House Building Still Thwarted Despite Increased Planning Permissions

The Federation of Master Builders is lobbying the Government to do more to reduce red tape preventing houses from being built across the UK.

While the latest figures show that 261,000 new homes were granted planning permission during the last tax year – the highest number in almost a decade – many builders, especially small local house builders, are still facing frustrating barriers preventing these homes from actually materialising.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said: “These statistics show that we are moving in the right direction but unfortunately planning permissions do not always result in homes being delivered.”

Mr Berry pointed out that in order to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand, house builders needed to deliver 240,000 new homes each year.

While the level of planning permissions, which is higher than the pre-recession peak in 2007, suggests that this target is reachable, only 120,000 homes were built last year.

This is despite the number of house-building projects more than doubling in six years.

SME house builders must be empowered

The FMB has been working closely with the Government to remove house building barriers – especially those effecting smaller local builders that are considered vital in reaching the overall target set out for new homes.

“In the late 1980s, SME house builders delivered two thirds of all new homes and now build less than 30%,” explained Mr Berry.

“These firms were also disproportionately hit by the economic downturn and we now need to look at how we can re-empower SME house builders to pick up the slack on housing.”

Barriers preventing house building include a growing lack of skilled workers. Bricklayers, site managers, carpenters and joiners are among the professions where supply is increasingly unable to meet the demand.

Promoting apprenticeships is one of the ways the FMB in partnership with the Government is hoping to address this issue.