HQN Asset Management Network News

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The Asset Management Network routinely looks over the biggest and most relevant news stories, reports and publications for members, covering the latest updates for everyone working in asset management, repairs and maintenance, and environmental issues.

For more expert analysis, briefings and best practice for those involved in the safety of residents and employees, be sure to join the Asset Management Network. You can find out more here.

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Four new members appointed to Homes England’s Board

Four new members have been appointed to the Board of Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator.

Mark Rennison, Olivia Scanlon, Sadie Morgan and Vanessa Murden join the Homes England Board with immediate effect, increasing its gender diversity and boosting its resilience; taking its non-executive members from 6 to 10.

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163 high-rise blocks yet to see removal of Grenfell-style cladding begin despite deadline

Latest statistics from the government’s building safety programme revealed that a total of 145 private residential blocks and 18 social housing blocks have yet to see remediation work begin on them, despite increasing pressure from the government.

Last month, the government said that it expected the removal of all ACM cladding from high-rise blocks to be completed by June 2020 – with social housing blocks to be complete by the end of this year.

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Are Social Housing Green Paper proposals on ice? We look at what has happened since last year

One year ago this week, the government published its long-awaited Social Housing Green Paper. This document, which was overdue, was supposed to be the “most substantial report of its kind for a generation” and deliver a “fundamental rethink of social housing in this country”.

But these lofty aims remain – as yet – unfulfilled.

A consultation on the paper closed in November, with a response and a potential white paper expected in spring. But as we pass the one-year anniversary, we are still waiting.

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Sir Edward Lister resigns as Homes England Chair

Statement regarding the resignation of Homes England’s Chair.

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Barking fire: social tenants told to return despite safety fears

Residents of east London flats say they are being forced back before safety assessments.

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British public tells new government: don’t stop talking about the housing crisis

Almost three-quarters of people across the UK believe there’s a housing crisis – and more than half think we’re not talking about it enough, according to a new survey by Ipsos MORI for CIH.

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Bristol-based associations launch housebuilding academy

Bristol Housing Partnership, a group of 14 housing associations working with the Council to deliver more affordable homes in the city, has launched a pilot training and employment scheme aimed at attracting young people to choose a career in housing development.

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Housing association residents ‘refused’ fire assessments

An independent report, carried out after the Grenfell Tower fire, advised assessments for high-risk flats should be proactively shared with residents. A BBC investigation found only five out of 20 housing associations proactively published them, while some residents say they weren’t shared when requested.

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Association’s financial viability could be hit by huge self-build repair bill

Chisel Housing Association has told residents that it would face financial difficulties in five years’ time if nothing was done to help it contend with the £4.2m bill to repair its 70 self-build homes.

Read more… (registration required)

Second quarter fall in construction activity reverses first quarter growth

Latest ONS figures show that construction output in Great Britain decreased by 1.3% in the second quarter (April to June) of 2019, largely reversing the increase of 1.4% in the first quarter.

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For the full set of statistics from the ONS, click here.

GMB London calls for direct provision of council housing

London receives £2.17bn in housing benefit per year, of which Brent gets the largest share.

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UK housing market at its weakest point in a decade, says Savills

Upmarket property firm blames Brexit uncertainty for putting off would-be buyers

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‘Reverse fridges’ and insulated walls – how to make a house carbon neutral

As the world moves towards a carbon neutral future, many different areas from industry to manufacturing are working to reduce their emissions. But scientists are beginning to look at a different area – houses – to work out if it’s possible to reduce emissions from Europe’s homes to zero by retrofitting on a mass scale. And the early signs are promising.

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£1m grant to trail modular housing in Walsall

Homes are set to be in place later in the year on some of the boroughs unused sites.

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Wales looks at thousands of new council homes by 2040

A new planning framework aims to show where new homes, jobs and services need to be over the next 20 years. Proposals also set out priority areas for large-scale wind and solar energy projects.

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UK risks losing out to Europe in home battery boom, report warns

Controversial tax hike could leave country lagging behind as continent powers ahead.

