Sep 20, 2016
London is one of the cultural and economic capitals of the world, and despite Brexit fears it’s unlikely to lose that status anytime soon. The biggest problem London faces for continued growth and excellence isn’t related to independence, but an ever worsening housing crisis.
With a current population of around 8.7 million, the city is struggling to keep up with the demand for affordable housing. It’s been suggested that we need to build 50,000 homes a year to tackle the problem, but statistics from 2015 and 2016 show that only 27,000 new homes are created annually.
In the face of this large deficit the potential for property developers is huge.
Recovering wasted spaces
Recent research by Policy Exchange has revealed that there are over 500 hectares of unused or poorly utilised industrial land in London – that’s the equivalent space of 750 football pitches. Sustained and innovative redevelopment of this land could provide 420,000 additional homes for London by 2036.
To fund such a largescale regeneration project, research suggests that a combination of continued government investment and the involvement of private sector partners is necessary.
The opportunity for involvement from keen property developers is clear, but the main problem in the way of this solution lies with the construction industry.
Managing the skills shortage
A serious skills shortage within the construction industry is drastically slowing down vital infrastructure work, with bricklayers and quantity surveyors proving the hardest to find.
Calls to manage this deficiency are growing louder, with mounting demands for local councils to invest in apprenticeships and long-term training programmes to draw school leavers and graduates to a career in construction.
In the meantime, the delays caused by a shortage of quality labourers mean that only half the necessary houses are built each year in London. The effect is that hundreds of thousands of people are still without homes, and the construction industry is left haemorrhaging vital expertise and money.
Satisfying green requirements
Continuing in this manner with lower skilled workers and tightening building deadlines, London’s construction industry runs the risk of increasingly sloppy environmental standards.
Addressing the housing crisis in an efficient but eco-friendly way should be the top concern for investors and developers interested in becoming part of a sustainable and profitable business.
This can be as simple as using industrial cleaning services before and after construction work to limit the damaging effects of leaks or dust pollution, ensuring that all building materials are non-toxic, and installing green energy solutions during redevelopment.
But there’s a construction method quickly gaining recognition and respect within the industry that could prove a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly answer to the housing crisis – pre-fabricated housing.
It hasn’t been hugely popular in the past, but recent efforts from companies like Cube Housing Solution are much more sophisticated. Modern pre-fabs are eco-friendly, speedy and stylish, so they’re definitely worth consideration for new building projects.
With London in dire need of thousands of new homes, investing in sustainable redevelopment of unused industrial land could prove a lucrative and worthwhile business venture.