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Infrastructure key to new homes delivery, says ICE report

10 September 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

ICE State of the Nation report 2019

The way housing and infrastructure are delivered needs to be more aligned and strategic if the government is to deliver on its housebuilding programme.

That was the key recommendation of a new report from the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), launched today, which was also supported by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

The ICE's annual State of the Nation report makes a total of 10 recommendations which it believes will help bring the two sectors together.

They include the creation of regional infrastructure strategies across England to better ensure effective integration of infrastructure and housing planning across boundaries at local, regional and national levels.

The report also suggests that the government should amend the Development Consent Order process to enable larger-scale housing developments to be built. And it recommends that the next National Infrastructure Assessment should identify options for futureproofing new and existing housing stock to ensure suitability for the future.

In particular, it advises of the potential to consider how housing and infrastructure can be delivered to reach the net zero carbon targets, while taking full advantage of appropriate technological advancements. 

IPSOS Mori poll support

ICE’s recommendations were given added weight by a pubic survey it commissioned from Ipsos MORI to gauge the UK’s views on the importance of the infrastructure and housing relationship. The survey found that a majority of the population (60%) say they would support the building of more housing in their local area if any necessary new infrastructure was built at the same time. 

ICE vice president Rachel Skinner, chair of the report’s steering group, said: “There is now clear evidence that shows the majority of the population would support new housing projects if they included the necessary infrastructure, such as transport, energy and water. ICE’s State of the Nation 2019 report comprehensively assesses the ways in which we can better deliver infrastructure and housing in a coordinated and integrated way, which will have long-term benefits for communities throughout the country."

Caroline Gumble, chief executive of the CIOB welcomed the publication of the report. She said: “The CIOB fully supports the recommendations by the ICE to align the way in which infrastructure and housing are delivered with a more strategic approach. The idea of the development of integrated regional infrastructure strategies, which include the planning and construction of new housing, could prove to be an important tool in ensuring that government meets its commitment to increase the number of homes available across the country.

“The CIOB also hopes to support the development of these strategies with research and data into the value of construction across the regions of the UK which will be available later this year. A new approach is also another opportunity to embed a new culture across the industry, from housebuilding to large, regional infrastructure projects. We’d very much like to see quality placed at the heart of the strategy, following the principles outlined in our Code of Quality Management. The development of fully integrated regional infrastructure strategies is an ideal showcase for quality in the built environment and the drive to raise standards.”

Sir John Armitt chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, added: “New housing is essential if the UK is to meet the demands of a growing population, but it needs effective infrastructure to transform houses and flats into thriving communities where people want to live and work. 

“We also need homes and places designed for our future, not our past. That means housing set up for the switch to low-carbon power and heating and designed with electric car charging in mind and fast digital connectivity as a necessity not a luxury, situated in well-designed communities - connected by effective transport networks - that can support jobs, growth and a good quality of life. 

“Too often, however, infrastructure and housing delivery aren’t properly aligned. The ICE’s call for more integrated housing and infrastructure planning is a welcome contribution to this increasingly important discussion.” 

Comments

Comment on LinkedIn. Totally agree with this report. Needs to be actioned by all industry colleagues together. As in construction personnel and those involved at the final coal face (no pun intended!) construction lawyers, architects, developers, builders and planners etc too. In so far as they can, with the various Authorities and ring fencing in place, as necessary.

Wendy Louise Trainor, 10 September 2019

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