Mark Farmer responds to Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on the capacity of the housebuilding industry in the UK

Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast and the author of a government-commissioned review into the construction industry, said:

“This report from the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on the capacity of the homebuilding industry has clearly ratified the fact that the industry faces some huge challenges in order to meet this country’s increased need for more homes. The conclusions confirm, as has the recent White Paper, that the housing market is broken, and to fix it we need a robust, innovative and productive construction industry. The report sets out clear recommendations on how we can improve the capacity of the homebuilding industry which must be prioritised by the new government that will be decided on June 8th.

 “What is noteworthy in the recommendations is clear Select Committee recognition that we need more diversity in the market, both in terms of tenure and the delivery models employed and this must only be a good thing in terms of the need for some policy stability beyond 8th June. There is explicit support for the role in increased delivery of housing associations, the institutional build to rent sector and the application of modern construction techniques alongside a fit for purpose skills and training regime that is aligned with industry needs. I particularly welcome the endorsement and indeed increased urgency given to the current government’s intention to actively intervene in the market to promote construction innovation and develop capacity in the emerging pre-manufacturing sector. In this regard, the recommendations include a request for specific progress reports on the Accelerated Construction Programme and also urge government to back a single quality assurance scheme for offsite construction which makes it easier to fund and supports mainstream acceptability. Interestingly the Select Committee also highlight the need for the construction industry’s reliance on migrant labour to be recognised in the upcoming Brexit negotiations in order to make sure that the deal Britain gets doesn’t worsen the trends already found in the industry.

 “If the recommendations set out in this document aren’t acted upon, homebuilding and the construction industry in the UK will continue to deteriorate, impacting economic growth at a time when we need a solid platform for domestic industrial performance. The findings only reiterate my previous challenge to both government and the construction industry to modernise the home building policy framework and the basic delivery approaches used.”