The builder has a long track-record as a social housing specialist, but Government funding cuts look set to make projects more scarce, forcing it to broaden its horizons.
Willmott Dixon now hopes to lift the number of private units it builds for developers to around 1,000 a year.
It also is developing plans to ramp up its in-house developer Willmott Dixon Homes.
To spearhead the shift into becoming a developer and builder for firms like Taylor Wimpey and Bellway, it has recruited Keith Harley as housing for sale sector manager .
Harley will deliver the strategy to build over 1,000 homes a year for private developers and its in-house development business.
Harley was director of development services at Tribal Consulting, where he worked with developers and social housing landlords advising on a number development projects including large-scale regeneration schemes, HCA gap funding schemes and assessing the financial viability of planned private housing developments.
He said: “When Willmott Dixon outlined its ambitious growth plans to be one of the largest volume contractors of housing for sale, the opportunity to spearhead that was too good to miss.
“I am looking forward to applying my specialist knowledge to this sector, especially with the growth plans of our own in-house developer, and believe that our skill set provides a compelling market proposition.”
Presently Willmott Dixon builds over 1,500 homes a year, mainly for Registered Providers, but it recently started jobs several jobs for for Taylor Wimpey and St George.
Willmott Dixon Capital Works CEO John Frankiewicz said, “We are already one of the UK’s largest housing contractors by volume, with the majority being social housing or mixed-tenure projects for RPs.
“With our private house building experience, combined with the return of major residential developments in the South East, Keith gives us a highly experienced resource to ensure we bring the Willmott Dixon approach to this emerging market.”
With its skill-set and supply chain, Willmott Dixon is also one of the most experienced housing contractors in the area low energy efficiency, including recently delivering ground breaking low carbon housing for Home Group in Stevenage and Velux in Kettering.
“The target now is to take this experience and achieve a balanced split between private developer customers and RP clients.”