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10 INDUSTRY NEWS


Events & awards


2017


National Housing Awards 7 September, London www.nationalhousingawards.co.uk


RESI Conference 13 – 15 September, Newport www.resiconf.com


Health & Housing 14 – 15 September, Belfast www.cih.org/events


NHF Annual Conference & Housing Exhibition 19 – 20 September, Birmingham annual.housing.org.uk


British Homes Awards 21 September, London www.britishhomesawards.co.uk


UK Construction Week 10 – 12 October, Birmingham www.ukconstructionweek.com


Build Show 10 – 12 October, Birmingham www.ukconstructionweek.com/build-show


24housing Awards 12 October, Coventry www.24housingawards.co.uk


London Build Expo 25 – 26 October, London www.londonbuildexpo.com


RCI Show 1 – 2 November, Coventry www.rcishow.co.uk


Women in Housing Conference 2 November, Manchester www.womeninhousingconference.co.uk


Women in Housing Awards 2 November, Manchester www.womeninhousingawards.co.uk


WhatHouse? Awards 17 November, London www.whathouse.com/awards


Homes 22 – 23 November, London homesevent.co.uk


The SME construction sector grew at a slower rate in the second quarter of 2017 than in the first three months of the year, according the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). FMB however revealed that Q2 2017 was


the 17th consecutive quarter of positive growth, which means that the construction SME sector has been growing for more than four years (since Q2 2013). Almost one in two construction SMEs


predicted rising workloads in the coming three months, with just 9 per cent predicting a decrease in activity. Research also showed however that


60 per cent of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers, 57 per cent are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners and 47 per cent are struggling to hire plumbers. Almost two-thirds expect salaries and wages to increase in the next six months. Brian Berry, chief executive of the


FMB, said: “Rising material prices and salaries could be starting to dampen growth among construction SMEs. However, it is encouraging to see that the sector continued to grow despite the snap general election.” He offered a reminder that the


construction SME sector is “particularly vulnerable” to any dips in consumer confidence that might come from periods of political uncertainty. “It may be that a number of home owners decided to delay any big spending decisions on new extensions of loft conversions while the election campaign was underway – this would account for the slow-down in growth seen in the quarter of 2017.” Berry continued: “Almost two-thirds of


construction firms expect wages and salaries to increase over the next six months, and this is in contrast to stagnant wages elsewhere in the economy. Rising salaries are undoubtedly the result of the escalating construction skills shortage – construction workers know their worth and are demanding higher wages.” He concluded: “With Brexit on the


horizon and worrying talk of the so-called ‘Tier-2’ immigration system replacing the free movement of people, the construction industry urges Ministers to bear in mind their strategic housebuilding and infrastructure targets before pulling up the drawbridge on EU migrant workers.”


WWW.HBDONLINE.CO.UK


190 additional homes have been approved by Ashford Borough Council between 2018 and 2024, on top of the 159 homes that are being delivered between 2015-2019. The Kent authority has reportedly


delivered 186 homes through its Housing Revenue Account (HRA). The HRA is a separate account into which rent paid by tenants into the council’s housing stock is saved. The money is exclusively for the management, maintenance and repairs of these properties, and where possible it funds the construction or acquisition of more council properties. Of those 186 properties, 149 have been


council-built through grant funding (the council has successfully bid for over £11m of Homes and Communities Agency funding since 2011), 30 are empty properties that have been brought back into use, and the remaining seven are previously owned council properties sold under the right to buy legislation that have been bought back. According to the council, over 40 per cent


of all rural local needs homes built in Kent are built in the Ashford Borough. Furthermore, 782 affordable homes have been built or brought back into use by the council in the last five years, plus an extra 153 built through a PFI initiative at Stanhope. In February 2016, Ashford was the first


authority in the South East to be viewed by government as being ‘Housing Business Ready’. The council is working with housing


associations to bring other developments forward which it has nomination rights on. Full consultation, as well as consultation through the planning process, will take place in areas where its small-scale proposals are put forward.


Construction SMEs sector growth slowing


190 new homes for Ashford


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