Howard Chapman

What’s new in building 2016?

  • 4 Jan 2016

Howard Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor, reviews the first crop of  New Year construction news, including Cameron’s pledge to build 10k new homes on public land in 2016.

What’s new in building this year? UK house prices are on the move again, CIOB awards open to non-site managers, the UK wind industry booms, the Circuit of Wales project begins and the numbers of new apprentices plummet.

Cameron announces 10,000 new homes to be constructed on public land

1-Fullscreen capture 04012016 103147More than 10,000 new homes will be built on public land through Government direct commissioning in a plan David Cameron hailed as a “huge shift” – the biggest of use of such a policy since Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine started the regeneration of London’s Docklands in the Eighties. It will “ensure hard-working people can buy affordable homes”.

Downing Street said the “radical” move will see homes being built at a faster rate with smaller building companies that cannot take on big projects able to begin construction on Government sites which already have planning permission.

  • extra £1.2 billion to prepare brownfield sites for the building of 30,000 starter homes – available to first time buyers under 40 for at least a 20% discount – over the next five years
  • first wave of up to 13,000 directly commissioned homes – 40% of which will be starter homes – will begin this year in Dover, Chichester, Gosport, Northstowe in Cambridgeshire and Old Oak Common in north west London

Link for more details

UK house prices on the move again 

1-Fullscreen capture 04012016 100005Average house prices grew strongly in December according to the latest survey from building society Nationwide

House prices in 2015

  • rose by 4.5%
  • average price of a property in the UK now at £196,999
  • average house price growth of between 3% and 6% nationally in 2016
  • average prices in the London are now 50% above their pre-crisis peak in 2007

1-Fullscreen capture 04012016 100216London remained the strongest performing region for the fifth year running, with average prices up 12% compared with a year ago, according to Nationwide.

Scotland was the only part of the UK that saw a fall in average house prices, with values down 1.9% in the three months to the end of December compared with the same period a year ago.

Link for more details

CIOB opens awards to non-site managers

CIOB revise criteria for entering the 2016 Construction Manager of the Year Award, opening up routes for non site-based managers to apply.

CIOB said that the shift was based on a general recognition that many members in project delivery roles were not ‘site based’, and therefore unable to apply.  The changes have been made in order to encourage a wider range of companies to enter their best people who deserve to be recognised for their hard work within the industry.

Link for more details.

Busy year for UK wind industry

1-Fullscreen capture 04012016 101228Renewable UK is predicting a busy year of construction for wind sector. Under construction over the next 12 months:

  • 1.2GW of onshore wind
  • 4.5GW of offshore wind

Onshore wind projects going live in 2016 will generate more than £913m of investment in the UK economy during their development and construction phases, while offshore wind projects in construction in 2016 will generate £5.9bn of investment within the UK over the next five years.

Link for more details

Circuit of Wales project begins

1-Fullscreen capture 04012016 101707Preparation work on the site in Blaenau Gwent is set to begin in January, before construction work the following month.

The £315m project will bring an international motorsport circuit to the site north of Ebbw Vale, near the Rassau Industrial Estate, alongside a one million sq ft technology park and training facility.

Link for more details

Numbers of new apprentices plummet

1-Fullscreen capture 04012016 102405Britain is on the brink of a skills crisis because of a slump in the number of people taking apprenticeships in construction, a study reveals.

  • total number of UK apprentices has risen by 57% in the past five years but the number opting for construction has fallen to 15,510 from 20,000 in 2006

In the last eight years construction and related trades’ apprenticeships have dropped from the most popular to the lowest two in the top ten.

Link for more details

Send us your contribution on ‘What’s new in building 2016′ to [email protected] or add your comment below.


2 comments on “What’s new in building 2016?

  • Richard Donnell, Director of Research at Hometrack sent this comment:

    “One of the greatest challenges to growing housing supply has been the loss of capacity from small builders whose numbers have halved between 2007 and 2013. Only 2,710 are estimated to have been building in the last year. The barriers to small builders developing homes have risen with planning and finance risks limiting access to the market. The Government needs as many types of builder as possible to meet its target to grow supply. While the number of homes announced today is relatively small it sends the message that smaller builders have an important role to play if we are to grow housing volumes.”

  • Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association, sent this comment:
    “David Cameron’s announcement that the Government will directly commission the construction of 30,000 homes – effectively turning the Government in to a house builder, is a positive start to 2016 for the house building industry!
    Actively promoting the use of small and medium size contractors, the Government has shown a clear desire to reach the 2020 target of 400,000 new affordable homes which was set at the end of 2015.
    As one of the largest timber associations within the construction industry, the STA welcomes the direct commissioning house building policy the Government is implementing. Aiding the growth of SMEs and the building of thousands of homes across the country, there are only benefits for SMEs and, in particular timber frame construction companies.
    Providing the quickest and most cost effective method to erecting weather-tight buildings, the timber frame construction method is a low carbon, sustainable alternative to other common building practices. By building more homes, better, the Government will not only reach the 2020 target, but enable a low carbon, sustainably-minded construction sector.”

    For more information on the Structural Timber Association please visit or follow @STAtimber on Twitter.

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