Is the UK construction industry suffering from a lack of land?

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has blamed a lack of available and viable land in the UK as to why small and medium sized builders are struggling to deliver new homes, according to propertywire.com.

Problems

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Is land really an issue for construction firms?

It’s the second year in a row that a large proportion of SME house builders have cited a lack of land for not building more homes. The FMB’s research found that two thirds of SME house builders believe there isn’t enough viable land in the UK.

Furthermore, they cited problems with the planning system and difficulties accessing finance as other challenges.

Property Developer Richard Carr understands the problems and also agrees with their complaints regarding under resourced local planning authorities, as he believes the government should be doing more to help councils.

Skills

Richard Carr also believes that a large of skills in the industry is causing major problems to building more homes at a time when demand remains high.

“The current focus on large sites is squeezing out smaller developers, which is reducing competition in the housing market at a time when we need more, not less, choice. The limited supply of opportunities for small scale development is one of a number of key structural constraints that has seen the number of homes built by SMEs decline from around two thirds in the late 1980s to less than a quarter today,” CEO of the FMB, Brian Berry, told propertywire.com.

“It is absurd that the planning system treats a 300 home application in largely the same way it treats a three home application. While the Government has attempted to remove red tape in its drive to increase the number of homes being built, it would appear that its reforms have yet to make a difference.”

Planning

95% of SME house builders who completed the FMB’s survey bemoaned that information demands placed on them during the application process.

“SME house builders must be seen as a key component of the Government’s housing strategy. This means a renewed focus on granting planning permission to small sites. At the same time, the Government needs to press ahead with its proposed planning reforms, including a presumption in favour of small scale development,” Berry added.

Richard Carr is pleased to see that the planning issues have been raised and hopes as a result that the government makes the necessary amendments to benefit the industry.