Housing borrowing cap now officially scrapped

Housing borrowing cap now officially scrapped

Further to our previous post, the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap has now been officially abolished, allowing councils to build up to 10,000 homes a year. The scrapping of the cap, which was announced earlier this month by prime minister Theresa May, could enable councils to take on between £10-15bn in extra debt according to Savills. The chancellor also used his Budget speech to allocated an further £500m to the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock 650,000 homes.

Mr Hammond also outlined plans for the next wave of strategic partnerships with nine housing associations to help deliver an additional 13,000 homes. Up to 500 neighbourhoods will also be ‘empowered’ to help local people buy homes at a discounted rate. He said: ‘We’re providing funding to empower up to 500 neighbourhoods to allocate or permission land for housing, through the neighbourhood planning system, for sale at a discount to local people in perpetuity.’ Hopefully good news for the housing construction industry.

You can read the official announcement here:

Lifting of housing borrowing cap is warmly welcomed

Lifting of housing borrowing cap is warmly welcomed

Prime minister Theresa May’s unexpected announcement that the government is scrapping the cap on how much councils can borrow to build new homes has been widely welcomed

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham , May said she was lifting the limit on what local authorities could spend on residential schemes and would allow them to use revenues from existing social housing to invest in new stock.

It is a move that has long been called for by councils and could, many hope, kickstart a new wave of social housing projects.

She told the conference: ‘There’s a government cap on how much [local authorities] can borrow against their Housing Revenue Account assets to fund new developments.

‘Solving the housing crisis is the biggest domestic policy challenge of our generation. It doesn’t make sense to stop councils from playing their part in solving it.

‘So today I can announce that we are scrapping that cap. We will help you get on the housing ladder and we will build the homes this country needs.’

There is however still no known timescale for when the cap will be removed.

Brian Berry, chief executive, Federation of Master Builders has commented, ‘This is the most exciting, and potentially transformative, announcement on council housing for many years. It is something the house-building sector and local authorities have been crying out for since the last economic downturn as a means by which to increase house building. Indeed, the only times the UK has built sufficient numbers of homes overall is when we’ve had a thriving council house building programme.

Local authorities have a strong interest in delivering new affordable homes and many would have the appetite to directly fund this, but have been frustrated from doing so by an artificial cap on their ability to borrow against their assets to build homes. In a victory for common sense, May has now signalled that the borrowing cap will be scrapped to allow councils to build many more new homes.’

CIOB launches new course in construction quality management

CIOB launches new course in construction quality management

The CIOB Academy is launching a brand new course focussed on managing and delivering quality in construction. This follows months of work by a Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Commission of Past Presidents into the issue of build quality, and what practical steps can be taken to support delivery of quality construction and development projects.

The Commission considered what the CIOB could do to promote a culture of quality in construction, focusing on potential solutions. One of the outcomes is the creation of the CIOB’s Construction Quality Management course.

Chair of the Commission, CIOB Past President Paul Nash, said: “Last year the CIOB established a Commission to look into the issue of quality in our industry following a series of high profile failures. We urgently needed to understand what was preventing or promoting the delivery of quality at all stages of the construction process so that we could act to bring about the change that was so obviously needed.

Our research highlighted that there was a need to raise standards across the industry. But more than this we needed to change the culture of our industry; we needed people to take pride in the buildings and infrastructure that they were creating. To achieve this, the CIOB has committed to provide practical advice and training to our members and the wider construction community. By creating and promoting the right culture and behaviours I do believe that our industry will change for the better.”

Adrian Montague, Head of the CIOB Academy, said: “Poor quality is costing the industry annually more than the combined profits of companies in the industry1. Construction quality management can deliver customer satisfaction and value. Setting and meeting quality objectives requires a sound knowledge of processes, legislation and compliance – the core of our new course.

We want to see a “get it right first time” approach embedded in the industry, which should prevent these unnecessary costs and improve customer retention. Quality management is as important to a company’s efficiency and reputation as meeting time and cost targets. Our new Construction Quality Management course comes from the extensive research conducted by the CIOB’s Quality Commission, and will cover all the fundamentals of construction quality management.”

Those attending the two-day course will gain an understanding of widely-used quality management systems, and will be given the tools to initiate quality management on their own projects and, ultimately, work towards achieving quality on every programme.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of quality management for a project-based industry
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the theories, principles and processes in quality management
  • Recognise the differences between quality control and quality management
  • Apply quality management best practice in construction in terms of both processes and attitudes

The first course dates are 14 and 15 November 2018. Venue: CIOB’s London office, Kingsway, WC2B 6XF. Cost: £549.

For More information go to: https://www.ciobacademy.org/product/construction-quality-management/

Free online Sustainable Construction and Development course from CIOB

Free online Sustainable Construction and Development course from CIOB

You may be interested in this FREE online course, where you will gain valuable insight into sustainable construction and development, and learn best practices from sustainability initiatives.

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present by carrying out activities that do not compromise future generations’ ability to meet their own needs.

On this FREE course, developed by the CIOB and London South Bank University, you’ll learn about the obligations and actions that play a role in the concept and practice of sustainability in construction and development. You’ll explore the need for environmental, economic and social sustainability, and the implications for the construction industry.

You’ll learn best practices from successful sustainability initiatives, and understand the challenge of achieving sustainability in the future.

This course is for anyone interested in sustainable construction and development, but may be of particular interest to those working in or studying construction and the wider built environment.

For more details and to register please go to the CIOB Academy website here:


French agreement to unlock jobs and investment in South West

French agreement to unlock jobs and investment in South West

An agreement has been signed between economic development organisations in South West England and Normandy in France, which aims to create jobs, unlock opportunities and attract new investment to both regions, which can only be a good thing for the construction industry in the South West.

The Memorandum of Understanding will see Nuclear South West and Nucleopolis work together to connect companies with £50bn worth of nuclear investments in South West England and an annual market in Normandy worth more than £1bn a year.

Nucleopolis, the nuclear division of Normandie Energies, brings together expertise of nearly 100 French organisations, covering research, industry and training, in the fields of energy, health and risk management. The nuclear sector employs around 28,000 people in Normandy.

As part of the agreement, the organisations will share knowledge and opportunities in the nuclear industry and encourage their respective members to explore opportunities to work together.

The deal follows a report commissioned by NSW which reveals that the South West region is ideally placed to capitalise on economic opportunities worth £50bn to the UK economy. The research states that South West-based SMEs, large companies and training providers could supply £15bn worth of work to the nuclear sector.

What is BIM? Everything site workers need to know

What is BIM? Everything site workers need to know

Heard about BIM, but not sure what it is?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process that encourages collaborative working between all the disciplines involved in design, construction, maintenance and use of buildings.

This great article on the CITB website explains what BIM is and what it means to site workers:

What is BIM?