September 1, 2017

Demand for more housebuilding should not be at expense of quality – LGA warns

News Article

A renaissance in quality housebuilding is urgently needed to keep pace with demand, according to a new report by the Local Government Housing Association (LGA).

The analysis by the LGA, which represents 415 local authorities, also led to a stark warning that if housebuilding does not significantly increase, every residential property currently in existence would need to last for 2,000 years in order to house the country’s population.

The Government has already acknowledged that more than 250,000 homes need to be built each year in order to satisfy demand.

The LGA also found concerns over the quality of new builds, with one in ten homeowners reporting that they were unhappy with the quality of their property’s construction, leading to one in six saying they would not to recommend the developer to a friend.

According to the research this ‘may reflect a combination of some housebuilders growing faster than their quality-control systems can handle and competition in the development land market forcing firms to reduce quality to win bids.’

The LGA’s housing spokeswoman, Judith Blake, said: “Our country’s failure to build enough homes over the past few decades is putting huge pressure on our existing housing stock.

“Councils need to be able to ensure quality through the planning system, and to encourage high standards in rented and owned properties across the board.

“To spark a desperately needed renaissance in council housebuilding, councils also need to be able to borrow to build new homes and keep all receipts from any homes they sell to reinvest in building new homes that are of a good quality and affordable.”

Adam Davis, a Partner with Palmers and Head of our Construction and Engineering Department, said: “The report makes two important points; highlighting the demand for more housing development, but without cutting corners and sacrificing quality control.

“Lessons need to be learned from the recent E.ON Supreme Court ruling, as any housing developer tempted to reduce build quality and longevity could find themselves involved in costly litigation amidst claims that the development is unfit for purpose.”

For advice on construction and engineering legal issues including help with standard form contracts or bespoke construction and engineering disputes, please contact Adam Davis or a member of the construction and engineering law team at Palmers.