This week I heard about a truly global housing partnership: a Chinese construction firm has joined forces with a UK housing association to deliver 25,000 pre-fab homes built by a Spanish design team. The £2.5bn deal aims to 'transform' the UK’s housing needs.
Despite having worked in the housing industry for 25 years, I still get excited about new projects like this. I firmly believe we need innovation on this level to help plug the UK’s so-called ‘housing gap’. The sheer scale of this project fascinates me. Just imagine the magnitude of it…
Concerns about how the UK is falling woefully short of its housebuilding target are voiced regularly by Government and housebuilding industry. Yet here is a great example of how joint, innovative thinking can tackle the perennial problem.
This massive project prompted me to consider not just the differences between large and small developments, but the similarities. Fundamental aspects – like planning, partners and process – elements that affect all housing developments whatever their size.
All this pondering brought home (no pun intended) the fact we need to tackle the UK housing problem from all angles – we need to think about macro and micro solutions. The problem can’t be left to the giant corporations to solve nor can it be put on the shoulders of small developers. It requires collaborative thinking from a wide range of smart companies that can each bring their own expertise.
I firmly believe that companies need to think laterally and look to collaborate to help ease the UK’s housing shortage. This is an exciting project which must be built on with similar projects going forward.