No Place Like Home – Tackling the UK’s Housing Shortage

Added: 16/09/16 Author: Mark Tomlin

It should come as no surprise that the UK is experiencing a housing shortage, and even though targets have been put in place to build 1 million homes by 2020, housing charity Shelter has warned that if construction continues at its current rate this target will be missed by 250,000.

It’s even less encouraging that Theresa May recognised this in her initial statement on becoming Prime Minister, saying that currently “If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever to buy your own home”, a thought that is backed by data provided in a report released by think-tank Resolution Foundation in August, which found that home ownership in England had fallen to its lowest level in 30 years.

Despite this, it’s clear that the British public still see their home as their castle, with 57% of private renters saying in 2014-15 that they expect to buy property at some point (according to the English Housing Survey First Time Buyers and Potential Home Owners Report, 2014-15).

There’s no single answer to overcoming this issue, with not only the Government but major players in the construction industry needing to put a strategy in place, and stick to it.

If we’re really going to build enough homes to meet demand then we need to work more efficiently than ever before, making best use of the available resources at the right stage.

Fortunately, new technologies and new ways of working are seeing more widespread adoption throughout the industry, providing us with a variety of ways of tackling the shortfall.

After a few misfires, BIM is now becoming the standard, rather than the exception, bringing efficiency improvements to a variety of builds, while also preventing the wastage of excess materials.

Offsite construction can also bring benefits to nearly any project. Taking an intelligent approach can see offsite-manufactured elements being used to suit the build, whether it’s an entire roof and loft conversion, bathroom or even just a utility cupboard.

Some developers are even creating moveable units, which can temporarily meet housing demand while long-term homes are constructed, before being transported to the next area where they’re needed.

As well as looking to these new methods, we also need to make best use of the resources that we already have, using specialist workers in the best way possible to maximise quality while also completing work more quickly, rather than having all hands to the pump in an effort to throw together as many low-quality homes as we can.

All too often, we see news about problems, rather than solutions, but by working together and using the tools at our disposal, we can ensure that housing will be available for everyone that needs it, and that must be worthy of a few headlines.