SME developer pulls out of 200-home scheme following Gove’s intervention

Midland’s housebuilder A C Lloyd has withdrawn its application to build 200 homes on agricultural land in Warwickshire despite having secured outline planning permission. The move follows levelling up and housing secretary Michael Gove’s decision to call in the developer’s reserved matters application on design grounds. The housebuilding industry views Mr Gove’s increasingly interventionist approach over how a scheme looks as a worrying trend. National Federation of Builders, NFB, housing and policy head Rico Wojtulewicz said: “If it’s so important [...]

Green belt housebuilding embargo will go if Labour is elected

Small housebuilders must be given a slice of the action if Labour follows its promise to build on green belt to meet housing needs, urges the Federation of Master Builders, FMB. The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has announced that if his party wins the next election, it will bring back local authority housing targets and back ‘builders not blockers’. “We've got to drive housebuilding at pace. We need to put local areas in charge of that so change the [...]

April’s house price rise offers glimmer of hope

House prices were up by half a per cent in April after seven months of consecutive falls, according to the latest figures from Nationwide building society. The average UK house cost £260,411 compared with £257,122 in March, although year-on-year growth for April remained negative at minus 2.7 per cent. Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said: “In recent months industry data on mortgage applications point to signs of a pickup. “If inflation falls sharply in the second half of the year, [...]

Construction needs an image makeover to attract more recruits

Nearly a quarter of a million extra people are needed in construction by 2027 but outdated perceptions mean it is often overlooked as a career, according to a new report. The Chartered Institute of Building, CIOB’s The Real Face of Construction survey showed 57 per cent of respondents perceived average annual earnings to be lower than the true figure of £36,000. CIOB chief executive Caroline Gumble said: “Our survey shows there are big misconceptions around earning potential, job prospects and [...]

Optimism over future home sales, despite current weak demand

Surveyors predict a positive net balance of housing sales of plus one per cent over the next 12 months, according to March’s residential market survey. This is the first time this measure has been out of negative territory since March 2022, but it is set against a current backdrop of weak demand. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Significantly, there is a sense that the medium-term outlook is looking a little more settled, helped by the [...]

UK set to open doors to foreign bricklayers and carpenters

Bricklayers, masons, plasterers, carpenters, and roofers are among a raft of trades the construction industry hopes will become easier to recruit from abroad to ease chronic shortages. On the eve of the spring budget the Construction Leadership Council, CLC has published a report calling for 20 different trades to be added to the migration advisory committee’s occupation, MAC, shortage list. CLC industry-side chair and group chairman of MACE Mark Reynolds said: “A dynamic immigration system allows us to bridge gaps [...]

A southwest council’s net zero decision will hamper housing supply

Housebuilders have branded Bath and North East Somerset council’s decision to ask for all new homes to be net zero as ‘unaffordable’ and ‘undeliverable’ at scale. They argue the council’s decision cuts across work between industry and the government for all homes to be ‘zero carbon ready’ under future homes standards to go live by 2025. A home is ‘zero carbon ready’ when it can rely on heat pumps and solar panels rather than gas boilers and has an efficient [...]

New green designs for Scottish homes could hamper delivery

Scottish housebuilders claim new design standards based on the German Passivhaus system will hamper meeting the country’s housing needs. Homes for Scotland has said the country has a 100,000 shortfall of new homes accumulated since 2007 and that the government should have prioritised retrofitting existing ones. Public affairs director Jennifer Kennedy said: “New homes are only a small proportion of the overall housing stock and are already highly-energy efficient with further improvements to come through building standards.” She added: “If [...]

European testing regime wins reprieve to avert supply chain crisis

The construction supply industry has won a major victory with the 30-month extension of the CE mark for building products. The government had planned to scrap the European system by the end of the year in favour of its own regime, the UKCA mark, which goes live in January 2023. However, the lack of UK testing labs would have meant a massive delay in products gaining approval. Earlier this week the department of levelling up and housing agreed with business [...]

More SME builders at risk of folding if forced to pay to clean up England’s rivers

Housebuilders have hit out at plans to buy ‘nutrient credits’ for building on protected wildlife sites where pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus have leached into rivers. They claim many smaller developers will go out of business when the new nutrient mitigation scheme goes live early next year. National Federation of Builders, NFB, housing and planning head Rico Wojtulewicz said: “It’s farcical. We are paying for someone else’s mistake.” The building industry claims intensive farming is the real culprit with [...]

Lenders press for stamp duty discount to reward green homeowners

Banks have warned that without financial incentives such as a stamp duty refund to incentivise people to adopt green retrofits the government won’t meet its 2050 net-zero target. Trade body UK Finance has published a report calling for a national body to deliver retrofitting, grants to upskill tradespeople and improved energy performance certificates. UK Finance chief executive Clive Postings said: “Climate change is upon us and the challenges we face in the 21st century are literally existential. We are no [...]

West Midlands reveals grand investment hub designs

Nearly 19,000 new homes and more than 65,000 jobs could be created in the West Midlands if its application for a package of investment zones is successful. The region submitted its bid yesterday, October 18, to ministers who have already held discussions with Tees Valley and Liverpool City Region about becoming zones. West Midlands combined authority chair and mayor Andy Street said: “We know that investment zones can accelerate the delivery of tangible outcomes for local residents – including boosting [...]