From the planning of a new carbon-neutral transport network in Greater Manchester to increased funding to combat homelessness, there have been many positive developments and changes within the housing and construction sector throughout November.
However, there has also been some negative news, especially regarding material costs for housing construction. Additionally, delays on thousands of homes being built could occur due to new testing standards within the next few years. The labour shortage also continues.
Keep reading our latest newsletter to discover everything that has happened in the housing world this month.
Councils Piloting New Ways of Working
Thirteen councils are going to pilot different ways of working to target issues in local areas. The Partnerships for People and Place programme aims to tackle employment, health, poverty, and crime and test if new ways of working between local and central government will benefit communities.
The programme aims to empower local communities to change the lives of the people who need it. Councils will be awarded between £150,000 and £350,000 and receive specialist support over two years to tackle the challenges in their areas.
Councils participating in this scheme include Birmingham City Council, Liverpool City Council, Newcastle City Council, and the London Borough of Hackney.
To read more about this scheme, click here.
Carbon Neutral Transport Network Planned in Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester has revealed plans to develop a carbon-neutral transport network with the introduction of electric transport. By 2027, 50% of their bus fleet will be electric. This will increase to 100% within a decade, reducing carbon emissions by 1.1m tonnes.
The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has stated that the benefits of a carbon-neutral transport network include:
- Improving air quality
- Boosting health
- Creating better places to live
The Manchester tram network Metrolink already runs on 100% renewable energy, and carbon-neutral cycle hire bikes are being released later this month.
For more information about the carbon-neutral transport network, click here.
Smartest City in the UK Named As Newcastle
Newcastle has been named the smartest city in the UK by the Smart City global index. Interviewing an average of 120 inhabitants from each city, the index ranks cities based on how technology improves the lives of the residents. Other cities that ranked highly include London, Manchester, Leeds, and Glasgow.
However, Singapore was ranked the smartest city on a global scale, followed by Zurich and Oslo.
For more information, click here.
Brexit Could Delay Thousands of Homes
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has called for an urgent meeting with business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng as concerns build over the potential delay of 150,000 homes.
This delay, which results from the testing of thousands of products under the new UK Conformity Assessed mark, will come into effect on 1 January 2023. For the construction sector, this means that numerous products will need to be retested, costing up to £50,000 per item.
At present, these tests are conducted in Europe. However, the new system calls for tests to be completed in the UK, where there are limited or no facilities for examining products such as glass, sealants, and radiators.
The UK Conformity Assessed mark was due to be rolled out in 2022. This was delayed for a year due to the chaos it could have caused within the industry. Andy Mitchell, Chair of the CLC, has warned that the expansion of UK testing is not happening fast enough, and the extension of the deadline will not prevent disruption.
For more information about the potential delay, click here.
New Head of Architecture Appointed
Sarah Allan has recently been appointed as the new head of architecture at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC), formerly known as the Ministry of Housing. Replacing Andy von Bradsky, who spent two years in the role, Allan will work under Michael Gove.
Former managing director of Solidspace, a small site developer, Allan has spent eight years as the head of urban design and homes at Cabe. In addition, Allan has worked for the East Hampshire District Council where she led the construction and design of Whitehill & Bordon, an eco-town project.
Having worked in the public and private sectors, Allan brings twenty-five years of experience as an architect to her new role.
Speaking about her appointment, Allan said: “Having worked for 25 years as an architect, urban designer and project manager in both the public and private sectors, I look forward to using my experience to support the work across central government to deliver beautiful homes and places that are fit for the future.”
For more information, click here.
£1.2bn Fire Safety Framework To Be Set Up in Notting Hill
A four-year deal has been greenlit for Notting Hill Genesis to put a fire safety framework in place. Bidding for the lots is due to start in January, and the framework will begin construction in October 2022.
Formed in 2018 after a merger between Notting Hill Housing and Genesis Housing Association, Notting Hill Genesis currently manages 66,000 homes. It has asked residents to identify other services which could be added to the programme.
The fire safety framework comes as a bid to improve the safety of Notting Hill Genesis’ buildings. Last year, residents evacuated a seventeen-storey development in Brentford after investigators found structural and fire safety issues.
