The construction industry is calling on ministers to support small firms by making micro plots of land available in its plans to build 13,000 new homes in England.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will directly commission the construction on five sites in the south.
But, it says, these sites need to be split into smaller plots so that SME builders can get involved in the housing project, the largest the government has led since London’s Docklands was developed in the 1980s.
Knocking down barriers
Brian Berry, CEO of the FMB, said: “The availability of small sites is the greatest barrier that SME house builders currently face when delivering new homes, which is why the government’s initiative to make public land available to small builders is so welcome.
“The government clearly recognises that we need to bring more small house builders back into the market if we have any hope of addressing the housing shortfall. Directly funding developments on publicly owned land, with planning permission already granted, should encourage growth of smaller builders and new entrants into the market.
“However, the public land that is being made available through ‘direct commissioning’ must be broken down into small and micro plots wherever possible.
SME house builders have potential
“If the government wants to truly tap into the potential of SME house builders, it should bring forward a wide range of packages of land, including those attractive to the smallest of developers, thereby improving both capacity and speed of delivery.”
Direct commissioning makes available state-owned sites that have planning consent in place. The aim is to support smaller firms, which may not have the resources to go through the planning permission application process.
Currently, the country’s largest eight house builders supply half of new homes. The hope is that by directly commissioning the planned 13,000 new homes, it will open up the market more.