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The changing population and the future of the housing industry

  • 27 May 2015

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In recent years the make-up of the population in the UK has changed dramatically. The UK population continues to grow, however growth in itself is not the major factor behind housing shortages and housing demand. It is the needs of the changing population which is creating many of the issues.

Mike Stevenson is Development Director for Sidey and founding partner of the Fabric First Academy.

In the past, mainstream housing has centred on the idea of the ‘family’ home.

However with divorce and separation rates higher than previous generations, there is a greater need for two houses for many families, with a very different building footprint.

The younger generation continues to struggle to get its foot on the property ladder, which has created a bigger demand for flats and apartments than ever before.

Furthermore, the current influx of immigration brings with it even more different housing expectations and needs.

House of the Future

Future design and construction will have to take these facts into account, which will likely bring with it a new set of issues to contend with.

What is the standard house of the future? Is it one bed, two bed or three bed accommodation? How do house-builders think about this from a planning permission perspective, and how do architects and constructors design their buildings?

The pressure on land availability and cost has increased further, meaning design practices will need to take advantage of every solution available to them to meet these challenges.

It is suggested that offsite construction may offset many of the challenging issues which housing designers and developers will face.

The offsite construction sector can utilise smaller pockets of land to meet housing demand without the need for huge construction compounds. Furthermore, offsite construction can offer faster construction periods along with predictability of delivery time and cost.

It is currently estimated that only 50% of housing projects are delivered on time.

As the population and the demand for housing and the pressure on its providers continue to grow offsite construction may play an increasingly significant role in the construction sector.

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