Comment: Housing white paper
Reaction to the Housing white paper set out by Sajid Javid MP on 7th February 2017.
Taylor Lane spokesperson: Barrie Lane, joint managing director.
“We are pleased with the statement set out by Sajid Javid MP but whether it is as ‘bold and radical’ as he claims is still up for debate. The support for alternative methods of construction, such as ‘off-site factory builds’ however, is very welcome.
“The off-site industry in the UK is already here and happening, and I hope that the Government look to us before turning to imported off-site manufactured components. Currently the UK’s timber frame industry produces around 40,000 dwellings per year. As a company, we could accelerate our growth plan to increase production by another 45%, and others can too. The infrastructure is in place, it’s a case of turning the tap on. The industry has the capacity to cope with additional demand.
“But I still have a few concerns. To my mind the main issues are a shortage of skilled trade and raw materials.
“We can manufacture timber frame houses but it doesn’t mean that the skills are there to erect them. This needs to be addressed. We must also consider other trades. Yes, we can deliver and build a house in less than a week but is there a supply of scaffold for instance; are the groundworks complete? And what about roofers; we can’t roof it in a factory. The trades need to be available and we know from experience that they’re just not out there anymore.
“We also know that UK transport, logistics and infrastructure is strained so what about getting these off-site builds to site? At its most basic level, have we got enough vehicles and qualified drivers? Increasing production could mean another 100-200,000 deliveries on the road each year.
While I am pleased that our industry has received well-deserved recognition, off-site construction can’t solve the problem alone. The housing crisis won’t disappear with the wave of a magic wand, or in this case, a white paper. There needs to be substance behind these headlines.”