Contractor Penalties Proposed for New Civic Housebuilding Approach

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Contractor Penalties Proposed for New Civic Housebuilding Approach

The homelessness charity, Shelter, has called for contractors to face penalties for poor housing construction as part of a review of the housebuilding market.

In a report titled New Civic Housebuilding, Shelter states the current speculative housebuilding system is ‘failing’ by producing high-priced, poor-quality homes, an inevitable consequence of the current housebuilding market.

It recommends planning contracts to be issued on land, rather than permissions, which would stipulate the community benefits, such as infrastructure and housing standards, that must form part of the agreement with housebuilders, as part of a new civic housebuilding approach.

It said: “Construction contracts for homes on new civic housebuilding schemes can be highly detailed, specifying the materials and construction techniques to be used, if that is what the plan requires.

“Alternatively, as is often the case for custom-build schemes, contracts can give the builder discretion as to how the homes are designed and built – within the overall constraints of the masterplan.

“In either case, the emphasis of the contract must be on the build quality – with penalties for contractors that do not deliver.”

In a survey of 4,000 people conducted by YouGov alongside the report, more than half of 241 homeowners questioned (51%) whose house was less than 10 years old said they had experienced major problems with their homes, including construction issues, unfinished fittings and faults with utilities. 

Out of the households surveyed, 45% disagreed with the statement that new homes are built to a higher standard than older homes.

Shelter interim chief executive Graeme Brown said: “The only way to fix our ever-growing housing crisis is for the government to champion a bold new approach that responds to communities to build the genuinely affordable, beautiful homes they want – as we have done as a country in the past.”

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