Policy & Public Affairs

News & Views

Comment: Housing white paper begins to challenge status quo

Date: 07/02/17

David Hawkes

Policy Manager

Summary

As the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid launches the government’s housing white paper, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) provides its reaction.

David Hawkes, CIOB Policy Manager, said “We welcome this Government’s ambition to tackle the housing crisis, with a number of positive supply-side policies proposed within the white paper.

“Generally, the industry has known for a number of years what can be done to improve levels of house building and so we’re pleased to see measures proposed that provide greater market certainty, giving firms confidence to invest in innovation and training in order to implement it within their businesses.

“But there needs to be recognition that this will not be a panacea. Studies have shown the housing sector needs 120,000 new employees just to meet the required annual level of homes the UK needs. At the same time, private house builders say they cannot build more than 150,000 homes per year via conventional means.

“What this suggests to us is that something needs to fundamentally change if we are to properly address the housing crisis. Alongside its greater support for modern methods of construction, the government is right to challenge house builders to meet their end of the bargain and train more staff. This should be at all levels – management professionals in construction have a high degree of influence over the productivity of a project and so investing in higher level skills can see big benefits.

“We also need to join up thinking across government, for example investing in innovation and modern methods of construction through the National Productivity Investment Fund that was announced in the Autumn Statement.”