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This week, Advantage has been taking a look at the All Party Parliamentary Group for SME House Builders’ calls for the creation of a new SME Homes England which understands the sector and is sympathetic to it.

As reported by Housebuilder, this recommendation is one of the key findings of a new report launched this week by the APPG for SME House Builders, which examines how Homes England can work with SME builders to deliver more new homes.

Advantage has written previously about how SMEs have fared during the pandemic, and about the government’s ambitious housebuilding targets.

The need to build a team of people who understand the sector

officeSeveral of the report’s conclusions and recommendations, gathered from evidence from a wide range of SME housebuilders, call for Homes England to build a team of people who understand the sector and empathise with it. These include introducing Development Managers who would help SMEs navigate the intricacies of the agency which can be “time consuming” and “impossible”.

PBC Today has previously highlighted some of the complexities facing SME housebuilders.

The recommendations also include ensuring that the structure of Homes England is led and delivered by people who know how to deliver and build new homes, acknowledging that the new chair, Peter Freeman, is such a person.

The report, ‘Homes England and SME housebuilders: How can the agency work with SMEs to build more homes’ is sponsored by SME housebuilder Larkfleet Homes.

The need for greater recognition of the challenges facing SMEs

Group chairman Karl Hick writes in the report:

“Homes England provides much-needed funding, innovation, advice, and support facilitating home building as we aim for the government’s 300,000 homes a year target.

“However, I think there needs to be a greater recognition and understanding of the challenges facing SMEs. Structural reorganisation and a renewed emphasis on building collaborative relationships with SMEs would help Homes England develop more tailored support.”

Increasing productivity and success

bricksChair of the APPG, Andrew Lewer MP, added:

“We are in a time of great change and trauma for the economy. Housebuilding and especially SME housebuilders should be a solid core and a platform for stable growth in such a time, when so much else is uncertain.

“This will only be achieved if the finance and planning and facilitation from the government’s chief delivery vehicle for the sector is flexible and responsive enough to seize the opportunity. This report provides ideas from those with the experience and knowledge to bring to Homes England an immensely increased level of productivity and success.”

Other recommendations in the report include the extension of Help to Buy, the reduction of red tape to give SMEs the “freedom to build” and more forward funding of infrastructure.

Advantage’s view: Advantage provides structural warranties for many SME housebuilders, and our team sees first-hand the major contribution that they make to the construction sector as a whole. Addressing some of the barriers that SMEs in this sector face – from negotiating a complex planning system to accessing finance – plays an important role in strengthening the sector as a whole, while facilitating the creation of new housing stock.

Do you require a structural warranty for your project? The AHCI team is proud to work with clients on developments throughout the UK, adhering to all social distancing guidelines to ensure that projects are covered by the appropriate structural warranty. To find out more, call: 0845 900 3969 or email: sales@ahci.co.uk