NHBC launches collection of insights from local authorities

By Andrew Milsom | 01 May 2024

NHBC, the UK’s leading independent provider of warranty and insurance for new build homes, has brought together some of the leaders of local authority development to share their thoughts about this important aspect of housing.

Local authority housing is a key part of British social history stretching back more than 100 years. Sparked by the Addison Act of 1919, the social housing movement has since provided millions of homes across the UK and raised the living standards of countless people.

The sector is experiencing higher than ever demand for its services at a time of extreme economic pressure. With the budgets of council housing departments stretched, many must carefully balance the urgent requirement for new development with the essential maintenance of existing stock. Population growth, coupled with decades of under-supply, has created multiple stresses on the system.

Available in print and to download, Built. On insights – a collection of industry insight from leaders in local authority development has been produced to highlight the important development work undertaken by local authorities. It raises questions about the viability of local authority housing in its current form and celebrates the dedicated professionals delivering quality housing in challenging circumstances.

Contributors were invited to share their career journey, their views on the market and their local authority priorities. We wanted a personal perspective on their work, with their unique insight. Examining the current state of local authority residential development and the difficulties faced by many councils, as well as looking to the future, this collection covers everything from regeneration and retrofitting to partnership working and methods of modern construction (MMC).

With contributions from some of the best-known names in local authority development, much consideration is given to the biggest conundrum facing councils – that of having to do more with less. Contributors also share their insight on planning challenges, temporary housing for the homeless and the planning process. Their collective knowledge and understanding of local authority housing is unrivalled, and their extensive experience of this vital, ever-changing sector is invaluable. Local authority housing is part of the fabric of modern Britain and this collection of insights celebrates many of those who have contributed to its successes.

The collection also gives insight into the motivations of its contributors; from personal backgrounds and early careers, right through to their hopes for the future, this publication portrays the people, as well as the developments they lead.

Professor Janice Morphet of the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London authors the collection’s introduction, followed by contributors who are helping deliver much needed affordable housing, including Shahi Islam, Director of Affordable Housing at Homes England. Contributors from around England are featured in this first edition, with viewpoints from a variety of different regions and areas showcased.

Outdated, clichéd perceptions of bland pebbledashed semis and brutalist post-war ‘streets in the sky’ have been firmly supplanted by countless beautiful, modern local authority developments, designed with comfort and efficiency in mind. This transformation of the image of local authority housing is thanks to the vision of those featured in this collection and their hard-working colleagues across the sector. It is clear local authorities must be empowered to deliver more quality housing. The need for an increased housing supply is frequently reported in the media, but there is no single solution to enable this. This collection’s contributors explore the different ways local authority development could be accelerated.

It’s also encouraging that, despite the challenging economic headwinds, our contributors are positive about local authority housing development. They are serving their communities effectively and maximising their potential with the resources they have. They recognise the social value local authority housing has and the difference it makes. By bringing together these local authority development leaders to share information and understanding, we can all play a part in raising standards and help deliver high-quality homes fit for the 21st century.

Andrew Milsom is sector lead for local authorities at NHBC

• NHBC works with local authorities to deliver quality new homes, providing unrivalled expertise from early-stage planning through to completion, with a focus on building it right first time. Learn more at nhbc.co.uk or email amilsom@nhbc.co.uk for further information

This article is sponsored content for The MJ

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