Oct 17, 2016

Unlocking construction capacity will deliver on Theresa May’s new homes plans

At the beginning of the month, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, pledged to “repair the housing market” and help deliver more new homes. This blog explores how offsite construction can help…

The Government has agreed that there’s an honest truth we need to address: the UK, quite simply, needs to build more houses. In order to help achieve this, the Government is encouraging housebuilders to turn to new technologies and systems to ensure homes are built faster and in greater numbers.

Measures announced last week by the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, also addressed the need to accelerate the supply of new homes, with the launch of the £3 billion Home Builders Fund. Likewise, an “Accelerated Construction” programme was introduced to encourage developers with different models in housebuilding to put their innovations into action.

But amid all these initiatives, there is an answer for housebuilders looking to match the Government’s targets and increase the supply of homes to meet demand: build using offsite construction and timber systems.

A fundamental part of delivering new homes quickly is to ensure capacity is not restricted. Guaranteeing manufacturing capacity begins with a strong and sustainable supply chain.

For 30 years, Stewart Milne Timber Systems’ supply chain has ensured longevity and continuity of supply. We buy all of our structural timber directly from mill owners; with ten mills in our supply chain, we have the capacity to source enough timber for 500,000 houses per year – double the Government’s initial target. It is strong and sustainable supply chains like these that ensure there are no capacity constraints, before factory production capabilities are even considered.

At our Witney and Aberdeen facilities, we have the capacity to manufacture the timber systems for 10,000 homes per year, or 28 homes per day, and we can increase our capacity to accommodate larger projects and shorter lead times to meet client requirements. Using modern factory processes and robust ISO procedures, we precision-engineer our timber systems for a quality-assured, cost-effective build. The factory-controlled process, and on-site erection of timber systems, means projects can progress quickly with speed of build a real benefit compared to other build methods.

Manufacturing offsite also means ten blocks of terraced houses can be erected five weeks earlier than if building with other build options; and the full timber system for a house can be built in just 120 minutes.

The housebuilding industry is at a crucial point, with important decisions to be made by housebuilders and a number of challenges to contend with – not least the current shortages in skills and brick and block. But an easy choice to make should be the adoption of timber systems and offsite construction methods. Combined, they can be the perfect solution for housebuilders as political momentum gathers behind the objective of delivering new homes for Britain.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Timber Research and Development Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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