New planning laws: Why we need to back British builders

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has limited the power of local politicians to block building developments in what is being heralded as the most radical planning reform in the past 70 years.

The proposals aim to trigger a construction boom that would swiftly provide homes, hospitals and schools, as part of a “build, build, build” strategy. However many critics of the proposals have suggested that the quality of building will be hindered, with some reports going as far as to suggest an emergence of “new slums”.

While the reforms are indeed radical, some of the criticisms do indeed negate the fact the confidence that consumers have in British builders and tradespeople. Figures from yesterday morning’s PMI Construction Index showed that that the UK construction and building sectors are bouncing back strongly, with figures in July increasing a further 3% on the output recorded in June, further demonstrating consumer confidence in the trades.

Ben Dyer, CEO of Powered Now – a mobile-based billing, invoicing and quotation application which specialises in trades – has commented on the implications these reforms will have for SMEs in the trades and why criticisms of the planning undermine the quality of British building.

He said: “Some of the criticisms that have emerged have suggested that the quality of building will be significantly hindered. This is untrue and we need to highlight that construction laws haven’t changed. The workers on these projects are dedicated to their jobs and go through regular and stringent testing to ensure they deliver safe results.

“Trusted tradespeople in the UK remain to be some of the very best in the world, and to suggest that we are heading over a cliff is entirely unfair to the millions of highly-qualified tradespeople in the UK.

“Housebuilding took a real hit during the pandemic, but, with larger demand than available properties, we are hearing that delayed projects are finally coming back. This is good news for the industry as the housing market helps employ thousands of sub-contractors from many different trades. The PMI index demonstrates that consumer confidence is bouncing back, and Brits trust their builders.

“These new rules will also help SMEs in particular to get back on their feet. During lockdown, the domestic home owner / letting market, which accounts for roughly 50% of all work in the SME market, was completely shut during this time. Regular maintenance work which is a staple of the SME space also dried up. Now however, legislation and regulation is strangely helping the market recover.”

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