Housing sector

The social housing sector is running out of time to meet its sustainability goals – Show House

Nine in 10 social housing construction professionals believe the sector urgently needs new government guidance if it is to successfully meet sustainability targets, new research has found.

In a survey of 150 decision-makers involved in specifying building materials used for social housing developments, 88% agreed the sector cannot wait for the ongoing review of the Decarbonisation Fund and the Decent Homes Standard to define how it will become more sustainable – it needs this detail now.

Search by Wienerberg, a leading provider of wall, roof and landscaping innovations, explored several key issues facing the social housing sector, including housing shortages, sustainability and quality of construction . He found that the sector desperately needs support and guidance if it is to overcome the challenges it faces. This guidance was due to be included in the social housing white paper which was published at the end of last year, but it failed to clarify a number of key details that the sector had been waiting for.

When asked when the sector would need guidance, a quarter said it was too late and further detail was needed in 2020 if it was going to adapt in time to meet the government’s sustainability targets . 26% of housing association directors believe there is still time, but only if the government provides further guidance in the first half of this year.

Not only does the UK need to build more sustainably, it also needs to increase the rate at which new homes are built to meet the government’s target of 300,000 new homes by 2025. 56% of association directors housing said that, as with sustainability, much more guidance and support is needed from the government if it is to achieve this goal.

Almost half of the social housing sector (47%) and 88% of all local government professionals surveyed believe that to solve the housing crisis central government needs to give local councils more money and power to build social housing on their territory.

As well as building larger volumes in a more environmentally friendly way, UK social housing stock must maintain a high standard of build quality. 70% of internal housing association professionals said that to improve standards without going over cost or being non-compliant, the industry needs to improve the way it collaborates and communicates so it can share best-in-class methodologies, technologies and innovations practice.

Wienerberger discussed the results of his research with a panel of high-level decision makers from across the social housing sector during a virtual roundtable. During the discussion, Nick Gornall, Head of Development at Great Places Housing Group, shared his perspective: “The industry has no indication of the standard of products that will be needed to meet the targets, we don’t know. so not whether the housing stock we build or the modifications we make to existing stock will be good enough to meet sustainability standards.

Phil Pemberton, Director of Strategy and Asset Delivery at Riverside, added: “The industry has time; it just needs a strategic plan to get there. There is a responsibility of the sector as well as of the government regarding the achievement of the objective.

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