Four considerations for new build housing developments in 2021
This year has seen vast upheaval across many industries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and construction has fared no differently.
The Impact of Covid on Construction
At the height of the first lockdown the Office for National Statistics reported that around half of building contractors had seen a significant drop in turnover as uncertainty reigned over many sectors and contractors faced the challenge of implementing new onsite safety measures.
Since then, many sites have reopened and, despite changing measures across the UK, activity has gained pace, meaning housebuilders can at least continue their operations and begin to put in place their plans for 2021.
To being building back better, here are four considerations that need to come near the top of any build-based business plan next year:
1. Creating comfortable homes
The nature of what people want from their homes has been evolving for many years now, but the pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns has accelerated those trends.
Prior to the lockdowns, 70% of people had never worked from home, according to the ONS.
That shifted rapidly as offices across the country shut, meaning people were working from the same place they’d previously go to after a long day.
This blurring of the lines of work and home life will force housebuilders to react accordingly.
Spaces conducive to concentrating and working in, outdoor areas which provide space to relax and ensuring homes that are lived in even more than usual are energy efficient will all be vital in creating comfortable homes.
2. Building Greener homes
With increased numbers of people working from home full-time and spending more time inside, ensuring homes are energy efficient isn’t just vital in making them more sustainable, it can also help bring down energy bills.
Data released by Energy Helpline recently revealed gas and electricity bills for those working full time at home could rise by 18 per cent, or an average of £107 a year.
Homes that minimise energy costs will undoubtedly be more desirable to those living in them.
The government’s focus is not only on creating more homes but developing them with improved sustainability credentials too.
Housing has a significant role to play in reducing carbon emissions under the government’s targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reach net zero by 2050.
A key part of achieving these goal lies in using building materials that ensure homes are more energy efficient to run, reducing their carbon footprint.
3. Ensuring safety on the construction site
The industry’s come on leaps and bounds in recent years to improve safety on site, but one aspect that wasn’t accounted for was the need to reduce the risk of the transmission of viruses.
It means that social distancing and a rethink of PPE measures will be needed.
While most have now implemented new processes and considerations on site, it’s vital that these are constantly revisited to ensure they comply with the latest regulations and that sites are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
4. Upcoming planning reforms
The end of October marked the closure of the government’s Planning for the Future consultation, which sought views on the proposed reform of the planning system in England.
It’s not without controversy, and we’re still awaiting the publication of its findings, but one thing is for sure: It looks likely to cut red tape and encourage contractors to embrace new technologies to help the country deliver the housing it desperately needs to address its shortage.
There’s a good chance the reforms will pave the way for the government to meet its pledge of delivering 300,000 homes a year.
But with this increase in work, housebuilders will also need to keep an eye on the reforms and ensure their live developments comply with any changes in regulation.
Covid-19 will continue to affect all of our lives next year and likely beyond.
But it also provides opportunities for housebuilders to grow and become better.
Building these considerations into 2021 plans will go a long way to helping housebuilders make their properties the highest quality and sustainable as possible.
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