Industry responds to government’s ‘direct commissioning’ proposal for new homes

Industry responds to government’s ‘direct commissioning’ proposal for new homes

Following the Government’s recent announcement that it is to commission the building of 13,000 new homes, PBM collates the responses from the following industry bodies:

 

Jeremy Blackburn, Head of Policy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

“This government has already introduced a great many initiatives that we believe will slow current high rates of house-price growth. Today’s announcements will further help to bring much-needed new developments swiftly to market.”


Rhian Kelly, CBI Business Environment Director

“The lack of available land and drawn-out planning processes are serious impediments to small and medium-sized housebuilders looking to grow and scale up. This announcement by the Prime Minister, if successfully rolled out across the country, should be a real spur to our ability to build more homes.

To move us closer to the 240,000 homes we need built each year, the Government must ensure we have a healthy and vibrant housing market, with a mix of tenures, including the Private Rental Sector, affordable and social homes to rent and buy, and home ownership.”


 

Richard Donnell, Director of Research at Hometrack

“One of the greatest challenges to growing housing supply has been the loss of capacity from small builders whose numbers have halved between 2007 and 2013. Only 2,710 are estimated to have been building in the last year. The barriers to small builders developing homes have risen with planning and finance risks limiting access to the market.

The Government needs as many types of builder as possible to meet its target to grow supply. While the number of homes announced today is relatively small it sends the message that smaller builders have an important role to play if we are to grow housing volumes.”


Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB)

“The availability of small sites is the greatest barrier that SME housebuilders currently face when delivering new homes, which is why the Government’s initiative to make public land available to small builders is so welcome. The Government clearly recognises that we need to bring more small housebuilders back into the market if we have any hope of addressing the housing shortfall.

Directly funding developments on publicly owned land, with planning permission already granted, should encourage growth of smaller builders and new entrants into the market. However, the public land that is being made available through ‘direct commissioning’ must be broken down into small and micro plots wherever possible. As the Housing Minister himself has recognised, the smaller the site, the quicker it will get built out.

If the Government wants to truly tap into the potential of SME house builders, it should bring forward a wide range of packages of land, including those attractive to the smallest of developers, thereby improving both capacity and speed of delivery.

As positive as this development is however, it remains only one piece of the jigsaw. The on-going skills shortage is as pertinent for local firms as it is for larger contractors. We desperately need more skilled tradespeople in the industry, otherwise even supportive plans such as those announced today will be challenging for builders to deliver. Boosting apprenticeship training among construction SMEs will be crucial to this.”


 

Michael Ankers, Chairman of the Brick Development Association

“It is encouraging to see the government make this commitment to helping young people get onto the housing ladder. Using brick as a durable and sustainable building resource will ensure that the new builds are of the highest quality, and maintain the nature of the built environment with which we are so familiar for housing in this country.”


Click here for more on the background to this story from PBM.

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