On 9th October 2020 delegates to the Housing Summit Online 2020 organised by the Building Alliance and Chaired by past IMS President, Cliff Fudge and organised by Mike Leonard, Immediate Past President of IMS, were treated to a series of excellent presentations given by world class speakers.
The keynote address was delivered by Stewart Baseley, Chair of the Home Builders Federation, who looked backed on the challenge inflicted on the housing industry by the Global Pandemic. He reported that the industry was forced to close sites and offices in the first weeks of lock down but had bounced back strongly with high consumer sales, as a result of pent up demand and the Government interventions such as the stamp duty holiday. He extended particular thanks to the UK building material manufacturers who had worked closely with home builders to ensure the continuity of materials supply throughout the crisis.
Looking forward the market may well be tested through further lock downs, rising unemployment, and falling consumer confidence. For this reason, it is critical that the Government extends the Help to Buy Scheme.
The Pandemic has resulted in unprecedented Government financial intervention so the presentation by Graeme Chaplin of the Bank of England, could not have been better timed. He clearly articulated that Covid-19 is reducing jobs and incomes in the UK, and that the Bank of England is committed to supporting households and businesses, by keeping interest rates low and ensuring the financial system can support households and businesses He said that the Bank of England will continue to support the economy..
Next up was Lucy Greenwood of Savills who drilled into the housing market to provide delegates with many insights and statistics on the effects of Covid-19 and the current and future housing market and the factors that are likely to influence it.
Last up in the first session was Head of the Built Environment at MHCLG Jenny Thomas who talked about the “Planning for the Future Consultation” which seeks to remove barriers and allow for an acceleration in new home building.
Delegates enjoyed a well-earned break before moving on to Technical Matters….
First up was Brian Martin, Principal Construction Professional, in the Building Regulations team, at MHCG. With the fall out of the Grenfell tragedy and the challenges of climate change we are now in a period of unprecedented change in the regulations and standards. Brian took delegates on a Whistle-stop tour of the current status on Part B (Fire) Part L (Thermal performance) and Part F (Ventilation) and Part M (Access). Much of the decision making has been delayed due to Covid-19 but a succession of announcements are now expected in the Autumn 2020.
Central to Brian’s presentation was the demands of the “Future Homes Standard” which he confirmed would come into force in 2025.
Professor David Boyd of Birmingham City University provided delegates with an insightful reflection on the impacts of Covid-19 on housing environments. The pandemic has changed the ways homes are used and may impact on the future location of developments and home design. This might include a demise in the appetite for city centre living and the demand for study space in new homes.
All this impacts on the need to ensure good indoor air quality and homes that do not overheat. Professor Boyd spoke of the vital research being undertaken at BCU by two PHD students, sponsored by Taylor Wimpey, Barratts and Redrow Homes.
The last presentation of the day fell to Marc Separovic, Senior Construction Quality Manager at NHBC who showcased the excellent work that is being undertaken to improve the quality of new homes.
Aside from the loss of the networking and of course the full English breakfast, that are the hallmarks of this great annual Housing Summit, the technology worked well and delegates enjoyed the opportunity to keep themselves updated as change continues at pace, against a backdrop of fears about health and the economy.
A big thank you is due to our sponsors, Marley and the Brick Development Association and to our virtual hosts Arup and Birmingham City University.
If you would like a PDF copy of the presentations, please email Mike Leonard: firstname.lastname@example.org