Building Better Homes: Process, Innovation and Attitude Count

British Gypsum recently hosted the Housing Forum’s Innovation Forum entitled: “Building Better Homes: How process, innovation and attitude all make a difference?”

Hosted at British Gypsum’s head office at East Leake, Leicestershire, the Innovation Forum was chaired by Shelagh Grant, Chief Executive for The Housing Forum and featured a panel of experts from the HCA, Waterloo Housing Group and NHBC who addressed key issues facing the regional housing market. 

Housing forum agenda

On opening the forum Shelagh Grant highlighted four pertinent issues facing the housing market – quality, innovation, affordability and supply – and outlined some of the work The Housing Forum and its partners are actively engaged in to address these issues. She touched on the recent government initiatives to support housing, in particular Theresa May’s announcement earlier this month of a £10bn extension to the government’s Help to Buy scheme, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s promise that the government will bring forward a green paper on social housing, the £2bn boost for affordable housing and the long term deal for social rent.

Housing forum, Richard Hartshorn

Following the opening address Richard Hartshorn, NHBC Regional Director, East kicked off the day’s presentations focusing on industry capacity and quality issues in home ownership and public sector markets. 

Providing a key indicator of house building activity in the region, Richard provided statistics on house registrations in 2016 which he pointed out were at their second highest since 2007, with growth in 7 out of 12 regions. 

Richard continued by sharing NHBC’s registration and completion statistics for Q2, 2017 while also addressing some of the main issues the housing market currently faces such as the continuing rise in building costs, the shortage of skilled traders and a struggling supply chain.

Continuing along this tread, Caroline Cormack, Head of Home Ownership & Supply, Midlands, from HCA covered affordable and home ownership programmes in the East Midlands with particular emphasis on supply. She highlighted HCA’s purpose “to create a better, fairer housing market that delivers 250,000 homes per year” and commented, “we will lead on the important matters of diversity, skills and sustainability”. 

Housing forum, David Kowal

Concluding the event, David Kowal, Market Development Manager at British Gypsum gave delegates an overview of the innovative products and solutions British Gypsum has brought to market which can help build better homes. David presented case studies on the work British Gypsum has been doing with regional property developers such as Cumbrian Homes and how this has helped differentiate them in the market. 

He highlighted ways British Gypsum can work in partnership with housing associations, local authorities and developers in order to improve customer and tenant satisfaction levels. This was linked with the importance of the relationship between housing associations and contractors and how it can either stifle or encourage best practice. This is particularly relevant for housing associations and councils when it comes to managing Renovation Maintenance Improvement (RMI) work and maximising resource and budgets. 

Housing forum tour

The day’s session concluded with an interactive tour of British Gypsum’s Technical Training Academy where delegates saw first-hand the latest innovative products that British Gypsum has brought to market including Gyproc Habito plasterboard, ThistlePro Magnetic and ThistlePro DuraFinish plaster. 

Housing forum tour british gypsum

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