Housebuilding Initiatives

At the beginning of the year government announced radical plans to fast-track construction of affordable homes on publicly owned land. The policy is aimed at helping to deliver the commitment to create 200,000 starter homes over the next 5 years. The government says this policy will lead to homes being built at a faster rate by smaller building firms, on government sites that already have planning permission. Figures show 13,000 homes will be built on 4 sites outside of London in 2016 with up to 40% being affordable starter homes.

At the same time government announced £1.2bn starter home fund to prepare brownfield sites for new homes.

David Cameron has also pledged to transform sink estates, the nationwide strategy will be supported by a new Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel and promises to improve land utilisation and increase development values. This as Savills issue their report, Completing London Streets, that proposes how the regeneration and intensification of housing estates could increase London’s supply of homes and benefit residents.

Meanwhile new research indicates that 475,000 homes with planning permission are still waiting to be built. The Housebuilding Federation give their reaction to LGA claims regarding planning permissions, saying “Speeding up the rate at which permissions are granted – i.e. the move from ‘granted’ to ‘implementable’- is one of the keys to significant, sustainable increases in house building.”

House developers in England can now register for BRE’s Home Quality Mark (HQM) assessment. The scheme aims to provide more reassurance to consumers about the performance and quality of both the living space and community.

Delivering Sustainable Construction

BRE have printed a briefing paper outlining their Strategic approach to the selection and procurement of construction materials and products, in relation to responsible sourcing and BREEAM.

A new research project, to learn how to maximise building performance of non-domestic buildings, is being launched by the UK Green Building Council.

The Government has published its Review of the Feed-In-Tariffs Scheme, saying ‘Having given careful consideration to responses received, Government remains convinced that deployment caps are the most robust method of controlling expenditure under FITs. All new installations applying for FITs on or after 15 January 2016 will be subject to a new system of caps from 8th February 2016.

Finally Luke Nicholls & Brad Allen provide a comprehensive wish list for the sustainable economy in 2016, which makes interesting reading.

Quality and Quantity of Apprenticeships to increase

At the end of last year Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of the education watchdog, warned against poor quality apprenticehips. The Government has recently published its 2020 Vision for English apprenticeships, setting our plans to increase quality and quantity. The executive summary can be read here.

Delivery of Government Projects in Jeopardy

A third of major government projects due to deliver in the next five years are rated as in doubt or unachievable unless action is taken to improve delivery. A progress report on measures to improve the delivery of major government projects, published by the National Audit Office, calls for greater transparency on project performance. The report considers measures to improve delivery of major service reforms, ICT projects, infrastructure and construction projects. The NAO say “an effective mechanism still needs to be developed for prioritising projects across government or judging whether individual departments have the capacity and capability to deliver them.”

BIM – what specifiers expect from product manufacturers

At the end of the year our own Chris Ashworth considered What do specifiers need from product manufacturers? This subject was recently discussed in a BIM4M2 hosted Twitter chat, with insights from Paul Broadfoot of Space Group and Peter Walker of Garners FSE. A storify of the chat is available.

You can help provide a better understanding of how to meet the challenges of BIM by completing the BIM4M2’s online survey. The findings will be used to inform and develop support for building product manufacturers. Findings from the survey will be presented at a forthcoming BIM4M2 seminar planned for spring. So this is your last chance to complete BIM4M2’s online survey. In appreciation, on completing the survey you will receive a discount code for £45 off the purchase price of Competitive Advantage’s latest report ‘Adoption of BIM by Architects’ priced at £350 + VAT.



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