Industry News

WikiHouse movement could help UK fix its housing crisis

According to a growing number of experts, WikiHouse could revolutionise the construction industry, helping the UK tackle its endemic housing crisis.

Born as an open source building system, WikiHouse movement is focused on building an online database of timber frame building designs, which developers or individuals can download for free.

The prototype UK WikiHouse project, WikiHouse 4.0, was built at the Building Centre in London in 2014 featuring a design by Arup and Alistair Parvin of Zero Zero Architects, with a frame made of SmartPly OSB3.

"The Government has pledged to build 400,000 homes over the life of this Parliament and there is currently little sign of that being delivered", underlined Mike Harrison, Marketing Magaer at Coillte Panel Products, a company specialised in SmartPly Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and Medite Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) production. "There needs to be alternative visionary on how this will happen and WikiHouse is one route that needs to be taken more seriously. As part of an affordable answer to the problem, OSB can provide a cost-effective construction solution which also has a credible sustainability story behind it, in the case of SmartPly OSB3 offering full FSC accreditation."

Allegedly, WikiHouse could reduce build costs by up to two-thirds, which is why housing associations have begun to take a keen interest faced with a reduction in rent income as Right to Buy is extended. South Yorkshire Housing Association is one of the first to take it forward with a plan to build a pilot home in the village of Darnall, again to a design by Alastair Parvin. The housing association is looking to construct it for around £50,000.

Crest Nicholson is Housebuilder of the Year

Crest Nicholson has been awarded Housebuilder of the Year at the Housebuilder Awards 2015 in London.

A2Dominion won medium sized Housebuilder of the Year, while Larkfleet conquered the small Housebuilder of the Year award.

Crest Nicholson won the Best community initiative award and also picked up the award for Best design (four storeys or more) for its Townhouse Collection at Bath Riverside. Fabrica by A2Dominion won Best low or zero carbon initiative for Elmsbrook at NW Bicester.

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TRA optimistic about the new housing figures in England

Good news for the housing market in England. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the number of homes started in Q1 is 11% up on Q1 2013 and 41% up on Q1 2011; 40,340 new homes started in England in Q1; 34,210 homes were completed in Q1, the highest number since Q4 2008.

"Nonetheless, these figures could not be completely satisying", underlined TRA (Trussed Rafter Association) Director Nick Boulton. "In fact the 137,310 new homes started in 2014 are still a long way short of the 230,000 ones we need in England alone". 

"TRA members are ready and waiting to help bridge this gap", Boulton added. "We have the necessary credentials to meet the increasing demand for both offsite and on onsite construction".

UK house price keeps on accelerating, ONS reports

UK house prices keep on growing with a 9.6% boost at the end of March, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports. The general flatness of consumer prices seems not to affect the housing market where the annual rate of increase accelerated again from 7.4% of February 2015. 

According to the ONS, the prices rise is partly due to the boost of house price inflation in Scotland (+14.6%). Significantly annual property price increases in the East of England (11.4%), London (11.2%) and the South East of England (11.2%). 

The ONS figures show that the cost of the average UK home in March was £273,000, ranging from £498,000 in London to £145,000 in Northern Ireland. Buyers incurred 61,300 home loans in the first three months of 2015.