British Ministers have pledged to work with the building industry to make sure that new homes embrace the latest innovations to make sure they are the best quality properties possible.
Secretary of State for Housing Sajid Javid and Housing Minister Dominic Rabb have called for closer links between Government and industry to deliver well-designed homes.
They told the first-ever Design Quality Conference that there will be an investment of £1 billion via the Home Building Fund to develop new, modern approaches to design and construction. They believe ideas can be found from other countries, such as Australia, Norway and Sweden.
They also want technology to take a front seat. For example, using Virtual Reality (VR) technology to win the confidence of communities before a single brick is laid. By visualising proposed new housing from the neighbour or home buyer’s perspective, communities will be able to see how development can visually contribute to the area from an early stage, even before planning permission has been granted.
The conference heard that recent research shows that more than seven out of 10 people would support new residential development if buildings are well-designed and in keeping with their local area.
When it comes to funding some eight developments across 11 local authorities have been backed with Government money to use modern methods of construction such as modular homes to build good quality homes, using the latest techniques, whilst helping to speed up housing delivery.
Based on an Australian model, the Government will urge councils to set their own design quality standards, giving communities the ability to better reflect their own unique character in local planning policy.
‘Our homes are the making of all of us, which is why today’s event on raising the bar on the quality of new homes is so important. This Government is determined to make sure that high-quality design is the norm rather than the exception,’ said Javid.
High-quality design is important, according to Housing Minister Dominic Raab, and he said that the conference is an important milestone in meeting the vision of better quality homes that people want to live in.
‘Industry leaders, including local authority planners, developers and design professionals, attending the Design Quality Conference will share their expertise to ensure how homes look becomes just as important as the number delivered,’ he explained.
‘Ministers will focus on how developers can use better quality design in order to win over both communities and new generations of first-time buyers, who expect the highest quality homes before parting with their hard earned deposits,’ he added.
He pointed out that when things go wrong, the Government has also proposed strengthening ways for home buyers to complain when their home hasn’t been built satisfactorily with these new measures recently being subject to a consultation.
In addition, the recently published draft National Planning Policy Framework, also out to consultation, outlines requirements for design guides and codes to feature prominently in new Local Plans, significant consideration to be given to existing local character as well as setting out the density of developments that meet the needs and expectations of the community.