Terry Chapman, PDSI Group CEO,along with 750 leaders of our industry attended the 2019 RESI Convention in Cardiff in early September. https://www.resiconf.com/
Terry Chapman said “I found the RESI 2019 conference very interesting and I was impressed with the number of clients and designers who attended and actively engaged in discussions to develop our industry.”
The first session was with Esther McVey, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, who spoke about how the government is to invest billions of pounds into housing up to 2028, with a target of 300,000 new homes every year. She said last year, over one million new homes were built, with 360,000 being affordable. In the process, stamp duty was cut, and help to buy schemes were implemented with the government continuing to help and guide people into home ownership without increasing costs and profits within the industry. Moving forward, the government is looking to expand on shared ownership, rent to buy, right to buy and right to build initiatives, in order to help people own their homes. Only in London has the rate of new homes fallen, with increases being seen elsewhere, such as in Manchester, with an increase of 12%.
She also talked about how new homes post Brexit will strive to be global leadership in housing, using technology hubs, engineering and architecture to lead the way, “supported by the government to support our British public”.
On the day of the conference, the government announced that they would be introducing financial support to local authorities in order to crack down on illegal buildings, as well as investing in zero carbon homes and single occupancy homes (maybe with shared facilities), but at a lower cost than today’s market by using modularisation and technologies.
Following this, there was a presentation from Hannah Blythn, the Deputy Minister for housing in Wales, who stated that the Climate emergency is the biggest factor we need to solve today. Housing must respond, and the longer we leave it, the worse it will become and the more costly it will be to resolve. Technologies and behaviour are key factors in resolving the challenges we all face, on behalf of the younger and future generations who’s fault this is not!
Kevin McCloud, Broadcaster and Author, claimed that many buildings just need remodelling instead of knocking down. He feels that we need to respect our buildings by upgrading and reusing them, as successful models have shown. To him, space is not just size, it’s about connection and emotional experience. So a room does not have to be big to provide a sense of space and that sequencing of a space can be done at any size. He used the examples of self builds in Bicester which show value and innovation, which could ultimately be the idea of future affordable homes. These ideas don’t just apply to self-builders either, as the construction industry has one of the highest percentages of SMEs, and these ideas provide the opportunity to become more resilient in the delivery of housing in the UK. Kevin also talked about the issues of quality to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality homes, and how a consortium of SMEs could be the way forward. His final discussion point was that it is widely recognised that the quality of social housing is often of a better standard and quality than that of open market housing, and that this needs to be resolved in order to deliver quality and sustainable housing.
A session was presented by Homes England, who talked about their new mandate to get more homes built in the next five-years. They went on to discuss how the technology approach in Japan in the new build housing sector is advanced in comparison to the UK market and is seen as an opportunity to learn and realise the benefit of R&D, tech and sustainability in the industry.
With the support of Homes England, more, a platform has been created to enable the rise of modularisation. The UK is currently delivering the largest modular building programme in Europe, which, when started, was the largest in the world! With suppliers looking keenly to build factories in the UK, it’s only a matter of time until modulisation is a part of every development, with all indicators suggesting that volume modular construction is here to stay.
Homes England stated that whilst the market may appear to be stabilising, there are plenty of funding and investment opportunities in London, providing developers remain flexible and reactive to market situations and requirements. While international investment is helping to stabilise the market as opposed to seeing it drop, recent months have seen a lot of domestic investments supported by NHBC, leading to an increase of 23% take up in London.
PDSI works actively in BIM and modular construction and supports clients, designers and contractors through project management, construction planning and cost management.
Images copyright RESI Convention