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London Assembly Planning Committee report urges Mayor to back offsite manufacturing for meeting housing need in capital  

A new report,  published on behalf of the London Assembly Planning Committee, urges the Mayor Sadiq Khan to get behind offsite construction.

Factory-built homes could be the key to delivering the 50,000 homes a year that the capital needs to meet demand, says ‘Designed, sealed, delivered: The contribution of offsite manufactured homes to solving London’s housing crisis’.

The report’s recommendations to the Mayor include providing clear and strong leadership in raising the awareness of offsite construction’s potential; working towards defining and adopting a Manufactured Housing Design Code, looking at the potential of using TfL-owned land to stimulate the offsite manufacturing sector and setting up a dedicated offsite manufacturing-specific procurement framework for London.

“Meeting London’s housebuilding target is a huge task and traditional construction techniques will only take us so far. Offsite Manufactured Housing is an innovative, forward-looking and exciting way to close the gap,” said Nicky Gavron AM, Chair of the London Assembly Planning Committee.

A wide variety of homes can be built offsite to meet the needs of families with children, older people and single households she said with benefits including speed of build and fewer vehicles needed to transport materials to site, as well as shallow foundations, lightweight construction and acoustic performance, which lend themselves to constrained sites.

“These buildings are high quality and outstanding in terms of performance. Their construction is more environmentally-friendly than traditional construction methods and they are a far cry from their prefabricated predecessors,” she added. “Few will disagree that using vacant public land to build homes quickly and with less pollution and disruption could be great news for London, tailored to demands at every price point.

“The lack of a single design standard or mass market demand has held back the sector’s growth. This is a once in a generation opportunity to work collaboratively with investors, developers and policy makers at a time where experts, central and local government are all calling for the same thing to happen. The Mayor is ideally placed to respond to the report’s recommendations and call to action.”

Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast Consultancy and author of the Farmer Review, added:
“This timely report sends an unequivocal message to the Mayor of London that now is the time to show strong political leadership to establish a mainstream precision manufactured housing market in the capital. It could underpin ambitions not just for housing, but wider economic growth.”

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