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RCI January 2018

Zink INDUSTRY NEWS 01992 801927 www.almhm.co.uk The New London Plan, announced by mayor Sadiq Khan on November 29, is said to take a realistic approach to development and supports high-quality design as a method of building the communities of tomorrow. A focus on small sites, mixed-use opportunities, public land, the edge of communities, making best use of infrastructure and SMEs shows the mayor has given development in the capital much thought, according to the House Builder Association The Consumer Code for New Homes (CCNH) celebrated its formal approval by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s (CTSI) Consumer Code Approval Scheme at Westminster last week. CCNH is the only CTSI Approved Code in the new-build sector which is backed by an industry collective of warranty bodies. The launch was attended by highprofile speakers including: Maria Miller MP, Paul Nash, past president of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Barbara Hughes from CTSI, Andrew Saunders-Davies from Berkeley Group and one of the Code founders, Clare Thomas of Q Assure Build, along with representatives from the housebuilding industry that included the HomeOwners Alliance. Leon Livermore, chief executive at (HBA). The mayor has also committed to delivering the Construction Academy Scheme, but the HBA says he is honest about the need to make sure construction projects also retain staff. For SME housebuilders, whose business model is predicated on reputation and high-quality workmanship, the London Plan will reportedly help deliver a greater number of opportunities, as long as local authorities remain committed to implementing the changes. SMEs the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “There’s no doubt that buying a new home is one of the most challenging purchases you can make, with unexpected difficulties along the way. Even the most seasoned consumer can be left vulnerable and unaware of their rights. We’re pleased to welcome Consumer Codes for New Homes to our approved code sponsor scheme.” The Consumer Code for New Homes has been created to maximise benefits to consumers and to ensure best practice in the marketing, selling and purchasing of new homes. It aims to provide a genuine commitment to improving standards of construction and raising customer service standards in the new-build homes market, 010 JANUARY 2018 RCIMAG.COM have been delivering this London Plan for many years and in many ways, policy is now catching up. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “Despite the majority of homes in London being delivered by the largest developers, some of our members consistently win design and delivery awards. As local employers, SMEs don’t just train local people, they retain them too. We are therefore delighted to see the London Plan recognising that part of that commitment is providing consumers with a voice (and a clear complaints process) when things don’t go according to plan when buying a new home. Paula Higgins, CEO from HomeOwners Alliance, said: “We have more houses being built than ever before, and as government encourages people to buy, quality issues are a major concern. At HomeOwners Alliance we have been calling for greater protection for consumers buying a new-build property. Consumers find it difficult to know where to go when they have problems and their developers have turned a blind eye in the past. I’m pleased to see protection for new-build buyers being brought under the spotlight by the CCNH and I’m certain they will continue to promote a united approach across the industry to encourage the housebuilding industry to raise its game.” Consumer code for new homes celebrates approval by CTSI accurately describe a vision that SMEs already deliver.” Rico Wojtulewicz, senior policy advisor for the House Builder Association (HBA), added: “However, as we have seen with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), good intention isn’t necessarily delivered through the planning process and so we implore the mayor to do all he can to explain his vision to London’s planners, councillors, communities and businesses. It would be a real tragedy if his ambition was stifled by a lack of buy-in.” “London Plan is encouraging for SME housebuilders,” says NFB The National Federation of Builders (NFB) held its sixth annual conference on Wednesday, November 22, in London. The conference, entitled ‘Making a success of UK construction’, took place at the County Hall in Westminster, London. Hosted by broadcaster and journalist Cathy Newman for the fourth consecutive year, the successful event brought together leading industry and Government figures to address some of the key issues in the sector. Dominic Williams, Communities and Local Government unit portfolio holder of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), opened this year’s conference, highlighting the important role that SMEs play in the economy, especially within regional communities. At the heart of the challenge facing the construction industry is the need to attract new workers and improve training and skills. The industry is set to lose around 400,000 workers through natural attrition and retirement. Former MP Neil Carmichael addressed the need to reform and spearhead technical education in order to tackle the UK’s skills shortage. He said: “We need to create a real centre of growth in regional cities and young people need to know what the work opportunities are within the industry. This requires businesses of all types to work with colleges and schools. It is essential to broaden the school curriculum.” There are a number of key reasons why the UK is currently facing a skills shortage in the construction industry. The shortage has been a factor in increasing wages, which has had further impact on important infrastructure work, including the efforts to build more homes. Jemma Bridgeman, Wales manager of Construction Youth Trust, councillor Nicola Beech, cabinet member for Spatial Planning and City Design for Bristol City Council, and Kathleen Henehan, research and policy analyst from Resolution Foundation, focused on how construction can deliver the skills needed for a successful industrial strategy. Although the UK needs to build 300,000 homes each year, the Government needs to commit to simplifying the planning process and harness the intrinsic value of SMEs in tackling the housing crisis. The housing panellists agreed that underfunding of planning authorities is a major barrier to increasing supply. In the budget, Philip Hammond announced more support for SMEs as he vowed to increase the current Homebuilding Fund. Asher Craig, deputy mayor for communities, Bristol City Council stated that: “SMEs have an important part to play in keeping Britain building.” With the uncertainty of Brexit’s impact on the future of UK construction, the Brexit panellists provided balanced and practical guidance to inform and prepare businesses for the changes ahead. NFB annual conference 2017: SME success for UK construction Five warranty bodies have come together to form The Consumer Code for New Homes Copper Stainless


RCI January 2018
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