The Housing Forum, construction, housing

The Housing Forum is calling for the construction community to come together to address challenges caused by the suspension of works and establish partnerships to sustain supply and capacity across the industry

How does the housing industry manage the implications of suspension of works in response to the current health crisis; which current actions will best assist the resumption of work and where should longer-term stimulus to the market be applied to best effect?

Across the sector, the picture is mixed; volume housebuilders have generally closed sites with some exceptions.

Design and build contracts for housing associations are continuing in some areas and some larger housing associations and build-to-rent developers are moving ahead with development plans.

Many in the housing sector are taking difficult decisions to close development sites, temporarily suspend works and/or reduce construction services to only the essential maintenance services to be provided to residents.

Looking forward, planning for a managed return and securing products and materials supply is critical to all, urges The Housing Forum.

The Housing Forum review

As decisions are made, the relevant contracts must be reviewed to understand how risks of suspension and site closure can be shared between the parties.

For the industry to benefit from recommended measures to deal with the housing supply interruptions, it will need greater clarity from government on how construction can operate safely during this period of social distancing, and this needs to be at a level which the whole supply chain is prepared to operate on

Re-frame the relationship through partnership

Shelagh Grant, chief executive of The Housing Forum said: “Our members tell us the aim should be to achieve balanced outcome for all parties.

“Regular contractual arrangements and reactions do not apply in these circumstances. We need to re-frame the relationship through partnership.”

Stephen Teagle, chair of The Housing Forum, said: “Government and in particular, Homes England, have a track record in encouraging partnership solutions and in designing market interventions at points of market stress to support the housing industry.

“The Housing Forum will share its proposals and work with Homes England to support housing supply and provide resilience across the supply chain.”

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