Timber: The smart, affordable way to build new UK homes

Jeremy English, sales director for manufacturing at Södra Wood, Sweden’s largest forest-owner association, explores how timber can facilitate less expensive, more efficient and attractive construction

new homes, Södra Wood,When a government department launches a white paper entitled Fixing Our Broken Housing Market, you know there’s something pretty serious afoot. The government’s Housing White Paper, published in February 2017, finally laid bare some uncomfortable new homes truths for all industry stakeholders.

We all, of course, know the problem well: The UK faces an unprecedented shortfall, and a historic backlog, of accessible new housing. But the question ‘what can we do to mitigate this shortfall?’ is more nuanced. To begin to understand the problem clearly, we need to consider that multiple factors are at play – not least considering how new homes can be constructed better.

Running the numbers

Originally, the government’s goal was to deliver one million dwellings by the end of 2020; that equates to around 200,000 new homes per annum. In 2016, this target rose to 300,000 new homes annually for the foreseeable future (Building More Homes Report 2016). The current Conservative government’s manifesto pledged to honour the one million target and to also “deliver half a million more by the end of 2022”.

More recently, in December 2018, parliament issued another sobering briefing. Tackling the Undersupply of Housing in England examines some of the key barriers and potential solutions to increasing housing stock in England. It also affirmed estimates that England needs between 240,000 and 340,000 new homes per year. Yet in 2017-18, the total housing stock in England increased by just 222,000 homes: Admittedly a 2% uplift on the previous year, but still an ongoing shortfall against the annual estimated need.

Original Article by pbctoday

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