At the first Design Quality Conference, ministers have urged developers to embrace modern methods of construction – and warn that there will be a price to pay for poor design.
At a conference in London, ministers called on the industry to embrace the latest innovations to ensure good quality homes.
The government has said it’s essential that the quality and design of new housing is addressed. Recent research shows that more than 7 out of 10 people would support new residential development if buildings are well-designed and in keeping with their local area.
Housing Minister Dominic Raab suggested that poor design should be a reason to refuse planning permission. He also said that councils should be able to seek redress if developers fail to build what was agreed.
Raab said, “Ministers will focus on how developers can use better quality design in order to win over both communities and new generations of first-time buyers, who expect the highest quality homes before parting with their hard-earned deposits.
“When things go wrong, the government has also proposed strengthening ways for homebuyers to complain when their home hasn’t been built satisfactorily – with these new measures recently being subject to a consultation.”
The government is considering mimicking the Australian model, which urges councils to set their own design quality standards, giving communities the ability to better reflect their own unique character in local planning policy.
It wants to learn from other countries such as Norway and Sweden where good design is embedded in decision making.
It is also mulling the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology to win the confidence of communities before a single brick is laid. By visualising proposed new housing from the neighbour or homebuyer’s perspective, communities will be able to see how development can visually contribute to the area from an early stage, even before planning permission has been granted.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said, “Our homes are the making of all of us, which is why today’s event on raising the bar on the quality of new homes is so important.
“This government is determined to make sure that high quality design is the norm rather than the exception.”
The government has ploughed £1 billion into the Home Building Fund to develop new, modern approaches to design and construction.
To date, eight projects across 11 local authorities, backed by government funding, will use modern methods of construction such as modular homes to build good quality homes.
Alex Depledge MBE, co-founder of Resi.co.uk, said, “The government announcing £300 million for developing Artificial Intelligence within the UK is an exciting prospect. Advances in cutting-edge technology, such as genuine Artificial Intelligence, not only has the potential to create new and exciting products, it will also fundamentally change the process of how we do things.
“Shaking up the foundations of delivery models is where technology is its most potent and vital. However, AI’s power can be likened to that of nuclear weapons if used at its most negative. We need proper regulations, created independently of political or business influence, to protect our security, data and freedom”.