construction and COVID-19.

what's next?

government's commitment to construction during the pandemic of COVID-19.

Boris Johnson has announced plans to 'build, build, build', making it easier to build better homes where people want to live and flushing the industry with support to boost the economy.

Boris claims now is the time to be "ambitious" for the future of the country setting out a post-coronavirus recovery plan to include changes, investment and opportunities for the UK construction industry.

planning reform

The Prime Minister has pledged to build ‘faster, greener and better’ and help more people, particularly young people, get on the housing ladder. These new changes are planned to come into effect by September.

Changes to planning rules include:

  • A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application. This means a wealth of new homes avaialbe to be built from redundant buildings. Which would also benefit and kick-start a revival of high streets which are particularly affected by the lockdown.
  • Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt at homes.
  • Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast-track approval process. This would be subject to neighbour consultation.
  • A building used for retail would be able to be permanently used as an office without approval or planning permission.

The Prime Minister used the examples of UK public procurement taking 50% longer than in Germany and UK capital costs typically between 10% and 30% higher than other European projects.

In 2018, the UK built 2.25 homes per 1000 people, whereas in Germany it was 3.6, the Netherlands 3.8 and France 6.8.

 

'build, build, build' the public sector.

Into public projects such as schools, roads, railways and hospitals for an ‘infrastructure revolution’ boosting jobs and the economy. The PM promised to ‘build back better and to build back bolder’.

Plans set out in the Conservative election manifesto in 2019 are set to be accelerated.

  • five billion was announced for infrastructure projects throughout the year.
  • Infrastructure projects in England will be ‘accelerated’ and there would be investment in new academy schools, green buses and new broadband.
  • one and a half billion for hospital maintenance to end the need for mental health dormitories and improve A&E capacity.
  • Over one billion will be directed towards 50 projects that form the first part of a 10-year school rebuilding programme.
  • £900 million for local growth projects in England.
  • £560 million for repairs and upgrades to schools and £200 million for further education colleges.
  • £100 million for 29 road network projects, including bridge repairs in Sandwell, West Midlands, and improvements to the A15 in the Humber
  • £96 million to the Towns Fund to boost investment in town centres and high streets.
  • £83 million for the maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60 million for temporary prison places.
  • £10 million to remove bottlenecks on the Manchester rail network.

 

Supporting home building, the following points look to rejuvinate growth in the sector.

  • A £12 billion affordable homes programme that will support up to 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next 8 years.
  • 1,500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’: houses that will be sold to first time buyers at a 30% discount which will remain in perpetuity.
  • Funds from the £400 million Brownfield Land Fund have been allocated to the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region and North of Tyne and Tees Valley to support around 24,000 homes.
  • The Homes Builders Fund helps smaller developers access finance for new housing developments to receive an additional £450 million boost. This is expected to support delivery of around 7,200 new homes.