Written Answers — Department for Communities and Local Government: Housing: Construction (16 Dec 2016)

Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential role of timber-framed construction in the Government's plans to increase housebuilding.

Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what proportion of newly built homes of timber-frame construction have been built in each of the last five years.

Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with representatives of the UK timber and wood panel industries on the role UK wood products could play in housebuilding.

 

Gavin Barwell Comptroller (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons), Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

The vast majority of new homes in England are built using traditional brick-and-mortar methods. In its Housing Market Report in October, the National House Building Council stated that timber frame's market share at registration in each of the last five years was as follows:

2011: 13%

2012: 10%

2013: 9%

2014: 8%

2015: 9%

To increase housing supply, we need a diversified housing market where all firms embrace innovation to become more productive and deliver a better product to the consumer. It is not for government to endorse one building technique or material, including timber frame, over another, as long as building standards are met.

Instead, we are encouraging market diversification and promoting the use of modern methods of construction through our housing and planning programmes, including Affordable Homes 2016-21, Build to Rent and Housing Zones, and through our National Planning Practice Guidance.

In October, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government launched the Home Building Fund, which aims to provide further support to builders using modern methods of construction, in addition to custom builders, small and medium-sized builders, and new entrants to the market.

The Secretary of State and I often meet developers and housebuilders, including those who build homes using traditional methods and those who use modern methods of construction, as well as visiting offsite factories and developments where modern methods of construction are used.