CIOB launches call for evidence into housebuilding skills gap

The Chartered Institute of Building has launched a call for evidence into skills, materials and new technology in the housing sector.

The work forms part of a wider coalition – the National Housing Taskforce – which has been convened by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning.

The Taskforce, which has already met with new Housing Minister Gavin Barwell MP, is operating across 12 distinct areas of work to take a holistic view of how to tackle the housing crisis, covering everything from planning reform to housing associations, and construction skills to mortgage finance.

Each work-stream is being led by a relevant organisation which will submit recommendations to the Taskforce later in the year.

The CIOB’s work-stream is charged with addressing the main issues in the construction labour market, including availability, productivity and diversity. Additionally, it will look at materials and new technology, primarily off-site manufacture and modern methods of construction (MMC), including how they link to skills.

David Hawkes, CIOB Policy Manager, said, “At its most basic level, what this work-stream boils down to is capacity. Studies have shown the housing sector needs 120,000 new employees just to meet the required annual level of homes the UK needs. At the same time, house builders say they cannot build more than 150,000 homes per year via conventional means.

“What this suggests to us is that something needs to fundamentally change if we are to properly address the housing crisis. We need more people working more productively and we have to work out how best to utilise and implement new technologies, materials and processes.”

The CIOB will be working closely with MPs and industry experts to analyse the responses it receives. It will then host a number of inquiry-style discussions to hone in on the most relevant evidence and submit its recommendations to the National Housing Taskforce by the end of the year.

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