The Construction Sector And House Building
We’ve mentioned in previous posts how house building is contributing to the growth of the construction sector. It seems to be becoming a bigger part of the industry – growing whilst other areas stagnate.
It’s partly due to the Government’s targets on house building from last year’s Budget. In 2017, they announced the new target was to build 300,000 homes a year to help with the housing crisis. They also said they would help fund this.
However, it’s possible there’s a bit of a crisis in the house building sector itself as it tries to keep up with this new demand. Last year’s house building figure stands at 217,000 new homes – the first time in many years it’s been that high. Although this is good, it’s still a long way short of this year’s target.
There’s information from various sources about this – here’s some of it.
An article by Property Wire talks about a recent report by the House Of Lords Science And Technology Committee which suggests that the only way to improve the productivity of the sector and increase the number of houses built annually in the UK is to utilise off-site manufacture (OSM). However, the article also points out there are some problems with this – like the overall structure of the construction industry.
As well as this, UK Construction Media has written an article suggesting that the skills shortage is playing it’s part. Although there might currently be enough workers to cope with demand, the increase in targets will only make the skills shortage more obvious and the sector more in need of extra workers. It also suggests the idea of creating more varied housing on new estates – which would mean more houses from an estate could be put on the market at a time without lowering prices. The result of this might be that houses could be built faster as there’s no need to put them on the market over such a long time to keep prices high.
The one thing these articles have in common is they seem to suggest the house building sector needs addressing. It needs to be able to deal with the increase in demand which has come from the new Government targets.
To address the issues in the house building sector – and across the wider construction industry – the Government has recently announced a Construction Sector Deal. This covers a wide range of areas and the £420 million investment is designed to boost the construction sector over the coming years – in a variety of ways.
All in all, there is a mix of facts about the house building sector. One the one hand, there are some good points in that the sector is obviously doing well – it has to be to build so many houses last year. But the large increase in demand recently has led to the appearance of some issues with the sector which seems to be slowing down the building of new homes. It also appears that there isn’t one specific easy way to fix the issues with this either.
The main problem seems to be an overall lack of productivity. However, since the release of the Government’s Construction Sector Deal, it’s obvious that this problem – along with any other issues in the sector – is starting to be looked into.
The house building sector is facing challenges, but mainly because of the amount of work involved to meet Government targets. Which is much better than a sector struggling simply because there isn’t enough work about. As a result, even with it’s difficulties, the house building sector is still looking promising. This then impacts on the construction sector – it’s becoming stronger as a whole because of the demand for new housing.
Although there are problems in the house building sector, there is interest in increasing it’s productivity and utilising it’s potential.
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The Government Construction Sector Deal is available to read in more detail here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/construction-sector-deal/construction-sector-deal .