Industry Conference – The reality of mortgage lending in the new housebuilding landscape

The conference, billed as the first conference of its kind to help lenders understand the reality of mortgage lending in the new housebuilding landscape was organised by BuildStore Financial Services, the self build, renovation and conversion mortgage specialists and was held at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon on March 15th.

A packed audience of heads of lending, valuers, risk managers, surveyors and mortgage policy managers and those involved in setting mortgage strategy attended the free conference to debate the issues surrounding lending policy, and how it matches up with the practical realities of housebuilding regulation.

Modern Methods of Construction – More industry decision makers are recognising the significant benefits of modern methods of construction (MMC): better products and processes, and improved business efficiency, quality, customer satisfaction, and environmental performance.

Eco building – The introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2007 marked a step-change in sustainable home building. Eco building techniques, natural building fabrics and renewable energy technology will now be required to meet the Code standards.

Self Build –  A lack of suitable and affordable homes is driving the interest in the self build and self procurement sector, and with the Government’s Localism Bill, building your own home is set to become more accessible and more appealing.

The Conference:

Paul Broadhead from the Building Societies Association (BSA) the trade association representing mutual lenders and deposit takers in the UK including all 48 UK building societies started the conference by stating that he was keen to unblock the barriers to finance.

Tim Doherty, from the National Self Build & Renovation Centre took delegates through an excellent presentation on Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) & Eco Building.

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) & Eco Building

MMC are increasingly favoured as a means of improving quality, reducing time spent on site, and overcoming skills shortages. The eco agenda has also made an impact on construction, with sustainable materials and techniques becoming more popular.  The presentations demonstrated the most common MMC and eco building techniques and the current mortgage lending policies which led in to Simon Middleton from Build Zone presenting a structural warranty providers view on these new methods of house building.

MMC and Ecobuild – A Structural Warranty Providers Perspective

The Build-Zone 10 Year Structural Warranty is DCLG designated warranty scheme provider with provision available for housing, social housing, commercial development, completed and self-build properties.

Build-Zone offer a flexible and competitive approach to warranty provision in all sectors of the construction and building industry, including those working on MMC and Ecobuild projects.

Simon explained how MMC and Ecobuilding projects are able to get Structural Warranty Provision, an insurance policy which covers:

  • defects in design, workmanship and materials causing major damage
  • defective weatherproofing
  • drainage
  • health & safety of occupants
  • contaminated land
  • loss of deposit

MMC and Ecobuild projects can easily obtain cover, largely due to their dedicated technical service company ‘SurveyorLink’ the Build-Zone partner approved inspector scheme – which audits the project at various stages.  Simon explained the technical audit process used and highlighted the risk transfer and claim trends for MMC and ecobuild projects, he surprised the audience by telling them that they had seen no MMC or Eco Build related claim notifications.

Simon concluded:

“Traditional building methods continue to produce workmanship claims on a low frequency basis.

MMC and Eco Building are definitely here for the long term and should be subject to exactly the same risk management and long term understanding as we place on traditional methods of construction”.

To speak to one of Build-Zone’s Structural Warranty experts, call 0845 230 9873 or visit

Other presentations included:

Bicester Ecotown

Tim Fenn from P3Eco Limited the consortium responsible for building the homes at the Bicester Eco Town Development, took delegates through an entertaining presentation on the development of North West Bicester Ecotown in Oxfordshire, including its renewable energy strategy, Green Economic Development, and meeting building energy performance standards.

Building Regulations & the Code for Sustainable Homes

Housing accounts for more than 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions, putting sustainability at the top of the housebuilding agenda.  The Government has pledged to tackle a third of the UK’s carbon emissions from housing by 2050; from 2016 all new homes will be built to a new zero-carbon standard via The Code for Sustainable Homes, and by 2020, seven million homes will have been upgraded to significantly improve their energy performance.   The presentation highlighted the impact that this will this have on the housebuilding industry, and what it means for mortgage lending policy.

Self Build Lending & Risk Management – Rachel Pyne, BuildStore Financial Services

Delegates were taken step-by-step though the self build housing market, and shown how, with new-found political support, the market is poised to become mainstream.  Lenders were warned to act now, to benefit from high quality low-risk lending in this sector with radical new risk management processes.

Community Right to Build & Localism

As an alternative housing procurement model, self build has been gaining political recognition. In August 2010, Housing Minister Grant Shapps announced the Community Right to Build (CRtB) Scheme. Delegates found out more about the scheme, the new planning policy and Regional Spatial Strategies – what it means for housebuilding, and about the funding challenges.

Affordable Housing

Tighter budgets and a struggling private housebuilding sector has led to concerns being raised about the future of the supply of affordable homes. This session looked at the models that can be used to deliver affordable housing and how home ownership can be structured and funded.

During the conference, breakout sessions were expertly organised by the team at the Self Build & Renovation Centre.  These sessions included a building systems walking seminar, where, after hearing about MMC and eco building in the presentations, delegates were given a unique opportunity to see eight MMC building systems in the Centre’s Education Zone.  In life-size detail, including Timber Frame, Thin Joint System, Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF), Steel Frame & SIPS. Tim Doherty led the seminar, explaining, and answering questions on each method in more detail.

Delegates were then able to explore Europe’s most varied display of building materials and systems in the Centre’s Trade Village, a collection of over 250 exhibitors.  They then met and spoke to a range of specialist manufacturers and suppliers of the latest MMC systems and eco building materials, in the Centre’s dedicated exhibitor area.