Building new homes for swifts

Jeremy Hipkiss, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Barratt Developments plc

Monday 18 February 2019

A swift brick nesting box  being installed near the roof of a new-build home

Barratt Developments plc's partnership with RSPB is focused on giving nature a home. Right from the very start a key objective of the partnership was to provide new homes for swifts, one of Britain’s best loved birds.

Unfortunately swifts are in steep decline due to losing crucial nesting sites as old buildings are knocked down and holes are filled in. As the country’s largest housebuilder, Barratt Developments plc, are well placed to help to give the birds new homes in the houses that we build.

So we worked together with RSPB and Manthorpe Building Products to design a completely new swift nesting box in the form of a brick which can be easily fitted into new homes. The bricks are an industry first, fully drained, ventilated and unobtrusive, matching the colour of the bricks being used in the house. In 2017 the bricks even won a prestigious NextGeneration innovation award for their design.

So far we’ve installed them at developments in Aylesbury, Exeter and Bristol, but we have plans to roll them out much wider across the country in the coming months and years. Kerry McCarthy, the RSPB’s Parliamentary Swift Champion, recently came down to our St Matthias development in Bristol to help install one of the bricks. Overall, our aim is to build lots of new homes with the bricks installed to help these iconic birds.

We have also just written a new guide for customers buying homes with swift bricks. It gives details about the bricks and reassures customers that since swifts are very clean birds, they won’t be affected in any way. There is also a simple 5 point plan for customers to help swifts and what to look out for if they do nest.

It’s still too soon to see nesting pairs in the bricks which have been installed as swifts typically take several years to find new nesting sites. However, we are hopeful that in just a few years we will have given swift numbers a significant boost by giving them permanent new homes across the country.

Find out more about giving swifts a home

Find out more about how Barratt Developments plc are working to give nature a home

Last Updated: Friday 22 February 2019

Tagged with: Topic: Swift