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Housing White Paper releasedFebruary 2017

BSRIA has welcomed today’s Government White Paper on Housing setting out the Government’s preferred strategy in tackling the country’s housing crisis. As described in the White Paper, 225,000 to 275,000 (or more) new homes per year will be needed to keep up with population growth and years of under-supply. That could translate into almost one million new homes built by 2020.

Among other issues, the White Paper discusses the role of the local authorities in delivering higher housing volumes, potential changes in the way planning permissions are granted, new and innovative accelerated construction processes, the need for supply chain improvements and also addresses quality and sustainability.

In more detail:

For private developers, in line with the recently released industrial strategy, Government aims to boost productivity, innovation, sustainability and skills by encouraging modern methods of construction in house building.

Government also expects builders and developers to take responsibility for investing in their research and skills base in order to create more sustainable career paths and genuinely bring forward thousands of new skilled roles.

For housing associations and other not-for-profit organisations, Government has already announced funding worth a total of £7.1 billion through an expanded and more flexible Affordable Homes Programme. More clarity over future rent levels is also expected soon. The current Parliament will strongly focus on the delivery of more affordable homes.

For lenders, institutional investors and capital market participants, Government is offering a clear and stable long-term framework for investment, including properties for rent. In return, it will call upon lenders and investors to back developers and social landlords in building more homes.

For utility companies and infrastructure providers, Government is exploring an improved approach to developer contributions to help pay for new infrastructure.

Tassos Kougionis, Principal Consultant – Residential, at BSRIA’s Sustainable Construction Group, said:

“BSRIA welcomes this timely and very important ‘radical blueprint for change’. This heralds a new era for housing, with fresh opportunities for members and industry alike.

But we must not forget that building homes is a matter of quality as well as quantity. Our current focus on delivering volume makes quality more important than ever. Government, industry and stakeholders all need to work together to guarantee that communities’ needs and wellbeing are at the very centre of our decisions. Indeed, that these new homes will be well thought through and designed accordingly.

We must ensure that in order to tackle this very challenging housing crisis we are not building the costly slums or soulless estates of tomorrow.

With regard to innovation, modern methods of construction, ‘offsite’ manufacturing and zero waste approaches – I believe they signify an exciting new era for the industry which shall be explored more as it may offer the potential we are seeking to delivering these high targets.

What is also very important is to see how SME housebuilders can be supported, and increase in numbers, as a more diverse housing delivery model can enhance the industry’s ability to deliver the required numbers while creating new jobs and opportunities that will help in increasing our workforce.

As ever, it is crucial that industry has access to a workforce with strong engineering and construction skills.

BSRIA has highlighted skills and labour shortages, on a number of occasions in the past. We commit to assisting in delivering the workforce, skills and knowledge required. We will continue to engage with Central Government, local authorities and industrial partners offering new informative material, new training opportunities and our professional and scientific expertise and services where required to support the delivery of a high quality, healthy, safe and striving future built environment.”

BSRIA is currently increasing its focus on the residential sector. Please feel free to contact us to discuss potential collaboration opportunities or if you would like to join us at our 2017 residential network series.

government housing white paper

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