Government announces new red tape review of construction sector

Building on the work of the Housing Implementation Task Force, this review will uncover the issues that have the biggest effect on housebuilders and seek the views of smaller firms to understand the unique pressures they face.

The wide-ranging review will capture the experiences of all those involved in building homes, including developers, planners and trade associations.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This review will give housebuilders and smaller construction businesses a powerful voice as part of our £10 billion deregulation drive. Where rules are too complicated, ineffective or poorly enforced, I want to hear about it and the Government will take action. Together we can cut red tape and get Britain building.”

Previously, the Housing and Construction Red Tape Challenge delivered significant reforms and led to a review of local housing standards by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We are determined to remove barriers faced by housebuilders to ensure we continue to keep Britain building as quickly and safely as possible.

“We want to hear the views of firms big and small so we can remove unnecessary red tape and help housebuilders do what they do best, building the homes we need.”

The key starting points for the review are based on the priorities raised by the Task Force:

  • Roads and infrastructure rules for new housing developments
  • Environmental requirements, particularly EU rules such as the Habitats Directive and wider EU environmental permit requirements
  • Rules that affect utilities (such as electricity, gas and water – as well as broadband infrastructure).

The Government is also keen to look at the changes made to the Construction, Design and Management Regulations, as well as any examples of EU rules that are being implemented too strictly.

John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The Government is right to listen to the needs of smaller businesses. In the 1980s, smaller house builders delivered around two thirds of our new homes. Today, it is less than a third. If the Government can encourage small firms back into house building, that would be a major step towards meeting this country’s housing needs.”

The new Cutting Red Tape review will look at the way the law is enforced, as well as whether the rules themselves are proportionate and fit for purpose.

The responses from house builders will lead to government taking concrete steps to remove burdens on business.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said; “As the industry looks to drive further increases in housing supply we welcome moves to reduce unnecessary regulation and the associated costs. Aside from the planning system there are significant other regulatory processes and charges levied on the industry that can adversely affect viability, but also, critically, delay the ability of home builders to get on site and start building. Reducing red tape will bring more sites into play more quickly and so help the industry deliver more desperately needed homes in the coming years.”