BSA promotes offsite housing construction in new report

Bricks building housing construction

The Building Society Association has said that utilising offsite construction to build homes is the one solution to the UK’s housing crisis.

In it’s ‘Laying the foundations for Modern Methods of Construction’ report launched today at the BSA lunch, the association says that this building method offers a way of providing well designed, high quality, affordable homes at a faster rate than is currently possible.

The report’s ten recommendations include:

  • Government has the chance to nurture this small but growing industry by leading the way on its own developments, such as Northstowe near Cambridge; and act as the catalyst to bring the housing industry together to allow innovative building technologies to reach critical mass.
  • The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors should produce guidance for its members through its Valuation Professional Standards. This specifies the standard approach that valuers should take when providing a valuation for mortgage purposes.
  • To help valuers and lenders understand the multiple different systems of MMC available, terminology and systems should be standardised and more information provided through an online hub.
  • A programme is needed to improve the image of these modern properties:  Robust, visually impressive and cheaper to run than their traditionally built counterparts – today’s offsite offerings are a world apart from the flimsy prefabs of post-war Britain.

BSA chairman Dick Jenkins says: “We have to explore radical solutions to solve the housing crisis.  To get there we rely on Government to lead the way and break the cycle in relation to new construction technologies.  At present supply is so low that lenders can’t routinely lend on these properties because they don’t fully understand the risks, and builders won’t build more of this type of home because mortgage lending is in limited supply as is home insurance.  For the sake of consumers, these types of building technology must become as conventional and mainstream as brick and block has been for the past 100 years.  If we do it could be a game-changer.”

All party parliamentary group on self-Build, custom and community housebuilding and placemaking chairman Richard Bacon MP says:Although there are numerous Government schemes to help First-Time Buyers buying their first property, we have not cracked the problem surrounding housing in the UK – it spreads across all tenures. If we are to produce enough houses, we need big changes.

“The introduction of off-site construction using the latest technology – known as Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) – will make a big difference. This area has seen huge changes in recent years. Bespoke houses which cost almost nothing to heat and that are made-to-measure for each customer, configured on a laptop and then delivered within weeks – erected on serviced plots with the broadband, water, electricity and gas already in place – are a reality now, but not yet at scale.

“Buyer demand is already growing and will grow further as MMC becomes a conventional choice, adding an effective additional measure to tackle the Housing crisis.”