The NHS in England could be saving £1.5 billion a year by improving the efficiency of their estates facilities management says a review by EC Harris Built Asset Consultancy. It says ‘There has been a concerted effort by Trusts to both dispose of unneeded, ageing and obsolete estate and gain better control of their facilities, there is room for improvement.’ It goes on to say ‘surplus land could generate some 14,794 houses (Smith Institute 2014)’.
DECC have announced that a further £100m is to be made available for the installation of household energy efficiency measures under the Green Deal. This follows the fund’s premature closure when DECC announced that the fund for this year had been fully allocated. This additional funding is on top of the original £450m announced in December 2013. Further announcements will be made in November 2014.
Minister Brandon Lewis has announced new powers for councils to enable them to build more affordable homes. The minister confirmed that 22 councils will be able to borrow an additional £122 million over the next 2 years to deliver over 1,700 new affordable homes and support local growth. There is a further £178 million available.
Eric Pickles has launched a new £400 million programme to boost building of new rental homes. Under the Rent to Buy scheme, housing associations and other providers can bid for a share of £400 million in low-cost loans to build up to 10,000 new homes across the country to be built from 2015 to 2018 – they will mainly consist of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.
Eleven areas across the country will benefit from the latest government-backed opportunity: Right to Build, to help aspiring custom or self-builders.
Latest figures, following Planning reform and cutting of ‘red-tape’ indicate an increase in home-improvements. In the 3 months to June, councils across the country received 7,700 applications for home extensions – 6,500 of which got the go-ahead without needing to go through the whole planning process. The figures also show how permitted development measures to enable redundant office buildings to be turned into new homes are also being taken up, with 1,100 applications received by councils in the last quarter and 900 approved during the same period.
Ministers are proposing, as part of the Housing Standards review that the London Housing Space Standards go nationwide. An impact assessment on savings expected from the Housing Standards review suggests that £114m could be saved by Housebuilders and Councils. Reforming rules to just five core standards will save money, whilst making new homes safer, more accessible to older and disabled people and more sustainable, claims Communities minister, Stephen Williams.
The CIC have made available: BS 1192-4:2014 collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice. This defines expectations for the design and construction project phases prior to handover and acquisition and the subsequent in-use phase.