the surfacing material they can value engineer the substructure to drive cost out of the elements you can’t see. The resulting rationalised systems will still be suitable for robust regular usage and, if you’re working with us, will be guaranteed by the Marshalls Design Warranty - even when they go beyond the British Standard.

Take Central Bedfordshire Council’s northern highways depot, for example. To satisfy SuDS requirements on the scheme the client had decided to use permeable paving, and designed the system using advice found in the British Standard. However, following a meeting with our paving engineer, the Design Team re-designed the system with a shallower sub-base. The resulting savings were in excess of £150,000 and the site continues to perform both structurally and hydraulically just as well as it did when it was installed 5 years ago.

Another benefit of driving cost out of the sub-base is that it also drives out carbon. Shallower systems mean less excavation, less plant and less muck away – all factors which will reduce the embodied carbon used in your project. We work with the Carbon Trust so you can trust the carbon footprints we apply to our products, and we can help you to calculate the embodied carbon within the system too. And then we come to saving time – the holy grail of any project. Early engagement with a Design Team can save you and your business time during the design phase and ensure that you use the most appropriate systems first time.

Work with Marshalls Design Team free of charge

All services from Marshalls Design Team are completely free of charge to Marshalls customers.

To find out how we can help you save time, money and carbon on your next job, visit here or email

Sign up to receive the latest news in your inbox daily.