Industry Intel

August: Property industry news headline round-up

Tina Ledger

Graphic Designer

Jul 22, 2022

The UK construction industry has had several important events happen in the previous two weeks. The impact of the Covid-19 lockdown has been seen, with the sector shrinking a huge amount.

Government spending has been announced to help allay this, and the ease of lockdown rules has meant that building has started again in many places. However, there is still a long way to go to reach the same position we were in in February.

The Government has also announced changes to the way in which building planning takes place, with the aim of making it more accessible to small businesses by reducing delays.

The prospect of a no-deal Brexit is still looming; the Construction Leadership council has been put into action to make sure that the impact to the industry is minimal, and that rules are established and clarified.

The eviction ban has also been extended by four weeks, and the Government is proposing plans to protect tenants from eviction during the coming winter months.

Construction Leadership Council creates Dedicated Brexit Group

In preparation for Brexit, the Construction Leadership Council has composed a dedicated Brexit group, with the aim of being able to disseminate business guidance and information ahead of the transition period.

The group’s aim is to identify key areas which may affect the construction industry in the event of a no-deal Brexit before the event potentially occurs and offer preparatory advice.

The group will be split into four workstreams and will cover Movement of People, Movement of Goods and Materials, Standards and Alignment, and Data Adequacy.

Movement of People will be concerned with preparing for new rules on immigration, accessing the supply of labour and agreements on skills and qualification. Movement of Goods and Materials will seek to prepare for new customs rules, World Trade Organization rules in the case of a no-deal, and alternative supply opportunities.

Standards and Alignment will provide guidance on Construction Products Regulation, EU notified bodies, CE marking, UK designated standards, UKCA marking and long-term prospects of (de)harmonisation and (de)alignment. Data Adequacy will be dedicated to business awareness of the potential ramifications affecting data flow of a no-deal Brexit coupled with no decision by the European Commission on the UK’s ‘data adequacy’.

Read more here.

Government Set to Overhaul ‘Outdated’ Planning System

Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, has announced changes to the UK’s planning system, in which more building will be allowed on brownfield land. New homes are set to be built quicker by speeding up the approval of planning process, which should allow the plans to be agreed upon in 30 months, rather than the existing average of seven years.

This is to be done by changing to a “clearer, rules-based” system to alleviate the fact that many projects have to be appealed, with one third passing their appeal. They are also set to introduce a national levy to replace the current system of developed contributions, which is often a time-consuming process.

Appeals and the associated delays are thought to be culpable for the lack of small building firms involved in construction of new-build home, which is down from 40% thirty years ago to 12% today. The new regulations are designed to improve this; this should also be supported by the fact that the exemption from ‘Section 106’ payments for small developers has been extended.

The Government has committed to building 300,000 new homes, and proposed the First Homes scheme, which will enable people to buy new houses at 30% less than the market value.

Read more here.

Help to Buy Scheme Extended

The Government has announced that the deadline for the existing Help to Buy scheme has been extended. This previously meant that houses would have had to be finished in December, but has now been pushed forward to February 2021. This will subsequently be replaced by a new scheme, which will introduce price caps and be restricted to first time buyers.

Read more here.

Housing Construction Output Is Still Down Across the UK

Despite an increase in construction by 23.5% in June, the overall construction output of the UK is still lower than in February by 24.8%, with the lowest value on new orders since record keeping began in 1964.

Private construction in June was 52.6% lower than in the previous year, but did climb by 42% to £1.83 billion compared to the previous month. The value of public sector construction work also plummeted 56.9%, but experienced a resurgence of 39% in June.

The repairs and maintenance sector has risen since the start of May, but is still down 51.5% compared to last year. The repairs and maintenance sector has also risen 21.5% since May, but unfortunately is still at 42.4% less capacity than the same time last year.

Read more here.

Government to Invest £1.3 Billion to Deliver Homes, Infrastructure and Jobs

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed a huge £1.3 billion investment in new home development and other important infrastructure developments. Three hundred projects will receive part of the £900 million Getting Building Fund, which is expected to deliver 45,000 new homes, create 85,000 jobs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 65 million kilos.

Projects included in initiative are the £23 million development of commercial space at Mayfield Park in Greater Manchester, £14.88 million to support sustainable constriction through the National Brownfield Land institute, and £12 million to support a high-speed railway station in Kent.

The Government has also announced a £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme, which will see them fund up to 66% of the cost of home improvements of over 600,000 homes. This can include insulating walls, floors, and roofs, and installing low-carbon hearting. To take part in the scheme, tradespeople must register for TrustMark accreditation.

Read more here.

Government has Extended Eviction Ban

The Government has extended the ban on evictions by four weeks, taking the total of the ban to six months. The Government has also announced plans to give tenants greater protection from eviction in the winter months by requiring landlords to give 6 months’ notice, excluding eviction for antisocial behaviour.

Throughout the pandemic, 87% of tenants have paid their rent as normal, with 8% receiving a reduced rate. The Government has announced £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments with local authorities to support renters in both the private and social sector.

Read more here.

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Graphic Designer

Tina Ledger

Being such a people person makes Tina exceptionally good at her job. She not only can relate to most people in one way or another, but she also genuinely enjoys hearing about other people’s experiences. Couple that with her resilience and ability to flourish under pressure, and you’ve got yourself a cracking recruiter.

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