For more information about Notting Hill Genesis, click here.
Government To Support New Homes and Improve Infrastructure Through Loan Funding
The government is set to provide £624m loan financing for housebuilders to facilitate the building of 116,000 new homes across England. The funding will help improve transport, increase the amount of land available for housing, and build schools, primarily focusing on transforming brownfield land into new communities.
Part of a £2.2bn loan made available at the 2020 Spending Review, this new funding meets the government’s manifesto commitment to providing £10bn in housing funds. It will potentially build up to one million homes.
Furthermore, a more recent Spending Review has released another £1.8bn for the development and regeneration of brownfield sites.
For more information about this loan, click here.
£66m Pledged by Government To Help Rough Sleepers
The government is providing additional funding to provide accommodation for the homeless over the winter as part of the push to end homelessness and rough sleeping by 2024. The money will also be used to provide counselling and rehabilitation for those suffering from substance abuse disorders.
Other government incentives to end homelessness include the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant, which provides specialist support for rough sleepers and at-risk people, as well as the Everyone In initiative, which supported 37,000 people in finding long-term housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further funding is also available for rough sleepers from the Winter Pressures grant, which councils can bid for if they need extra support.
For more information, click here.
Smoke Alarms Required in All Social Homes
New government regulations have been introduced that require all rented accommodation to have smoke alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms will additionally be necessary for properties with gas boilers or fires.
Landlords and housing providers will also need to repair or replace faulty smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The cost of these requirements will be the property owner’s responsibility and come as part of the commitments published in the Social Housing White Paper in 2021.
The Paper aims to drive up standards in the social housing sector and provide regulators with stronger powers to enforce action.
For more information about these requirements, click here.
Significant Decline in Food Hygiene Standards
Many businesses are letting their food hygiene standards slip, according to reports from local councils. The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme that ranks the cleanliness of food business operators is consistently giving out lower scores as businesses are reportedly not taking responsibility for maintenance, paperwork, or hygiene.
Those responsible for inspecting premises have reported a significant increase in establishments needing follow-up and enforcement visits. Many staff members are also trying to catch up with a backlog of cases caused by the pandemic.
Natasha’s Law has also been introduced recently, which requires food businesses to list the ingredients and allergens on prepackaged food. This law was introduced in October after the death of teenager Natasha Adnan-Laperouse, who died after suffering an allergic reaction from an allergen that was unlisted in a prepackaged meal. This puts another burden on those working to enforce these rules and laws.
However, action is being taken against those businesses that do not meet Food Hygiene Rating Scheme standards, and environmental health professionals will work with businesses to secure the necessary improvements.
For more information about the potential decline in food hygiene standards, click here.
Price of Construction Materials Reaches a 40-Year High
The price of construction materials continues to rise across the UK and has recently reached an estimated forty-year high. This price hike comes from a combination of factors, including labour shortages, logistic issues from the pandemic and Brexit, and considerable shipping delays.
Although the construction sector recovered from the effects of the pandemic, demand has changed as an increasing number of people work from home and reassess their housing needs. Large government-issues projects and infrastructure projects such as HS2 have also helped to rejuvenate construction.
However, the soaring price of costs may impact the industry negatively. British Steel has recently added a £30 surcharge per tonne of structural steel to combat rising energy costs, and timber has shown a 79.4% annual increase. The cost increases may last until the end of 2022, and labour shortages are expected to continue impacting the industry.
For more information, click here.
First Chief Road Safety Adviser Appointed by National Highways
Professor Nick Reed has been appointed as the first chief road safety adviser by National Highways. He will work with the board to achieve zero harm on motorways and major A-roads by 2040.
Former Head of Mobility R&D at Bosch, Professor Reed holds a visiting professorship at the University of Surrey. In response to his appointment, he stated, “this is an exciting opportunity to work with industry, academia and innovators to support and challenge National Highways in delivering on its ambitious zero harm agenda.”
For more information about this appointment, click here.
Jane joined Oyster Partnership in November 2017 as a receptionist. She started showing her artistic flair and enthusiasm for all things marketing soon after joining the business. Since then she has worked hard and built her way up from being a receptionist to running the marketing department at Oyster Partnership.
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