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England building safety regs are behind other countries, says RIBA

England’s building safety regulations lag behind other countries, including Scotland and Wales, and reforms proposed by the Government need to be reformed, according to architects.

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Manufacturers fear combustibles ban will prevent boiler replacements in high rises

A letter – seen by Inside Housing – from Dr Elaine Lancaster, chief technical officer at Ideal Boilers, says that because boilers use a flue made from combustible material that runs up the outer wall of a building, it would be banned under the new regulation.

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Regulatory system ‘needs more work’ to assure public safety

The call-out follows the launch of the government’s “Building a Safer Future” consultation in June.

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Over half of UK councils declare climate emergency

Since Bristol City Council became the first local local authority to declare a climate emergency in November 2018, more than half of all councils across the UK have followed suit, committing to achieving net-zero carbon emissions in a bid to limit the devastating impacts of climate change.

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Wates sets target of 40% women workforce by 2025

Wates Group has unveiled a set of diversity targets which will see women accounting for 40% of the workforce by 2025.

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Savills: Brexit delay impacts on market activity but there are still active buyers for farmland

Brexit-related uncertainty continues to weigh heavily on farmers’ minds and decisions on releasing land to the market continue to be delayed. However, despite a quiet market, there are active buyers for the right property in the right location and potential sellers would be advised to explore the opportunities.

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FMB: Welsh construction industry is teetering

The pace of growth among local builders in Wales has slowed and enquiries about future projects are starting to dry up, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Cymru.

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What can local authorities to do tackle climate change?

Local authorities have important roles to play in tackling climate change and their communities will take a keen interest in how they fulfil these roles, write Tiffany Cloynes and Clare Hardy of law firm Geldards.

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CEOs urge PM to ‘ensure people prosper’ from £3bn cash boost

Joint letter calls on Johnson to commit to building stronger opportunities for communities across the UK.

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Young Britons believe dream of owning home is over, survey says

Santander survey suggests only a quarter of under-34s could own a home by 2026.

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Construction bosses prepare for downturn

Construction bosses are readying workforces for a downturn – with higher levels of sub-contracting and lower levels of direct employment.

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Liverpool puts forward ‘radical’ £230m Green City Deal bid

The Mayor of Liverpool has pitched the £230m bid to Boris Johnson’s new Government in a bid to boost the city’s economy through new powers and funding, including incentives for the private sector to build more energy-efficient homes.

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Councils ‘could seek criminal action’ against contractor following gas safety issues

Four Kent councils could seek “criminal or legal action” against a contractor that managed gas services for their under-fire ALMO.

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Housing crisis is harming productivity, nearly half of UK businesses warn

Some 43% of UK companies with over 1,000 employees said that housing issues are having a negative effect on their business’ productivity, according to new findings released by the Centre for Social Justice.

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Government hiding behind ‘meaningless’ definitions of affordable housing

Commons debate on future for Local Housing Allowance sees support for sum covering at least the cheapest third of local rents.

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Kier issues another profits warning

Kier Group, which has already lost more than 90% of its value in the past year, has issued its second profits warning in two months.

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House price growth falling in key cities in South of England, growth led by Edinburgh

House prices in 20 key UK cities increased by 1.7% in the 12 months to June 2019 and while some are seeing strong growth, in seven cities the annual rise is less than 1%, the latest index shows.

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UK gets new housing minister as Brokenshire quits

Bad news, James Brokenshire fans: he’s no longer housing minister. The serial announcer, who was busy announcing things right up to the last few hours of Theresa May’s shambolic reign, has been replaced by Robert Jenrick MP, who is the new top dog down at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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Esther McVey will also serve as a junior minister to the new housing minister.

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HQN Podcasts: Raising the standard – taking decent homes to the next level

HQN’s Asset Management Network lead Mike Victory-Rowe speaks with Sandy Livingstone of Onward Homes and Leslie Rudd of the Sustainable Energy Association, and asks: Is the housing sector in a good position to raise the standard of its homes?