House proud

Andrew Mann of Clarity Homes and Commercial tells Eileen Leahy about how his new venture, Clarity Design will further enhance his successful bespoke development and project management business…


As anyone who has ever undertaken a development project will know, the path from conception to completion rarely runs smoothly.

From unexpected price hikes on materials, such as timber and tiles, to having to rethink through design plans when they don’t meet building regulation requirements; these types of proverbial bumps in the road are fairly typical when it comes to building a new home.

However, one local business entrepreneur, Andrew Mann of Clarity Homes and Commercial, which specialises in providing first class project management for property developers, architects and commercial property managers across the South East, is hoping to change all of that.

The former carpenter started out as an apprentice in 2008 aged 16. He spent the next few years working extremely hard to build his business empire, before rebranding it as Clarity Homes and Commercial in 2021. Having recently launched Clarity Design, Andrew says the idea behind the new venture is simple.

“I like to think of Clarity Design as being one point of contact for clients,” he tells me when we meet at the stunning Coursehorn Barn development in Cranbrook that Andrew’s recently overseen.

The original Dutch barn, overlooking a beautiful wild meadow has been transformed into three luxury four-bedroom homes, designed by Kent Design Studio Architects and Grey Feather Development.


“As a construction firm we already have trusted contractors, architects, engineers and interior designers we work with on many types of different projects, both commercially and privately.”


And from growing Clarity Homes and Commercial, Andrew says he has made lots of contacts across the board which have helped him to see the bigger picture of property development.

“By doing a lot of projects for clients and making various contacts, we’ve seen the finer details of everything, whatever the size of the project happens to be. I guess it all comes down to the fact that there’s a lot of people involved in a construction project but there’s also a lack of responsibility too.”

Andrew explains that the industry is very fragmented.

“When an architect has done their job they are out of the picture. When a carpenter has finished, they too can walk away. But what happens when there are issues? Who takes responsibility then?” asks the former Times ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’.

That fundamental question is what led Andrew to creating the Clarity Design concept and bringing it to his business.

“We can provide everything from concept to completion. We can work on all the design elements with a client, whether they’re commercial or private, and suggest the right architect, sub-contractors and interior designers. We will provide a transparent, realistic budget that delivers on time. Meaning that if there are any issues at any stage of the project, then Clarity Design is the main point of contact.

“What happens most of the time is that a client – whether that’s an individual looking to extend a property or a developer – will get quotes from different architects, quantity surveyors and builders and then discover that what they want to do is much more expensive than their budget.

“With Clarity Design there won’t be any of that. We know exactly the type of architect or engineer to approach for a particular project and budget,” Andrew says.

“For example, if it’s a small extension we can get someone in at a better price so it’s not as expensive for the client. You also won’t have the costly process of having to get the plans redesigned should a particular issue arise, such as whether we knock down a chimney or not, as we will know what the answer should be due to our extensive experience and we will manage this ourselves. I guess the key message is by being one point of contact we can save you thousands of pounds and tonnes of time too.”

Andrew uses the Coursehorn Barn development as an example: “There were certain issues with the ambitious redevelopment of the original Dutch barn. The challenge was to work with the existing steel frame of this historic barn and work out a strategy that wouldn’t eradicate its original features. We were able to look at it and come up with a solution that saved thousands of pounds and weeks of time for the project. Normally people have to pay for that expert guidance, but we provide it as part of our bespoke service.”

Andrew is also keen to point out that it is not just Clarity’s network of skilled individuals and tailor-made approach to doing business that puts them one step ahead. It’s the company’s clever foresight too.

“The cost of construction is going through the roof right now but we have managed to hold our prices as we bulk bought lots of materials before pricing and supply issues hit the industry. That means there is little risk with us. We ordered timber months earlier than we needed it in order to get best price as we knew it would go up by tens of thousands of pounds. It might have cost us a little bit more by doing it this way but ultimately it’s nothing like the prices we’d have to cover if we hadn’t had the vision in the
first place.

“So that’s why our prices will stay the same – there won’t be any nasty surprises with us. None of that should happen anyway if a job is planned and designed well. We are fully aware of how much things should cost and we intrinsically understand the methodology of construction. That means we can hold a client’s hand and expertly guide them through the whole process.”

“We have built a great relationship with independent and Local Authority Building control, as we have worked with them on several of our projects. Building control are there to essentially check that a construction company is abiding by the rules of construction and  in essence acts as an insurance policy – providing peace of mind for the client. At Clarity design this is something that we would deal with for the client and are more than happy to provide more information to those who would be interested in learning more!

“We use modern contracts that provide and keep both parties safe and secure during the project. Some firms scribble quotes on a piece of paper but with Clarity you will get a detailed breakdown of what’s being done and when.”

Andrew explains this is where Clarity’s uniqueness is its strength.

“We have embraced technology and implemented the use of an app, so that clients can see in just a few simple taps how their build is progressing. As we now manage everything on our projects – both residential and commercial – we are committed to ensuring customers are up to speed with every stage. With the app we can also put schedules on and send images and clients can comment too.

“The idea for doing this came from me typing up weekly updates on a Friday night, going though costings so there was no confusion over prices but it was so labour intensive! I’ve always wanted to be clear with clients about everything and I thought there must be a software solution out that could help.


“Most construction firms aren’t looking at how tech can help them, but we are. We had the foresight to invest in this particular app so we can bring our clients as much clarity to their project as possible.”


Andrew says that this brings Clarity Design’s ethos full circle.

“It’s about being one point of contact and making sure a development or build is cost effective and managed properly all the way throughout the construction to final completion. And whatever the size of the project is, we can offer a fully comprehensive service, both to individuals and commercial companies. Our aim is save you time as well as money.

“Not many people want to hear the realistic costs of a build, so often they’ll go with someone cheaper, but what they actually need to do is look at the fine detail we provide in our quotes and take a look at our previous projects as these are our calling cards.

“In addition to Coursehorn Barn, these include numerous private homes in the Tunbridge Wells area, work for commercial landlords and renovation projects in London, Sussex and Surrey.”

And if a potential client would like advice ahead of buying a piece of land to develop on then Andrew says Clarity Design can help with that too.

“We can actually give them live costs not just ball park figures, and predict how much a job would cost up to six months in the future too. As we work both in the private as well as the commercial sector we’ve noticed that most business landlords only want to deal with one person, but your average homeowner won’t necessarily know that this is possible. So we are telling people that in fact it is something they can benefit from if they commission Clarity Design.”

On average Clarity Homes and Commercial, which has its HQ in Crowborough, manages around 70 people on a regular basis across their projects, and always ensure that they have staff that they trust on site.

Andrew reveals the type of jobs the company takes on start with a budget of around £250,000 and range up to £2.5 million. But whatever the price bracket or style of the job, one common thread will be that the design and management of the project remains the same – that is what Clarity Design offers by being totally unique.

Andrew also tells me that the company, which sponsored this year’s Times Green Business of the Year award is dedicated to offering as many eco-friendly and sustainable build options as possible. Speaking to the Times earlier this year he said: “After winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award last year I was keen to sponsor a category that celebrates progressive and proactive businesses.

“The environment is something we should all be concerned about and it is something we try to address on every project as a responsible construction company.”

Andrew says Clarity has been asked to consult on a number of ‘passive’ and retrofit houses – another attribute that makes them original.

“There are other design and build companies out there but not many cover every single aspect of a development project or have the same commitment to green issues,” states Andrew. “Although we have only just started offering this all-inclusive design and build service, we are confident that Clarity Design will be the best in the industry.’’

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter