The Housing Forum National Conference

The Housing Forum

This has been the year that cost of living in the UK came into sharp focus. Central to that are the concerns over housing and energy. The Housing Forum,  the cross-sector, housing-industry-wide membership organisation has been paying attention and on Tuesday 18 October, held its highly impactful annual national conference, delving directly into these and other pressing issues affecting the sector.

In attendance under the architecturally iconic Regent’s Park, Grade 1 listed roof, of The Royal College of Physicians were over 250 representatives from housing associations and local councils, contractors/developers, suppliers and manufacturers, consultancies, and representatives from central government departments such as Homes England and the GLA.

The conference was jointly headline sponsored by calfordseaden, a multi-disciplinary property and construction consultancy; and Peabody, one of the oldest and largest not-for-profit housing associations in the UK.

There was broad-ranging support for the topical sessions on offer, from sponsors Switch2, South East Consortium, Martin Arnold, PSP, RSK, Genuit Group, Wates, Councils Network (comprising Airey Miller, Baily Garner, BPTW and calfordseaden), Red Loft and Countryside.

The conference exhibition area was a lively networking space, this year featuring a Retrofit Zone, sponsored by Faithorn Farrell Timms. Exhibitors include PiLON, Retrofit Academy, Switchee, Stelling Properties, Worcester Bosch and The Clive Smith Foundation.

The day kicked off with an introduction to the conference theme ‘Shared Strength through Housing Partnerships’, from Stephen Teagle, CEO of Vistry Partnerships and The Housing Forum’s Chairman, who noted, “The best way to deliver more and better homes is through partnerships. Partnerships are a fundamental element for handling volatile times.”

Keynote speaker, Lucian Cook, Head of Residential Research at Savills, outlined some of the challenges facing the sector from political instability, high inflation, and the possibility of a housing market downturn.

Speakers looked at how the sector can rise to current challenges, including early engagement with all parts of the supply chain, and advocating the use of joint ventures to ensure we keep building housing through these uncertain times, with affordable housing playing a vital role.

Another focus of the conference was decarbonisation, and delegates heard about the potential of heat networks and the challenges around retrofitting, including the need to do more to understand how people use newer technologies in their homes.

The Housing Forum’s Council’s Network hosted a session discussing the challenges facing local authorities in planning, funding and affordable housing and how #housingpartnerships can help to tackle some of these. The theme of partnership working was developed further in the final session about new delivery models.

Interactive break-out sessions further investigated ecology, partnerships, the future of work and resident engagement.

Through each of these expert, industry-lead sessions, networking and exhibition experiences, deep sector knowledge and insights were shared and developed throughout the day, inviting collaborative solutions to the profound current challenges in housing supply, safety, and regulation.

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Anna Wood
Editor, Showhome
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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