As the level of new home construction has fallen to the lowest levels since the 1920’s and the dream of home ownership for millions of young families remains just that,… a dream, Ed Miliband chose the first day of the Labour party conference to outline Labour’s plan to address the housing shortage.
In addition to policies already announced by the Labour party to meet the goal of getting 200,000 new homes built a year by 2020, Ed Miliband will endorse the first key recommendation to emerge from the Lyons Housing Commission, the development of New Homes Corporations.
The New Homes Corporations are to be set up by local authorities normally at a devolved city and regional levels where councils choose to collaborate. They would be accountable to their communities and work closely with private sector partners and housing associations commissioning a wider range of developers, including SME’s, to build out sites at pace.
The policy is designed to overcome three major constraints on house building:
- Give certainty that land will be developed
- Better strategic planning and infrastructure delivery
- More competition in house building
BSRIA is broadly supportive of any initiative that will increase the number of new homes being built, however it is important that any policy also addresses the issues that are currently facing the construction industry. One of the biggest of these is the recruitment, retention and skill development of the workforce in the construction industry, “if we are to build the number of houses required in the UK we need to start recruiting new people into the industry, we need to invest now to achieve the house building targets for 2020” said Julia Evans BSRIA’s Chief Executive.
Julia Evans continued “the house building industry faces a number of technical challenges in gearing up to meet the target of 200,000+ new homes without compromising quality and delivering on the ambition of ensuring the completed homes really perform”. For example, we know that house builders have responded positively to regulation changes to improve the airtightness standards of our dwellings. However, there are some indicators that the ventilation strategies do not always deliver the quality of indoor air that we desire. As an industry we need to work together to ensure that we research and develop solutions that deliver for the occupant.