The country has spoken – we now have the result of the election, with many newly appointed minsters announced, however it’s ‘business as usual” as Brandon Lewis will continue in his role as Housing and Planning Minister. The confirmation of Mr Lewis in the role brings to an end hours of confusion caused by the department announcing on its website yesterday that Mark Francois will be taking up the position. With five Housing Minsters in as many years, it is now hoped that continuity and a strategic approach will make an impact on the housing deficit.
Brandon Lewis has quite a task on his hands, as housebuilding in the UK hits an all-time low, with a target of 250,000 new homes needed each year in order to tackle spiralling house prices and the critical shortage of affordable homes – a radical strategy is required to make up this deficit. Recent figures reported by the BBC, show that only 141,000 homes were constructed in 2014 – this target has constantly been missed.
A year ago Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, complained that house-building in the UK was half that of his native Canada, despite the UK having a population twice the size. The consequences have been rocketing prices in London, the South East and some other parts of the country.
A substantial part of the problem is that housebuilders in possession of large sites often only release a small amount of homes at a time, as building at a slower pace allows them to maximise the value of their assets. As a result, local authorities are now looking at reclaiming and managing the construction of new homes. Both Labour and Liberal Democrats have been arguing in support of the state to once again commission and build new homes. We are yet to hear from the new Conservative Housing Minister.
It is clear that whether the state reclaims housebuilding or not, to finally meet these targets -sustainable, rapid and cost effective methods of building will have to be utilised. Offsite construction provides the ultimate solution. Through the use of offsite technology, the government will be able to deliver houses at a lower cost and a rapid pace. Offsite construction has been around for decades, however, it is only now that the benefits are being realised.
There is an urgent need for a mass volume of houses to be constructed in a limited time scale and whether the state takes on housebuilding, or if it is left to private developers, the benefits of offsite construction could be crucial to meeting targets that have repeatedly been missed. There is significant evidence that suggests that the use of offsite construction has been successful when applied to meet the needs of significant housing developments at scale with consequential opportunities for standardisation of design details – particularly to meet the need of government led programmes.
Explore Offsite is your opportunity to get on-board with current thinking and investigate new technologies. Taking place on 07 July 2015 in at National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham – the third in the series of events focuses on the housing sector. Creating a platform for construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors to come together and discuss the latest offsite solutions – the event features speakers from pioneering companies in the offsite construction industry.
Speakers include : Nick Milestone, Managing Director of B & K Structures and Alex Smith, architect for Hawkins Brown who will be profiling Banyan Wharf, which at 10 storeys, is set the take the title of the tallest cross laminated timber residential building in Europe. These presenters will be joined by John Skivington, Director of LHC, Rory Bergin and HTA Design, speaking about Modular Buildings for the Private Rental Sector. Bryan Woodley from Val-U-Therm, will be sharing his experience in high performance building envelopes designed to achieve passivhaus standards.
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) have supported and exhibited at the Explore Offsite London and Nottingham events and the CIOB West Midlands branch will again be event partners for the Birmingham conference and exhibition.
There is also a wealth of exhibitors who will be available to discuss their latest innovations in offsite construction. Exhibitors include : B & K structures, Caledonian Group, Coillte Panel Products, Crown Timber, Keystone Group, Kingspan Timber Solutions, Modularize, Senior Architectural Systems, Structural Timber Association and Val-U-Therm.