Can we deliver quality quickly?
How will we reach the government target of 300,000 homes per annum? Will our children and grandchildren be forced to live in ill-planned, poorly built estates because of the issues we face today?
Almost everyone connected to housebuilding has been talking about off-site manufacturing for some time, and there have been some high-profile entrants to the market aiming to bolster the speed of and precision in which they can build through the adoption of modern methods of construction and a focus on manufacturing to offset the significant skill and material shortages.
Clearly such adoptions of technique require significant up-front investment and at a time of political and economic uncertainty that has proved challenging. A key element to all this it would seem is the focus on people. Time and time again when engaged by a client to secure them someone who can lead people, process and performance they baulk at idea of taking someone from anywhere other than their competition. Whilst appreciably this would give confidence in a perceived ability it’s also very short sighted at a time when the very best quality are “locked in” with significant packages and financial incentives. The housebuilding industry is regularly stretching salary bandings to “buy people” out of the competition with Contract Managers, for example, now earning salaries in excess of £85k before taking into account bonuses and benefits.
Whilst it’s great to feel valued as an employee it can have an adverse effect – causing one to be “land locked” and financially tied to an organisation even if that company is no longer right for that person. Subsequently, we shouldn’t be surprised when individual’s motivation drops and their performance dips.
Evidently, to achieve the above build targets there are clearly a number of critical factors; land, planning, design, production (techniques, output and cost), and of course, last but certainly not least, people.
Off-Site 2018 aims to showcase the latest innovation around off-site development at the CIH conference from tomorrow. We’ll all doing what we can to fix our broken housing market together.
Hope to see you at the conference.