With a welcome speech by Housing Minister Alok Sharm, the Right To Build Task Force‘s first Expo on the 18 September was a resounding success. The sold out event was attended by an audience of planners, developers, architects and financiers eager to benefit from the speakers’ experiences and build synergies within the sector.
NaCSBA Chair, Michael Holmes (pictured right, with Alok Sharma), introduced the event, the first of 12 expo’s planned by the RTB Task Force. He discussed the Task Force’s role in, “making custom build a mainstream choice for housing delivery”.
Task Force Director Mario Wolf explained the mechanism used to engage with the Task Force, and also in what ways it was able to help councils, community projects and private enterprise.
With incredibly positive addresses by Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma, and MP Richard Bacon, the event further confirmed the Government’s commitment to custom build housing.
Sharma said, “I am delighted to be part of the very first Right to Build Expo today, which is a fantastic demonstration of government and industry working together to help this sector go from strength to strength.”
“Having seen Graven Hill recently it’s a fantastic exemplar of what can be achieved with self and custom build….We are really committed to the route, and we’d like to double the 10,000 people who build using this model anually.
“Local councils and developers are going to be giving people the opportunity to [self and custom build] in a really manageable way….With custom build, you get what you want out of a home, offering choice and quality.
“I think what [the sector] is doing is really innovative and is really brilliant. Over the next few years we will see custom and self-build start to really deliver in terms of housing, the types of homes people want to live in and the places they want to live in. I think that you’ll all agree that high-quality homes are something that we need a lot more of.”
However, he also pointed out that he felt that more should be done to publicise the registers: “The demand is there, but I suspect a lot of people don’t know that the Right To Build Registers exist.”
Speakers over the day shared their experience about a range of successful projects, both in the UK and Nieuw Leyden in The Netherlands, as well as finance options and panel discussions.
The day included opportunities to network, talk to exhibitors and take part in a range of surgeries, as well as the option to visit Graven Hill.
For lists of upcoming Right To Build Task Force Expos, visit the Right To Build Toolkit.
That the Government is so behind custom build is amazing. It acknowledges the challenges for custom build but also the very real need for an alternative route to market than spec built homes. This is definitely about additionality, in no way will custom build replace volume house building, but it now firmly part of the armoury for fixing the ‘broken’ housing market.
The Task Force’s expos will really help spread the word to larger audiences, and this knowledge will hopefully have a ripple effect that encompasses a whole host of councils yet to embark on their own custom build activity.