During his speech at the Building Societies Association (BSA) annual lunch yesterday, Dick Jenkins, chairman of BSA, said Brexit is a call from consumers that they want change. Therefore, the industry should see this a window to revamp the house building industry with a focus on alternative methods of housing production.
On the topic of the referendum, Jenkins said: “If we want a good Brexit it must be a catalyst for beneficial change for consumers. The whole process will be a marathon not a sprint, but it is vital that during the immensely complex negotiations, our Government keeps the flexibility that will allow positive legislative and regulatory change once we have left.”
As part of the launch of the BSA’s latest housing report, ‘Laying the foundations for Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)’, he said one of the most effective ways to narrow the gap between supply and demand is to consider technology-led methods of construction, notably off-site house building.
Jenkins added: “We have an ambition to see this form of construction technology go mainstream. Homes could be constructed more quickly and potentially more cheaply, without skimping on quality. But there are some barriers which we need to knock down first and we need the Government’s help to do it.”
One such barrier, Jenkins said, is the concern from lenders. Issues included how to insure these houses, whether they were durable over time and what the likelihood of such houses becoming mainstream would be.
He said these concerns need to be addressed with suitable answers before lending on bespoke houses became the norm and not the exception.
For this reason, he said it was down to building societies to take the lead with the recommendations outlined in the BSA’s report and looked at them to spearhead the change needed in the house building industry.
Jenkins concluded that the sector had a long history of embracing concepts and ideas that were out of the ordinary and this attitude was needed to combat the housing crisis in the UK.