Low-C home rules “drive up land costs”

Increasingly complex "sustainable construction" rules and regulations are pushing up land prices and sabotaging Government housing targets, the UK's home builders have said.

The complexity of regulations is already constraining housing output, the House Builders’ Federation (HBF) said. Bringing “traditional” new homes up to Code Level 5 of the 6-level Code for Sustainable Homes costs £26,000 to £36,000 per home, giving a land cost of £1-£1.4m per hectare at current densities.

The impact of escalating costs on land values is sabotaging the Government’s own target of 200,000 sustainable new homes per year by 2016, the HBF said in response to the Calcutt Review of Housebuilding Delivery.

Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly, announced the review on 13 December 2006, asking John Callcutt, then chief executive of English Partnerships “to take on a new role, working with industry, to improve housebuilding delivery in a low carbon environment.”

The low-carbon standards of the Code for Sustainable Homes are proving too expensive to implement, however, the HBF believes.

HBF executive chairman, Stewart Baseley said: “The industry stands united with the Government in its aspiration to build 200,000 sustainable new homes per annum by 2016.

“There is certainly no significant impediment on the industry side to achieving this target. The success or failure of building the sustainable homes that Britain needs hinges on having a sufficient and steady supply of developable land with implementable planning permissions.

“At a time when the amount of land developed annually has actually declined by 10 per cent in recent years, it is difficult to overstate this point.”

The HBF outlined six “priority conditions” for the industry to be able meet the demand for new homes:

  • An adequate supply of land with implementable planning permission

  • Adequate infrastructure

  • The ability to build homes people want to buy

  • Competitive returns for shareholders

  • Residual land values that bring forward land for housing development

  • A reduction in the complexity and cost of regulation

    Goska Romanowicz

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