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Report advocates planning changes to help construction sector

Published: Thursday, 20th October 2016

New report led by Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast, recommends changes to the planning regime in order to support the construction industry…

Changes to the planning regime are among recommendations in a report commissioned by two government departments and designed to boost the construction industry.

It highlighted that s106 agreements often imposed insular employment related obligations on companies at a local authority level.

“There is clear evidence that such a geographically constrained approach is not leading to desired outcomes in terms of long-term permanent career opportunities”, the report said.

It argued that the obligations should be framed to cover a wider and more sustainable geographical area and shouldn’t rely so much on limited term apprenticeship training agencies.

It complained that current demand-side measures designed to increase use of public land and streamline the planning system weren’t doing enough to help modernise the construction sector.

The report argued that the residential development sector should be targeted for a pilot programme to progress the large-scale use of pre-manufactured construction focussing on off-site built and modular housing. It suggested that this part of the industry should be helped to deliver some 50,000 units per annum.

Deployment of such housing should be a key element of a reinvigorated national affordable housing programme, the report argued. It said that pre-manufactured housing solutions should be specifically recognised in the application of local planning policy.

“Options might include exploring ways to replicate an approach to planning based on a ‘permission in principle’ system for pre-approved housing products with standard typology, unit mix and sizing”.

The report, led by Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast, a real estate and construction consultancy, highlighted the sector’s dysfunctional training practices, lack of innovation and collaboration and non-existent research & development.

This analysis was commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Read the review.

Roger Milne