The chancellor has announced the introduction of the National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission will be politically neutral and will make recommendations on infrastructure schemes under a four-point plan to get Britain building. This new approach will change the way vital infrastructure projects are planned, determined and funded. This announcement follows the publication of the report National Infrastructure Plan for Skills which sets out the results of detailed skills analysis and modelling of the National Infrastructure Pipeline and describes the key challenges faced.

The Architects Journal have concerns that the National Infrastructure Commission’s remit will not include large scale housing development. Meanwhile Minister Brandon Lewis has announced the intention to build a million new homes in Britain by 2020, to alleviate the housing crisis. Councils have been told to submit plans for housing in their area by 2017. Yet, as with infrastructure,  a skills shortage threatens the delivery of planned housing warns the Federation of Master Builders. This is backed by new research, Building for Growth which says a shortage of skilled workers, together with the current planning system is hindering efforts to overcome the UK housing crisis.

In answer to the housing crisis debate the Building Centre have a series of housing exhibitions looking at off-site prefabrication to easily demountable structures and much more in between. And Construction Enquirer report on the first UK house to be totally manufactured off-site.

Inside Housing reported that 86% of housing associations voted to voluntarily extend Right to Buy. The House Building Federation welcomed the governments offer to independently deliver an extension to the Right to Buy. New research by the NHBC has found that house prices are not reduced on developments which successfully integrate social and private housing. The Homes and Communities Agency has published its annual survey of all private registered providers of social housing in England. The report includes size and type of home, location and rents at 31 March 2015.

With the government assessing responses to the proposed introduction of an apprenticeship levy research from The Sutton Trust shows the earning potential of the best apprenticeships rivals degrees. The construction press are reporting job losses at CITB, as the organisation continues to reorganise in a bid to survive. The evolution at CITB includes the launch of Go Construct a new campaign to encourage people to consider a career in construction. Next month also sees Careers in Construction Live.

The revised standard ISO 14001:2015 “Environmental management systems- Requirements with guidance for use is now available for purchase. NBS have published an overview of the updates for New Approved Documents for England – Part E, G, H, M1, M2 and Q. Newly installed space heating and water heating systems are required to display an energy efficiency label rating. The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 now apply in full, as the transition period ends.

The Construction Products Association has welcomed the appointment of Mike Chaldecott, MD of British Gypsum to the Construction Leadership Council, to contribute the essential perspective of manufacturers and distributors to the Council of senior business executives from the supply chain. A new service is being offered by UKTI called the GreatBritishStore.com. The store, specifically aimed at B2B, provides a portal for SMEs to list a number of their UK designed and or produced goods and services.

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