Cut red tape to boost housebuilding, says FMB

Published:  23 August, 2013

Moves to cut red tape by streamlining housing standards would be a major boost to Britain’s small- and medium-sized housebuilders, and will help to increase the supply and choice of new homes, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

As the government launched its Housing Standards Review consultation process, Beatrice Orchard, head of communications at the FMB, responded: “Small- and medium-sized housebuilders are committed to providing high-quality housing tailored to meet local need, but the proliferation of an array of local, national and voluntary standards has added unnecessary complexity and cost to the housebuilding industry in recent decades. These costs have a disproportionate impact on smaller firms and smaller developments.

“It is essential we continue to bear down on unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy, to encourage more SME developers to bring new homes to market. SME builders are vital if we are going to address the spiralling housing deficit, help people get a foot on the property ladder and prevent them from having to move away from their families and places of work because of rising house prices.

“There is no reason why this should entail any reduction in the standards of new homes being built; indeed clearer and more consistent national standards will be a huge improvement on the current complex system. We would also welcome steps to incorporate any nationally described standards proposed by the review into Building Regulations in future.

“The FMB is consulting with members on how to improve the supply of new homes in the UK, and will be responding to this consultation from the perspective of SMEs. One concern already identified is the suggestion that local authorities might be allowed to set minimum space standards, as this is already best regulated by developers responding intuitively to local demand.”

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