Barry Mortimer

Offsite construction not silver bullet to solving housing crisis, says FMB

Offsite manufacturing is not a panacea for the London housing crisis, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The London Assembly planning committee recently published its report ‘Designed, sealed, delivered: The contribution of offsite manufactured homes to solving London's housing crisis’.

It stated that 50,000 homes a year will need to be built in London to keep up with the demand for housing.

In response to the report, Barry Mortimer, director of FMB London (pictured above), said: “In order to reach the 50,000 new homes London needs to build each year to keep pace with demand, an innovative approach to delivering new homes is crucial.

“A rise in offsite construction and modular homes could be part of the solution in terms of helping to increase diversity and supply in the UK new homes market.

“However, offsite manufactured homes will never be the ‘silver bullet’ to solving the housing crisis.”

Barry added: “One of the dangers of placing too much emphasis on one delivery method – the reach of which is likely to remain limited for the foreseeable future – is that we can take our eye off the more immediate problems.”

The FMB’s State of Trade Survey for Q2 2017 revealed that 60% of construction SMEs were struggling to hire bricklayers and a further 57% were struggling to hire carpenters and joiners.

Barry concluded: “As Britain prepares to leave the EU, the skills shortage will likely be felt more keenly still, especially so in London.

“New research from the FMB reveals that 70% of SME housebuilders in London and the South East hire EU workers.”

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