THE FEDERATION OF MASTER Builders (FMB) has called for support for smaller house builders following the publication of a report which criticised the design quality of new English housing developments.
According to the report “A Housing Audit For England”, published by Place Alliance, CPRE and UCL, the design of new housing environments in England is “overwhelmingly … mediocre or poor.”
The audit looked at 142 housing developments in England and follows similar audits in 2004 and 2007 and covers seventeen design considerations.
There were a number of measures the audit looked at, with developments generally succeeding in designing for safety and security, as well as variety.
However developments are reported to be not doing well for character and sense of place, walkability and car-dependence, highways and environmental impacts among others.
The audit cites large developers as having the greatest inconsistencies for design quality, with different developments by the same builder scoring high and low across the country.
Responding, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB said: Today’s report shows the impacts of thirty years of market consolidation, which has squeezed out the small builder. SME house builders have to compete on quality rather than volume, so it is hardly surprising that a broken housing market dominated by a handful of major developers is failing to deliver what homeowners want and need.
“To get SME builders back into the housing market we need to tackle the barriers of land supply, access to finance and a simpler planning system.
“Greater diversity in our housing market will not only help deliver better quality homes, but happier people as recent FMB research shows that homeowners are twice as likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of their new build home if it is built by a small builder than one of the top 20 firms.”