The house-building sector is dominated by the big players. Twenty-five years ago small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) built two thirds of new houses. Today SME builders account for just a third.
At an event hosted by the National Federation of Builders (NFB) and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) at the Conservative party conference yesterday, housing minister Mark Prisk called for an increased contribution from SMEs to the housing market.
Mr Prisk said that the government had sought involve SMEs in housebuilding by selling off public sector land in smaller chunks, but he recognised the the need to make markets more dynamic, thus involving a wider range of partners.
National Federation of Builders chief executive Julia Evans said: “The current government has actually done a lot to promote housebuilding but more has to be done to encourage partnerships in the industry.”
Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry said that better incentives were needed to encourage wider SME involvement in housebuilding.
He added that 60% of FMB members considered access to finance a large problem for SMEs, and tax was also an issue for them. He said that community infrastructure contributions should not be levied on smaller developments of fewer than 10 plots.
“The government has got it right on the demand side, but we now need to look at the supply,” Mr Berry said.