With pressure increasing on local authorities to build more homes and talk of emergency sanctions including the removal of planning decisions from local councils who are judged to be taking too long to decide planning applications, it seems a review of our local and national planning policy is long overdue.
As part of any review alternative construction methods that provide sustainable development options need to be carefully considered.
Construction methods throughout the UK have remained relatively speaking unchanged for a significant amount of time. With the constant technological advancements across numerous sectors intrinsically linked to development and house building, including energy efficiency, home automation, materials, the way we build and indeed live in our homes is experiencing a period of notable change.
Modern construction methods, or even those sustainable methods that have been is use for hundreds of years need to be encouraged and promoted if we are going to take the next major leap to a more sustainable, renewable future for our built environment.
Numerous renewable constructions methods exist, although no single method has been championed by the major house builders, who still prefer traditional construction methods based on financial viability and availability of a skilled workforce.
Timber framed construction, whilst increasing in popularity still lags far behind our European cousins and other methods such as pre-fabrication have failed to make any significant impact in a market that is generally wary of change ranging from the end-user, mortgage providers and local authorities.
Development of eco and sustainable housing stock doesn’t stop at creating a home that is more energy efficient, it focuses on the impact development has on pollution, employment, air quality and numerous other environmental and social factors affecting the quality of housing along with the local environment and infrastructure.
As public awareness grows, and perception of non-traditional construction methods change, demand for eco-homes will increase, driving innovation across the Industry.
Written by Ben Waites AssocRICS MNAEA