House building registrations in the UK have hit a seven year high with the private sector continuing to lead growth.
According to the latest NHBC statistics registration in the third quarter jumped 8% year-on-year and were 3% up on the previous quarter.
These registration levels are the strongest third quarter since 2007, and the highest number seen this year, NHBC said.
Private homes registrations shot up 14% to 28,468, while public sector homes fell 8% to 7,875 against the same period a year ago.
The NHBC put the public sector fall down to a hiatus between Affordable Housing Programme funding tranches.
NHBC chief Mike Quinton,said: “We are very encouraged to see that house building is again beginning to show signs of accelerated growth across the UK.
“Following the dramatic growth in 2013, we saw a period of consolidation in the first half of this year, but our latest data would suggest that the pace of growth is picking up again.
He added: “Our figures show that the sharp housing upturn we have seen over the last couple of years is a genuine broad-based recovery across the whole of the country, with pockets of strong growth in the North East, Yorkshire & Humberside and West Midlands.
“It is now increasingly apparent that housing growth is no longer London and south east centric, with these regions beginning to show signs of cooling.
“However we must not lose sight of the fact that the UK still has a chronic shortage of new homes,” said Quinton.
“We have seen over recent weeks that all the main political parties regard housing as an ongoing key issue, reinforcing the fact that the country urgently needs more high quality and affordable new homes.”
Local Authority Building Control and the Modern Masonry Alliance have teamed up to draw up a free set of off-the-shelf design details to minimise heat loss at weak junction points in the building envelope.
The suite of 250 registered masonry construction details is being targeted at smaller and medium-sized builders.
Their use will allow builders a cost-effective means to drawn up designs and specifications that achieve or even surpass required performance standards. The solution-based construction template will also prevent accidental flaws causing energy to leak.
It also means that building owners can also be assured of lower heat loss, fewer occurrences of condensation - and associated mould - and a healthier atmosphere. Construction joints came under the spotlight after research showed they are the most vulnerable areas in the building envelope to thermal bridging, allowing heat to leak out while creating problem cold spots internally.
The Government, Zero Carbon Hub and several trade industry trade bodies and manufacturers have pushed for packaged construction details showing how the design, specification of materials and construction of construction joints should be accomplished.
LABC Chief Executive Paul Everall said: “We welcomed the Modern Masonry Alliance when they approached us.
“We have many SME customers and we know they need packaged advice that has already been calculated and examined.
“We are able to provide help in this and it will streamline the plan checking and site inspections performed by our building control surveyors.
He added: “Architects and contractors have a huge desire to get things right and this will help them in a very practical way without increasing their costs. Everybody wins, including the building owners and eventual users.”
Mike Leonard, chief executive of MMA, said: “Greater participation of local builders is vital if we are to see the massive uplift in new home delivery by 2020 we need to address the growing housing crisis.
“This scheme will make it easier for builders of all sizes to select registered construction details that offer cost effective compliance with the recent changes to regulations.
“We know that LABC provides a service to many thousands of local builders throughout England and Wales and we hope to encourage those designing, specifying and constructing buildings to use pre-registered solutions.”
The new LABC Registered Construction Details will be relevant in England, Wales and Scotland, though there are differences in the calculations due to variations in thermal legislation between the three nations.
LABC and the Modern Masonry Alliance intend to continue to develop further Registered Construction Details to include other elements of the building regulations so that customers can find holistic designs.
Scottish house builder Cala has revealed ambitious plans for a three-fold rise in turnover by 2016, after posting record results for 2014.
The firm, which acquired Banner Homes in March, said it now ranked among the UK’s top 10 house builders and would seek to expand in the south east of England.
During the year to June, the group more than doubled pre-tax profits to £27m from £12.6m the year before.
Completions over the the year remained broadly flat at 677. But a sharp rise in average selling prices from £335,000 to £423,000 helped to lift turnover 22% to £294m.
The big rise in selling price was driven by a change in site mix, sales inflation and Banner’s higher ASP.
Operating margin was also up to 13.6% from 10.2% the year before.
Following the Banner acquisition, Cala is operating from three regional centres in Scotland and five in England.
Turnover in this financial year is expected to top £500m after a full year contribution from Banner.
Alan Brown, Chief Executive of Cala Group, said the targeted rise in turnover by 2016 would be driven by increasing the level of development activity in the East of Scotland and Aberdeen where CALA’s existing landbank is already very strong and through the group’s south east of England operations where there was significant unmet demand for upmarket homes.
Cala’s owned and contracted landbank rose 27% to 12,690 plots with a potential gross development value of £4.7bn, up 48%.
Net bank debt has risen from £40m in 2013 to £142m resulting in gearing of 45% at year end.
Brown added: “Our growth plans are underpinned by the strength of our landbank, and the quality of our development locations with 81% of the projected profit to be delivered through our business plans in the next four years already owned, contracted or with deal terms agreed.
“We have entered the new financial year in a very positive position thanks to strong forward sales and, with a stable market backdrop, I am very excited about Cala’s prospects for the year ahead which will deliver our first year of significant volume growth since the implementation of our new growth strategy.”
New homes "Think Tank", The Futures Group, details how to rise to the challenge of delivering better homes for the consumer.
Contributors to The Futures Group include leading experts from national house builders, manufacturers and regulatory bodies.
The UK Government has set out an ambitious plan for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016. The Zero Carbon Hub is here to help you understand the challenges, issues and opportunities involved in developing, building and marketing your low and zero carbon homes. www.zerocarbonhub.org