The firm revealed the build cost reduction plan as it reported pre-tax profit down by over a third to £58m in the year to August.
Revenue rose 2% to £672m but net cash fell from £31m to £4m over the year.
New chief executive officer John Tonkiss said he plans to reboot the business by downsizing its operations, cutting build costs and reorganising sales teams.
The new build cost reduction programme is targeting increased standardisation, more efficient designs and optimising subcontract procurement practices.
Design efficiency reviews are currently being undertaken on all 2020 developments with savings expected to materialise in 2021.
Tonkiss said: “The build initiative continued to drive improvements to the build process during the year, to accelerate build timescales, reduce build costs and enhance margins.
“This resulted in build cycle time reduction from 14.4 months in FY17 to 13.9 months in FY18.”
He added: “Specific focus has been placed on improving our material procurement practices through increased framework agreements and we have plans to introduce stronger competitive tendering processes, particularly for our subcontractors.”
Tonkiss said McCarthy & Stone had introduced a new product management platform with technical specification libraries fully established to improve the value engineering around such areas as foundations, balconies, wall structures.
He said: “This will create a strong foundation for our build cost reduction workstream within our new strategy.”