Fiona Fletcher-Smith, group director development and sales at L&Q, expressed her strong concerns regarding the banking sectors apparent reluctance to provide financial funding for, in particular, offsite projects. Warning that the banks reluctance posed a serious threat to the progress of housing portfolios that featured offsite construction methods.
Speaking at this years Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference in Manchester, Fiona said, “We need to make sure there’s a better conversation about what’s going on with the banks, If we cannot secure debt against these portfolios then we will not make this work.”
She stressed that her own Housing Association would need to use modern methods of construction in order to meet their target of 100,000 new homes over the next ten years.
Fiona continued, “In the next few months, you will hear much more from L&Q about how MMC will be a major part of that journey.” L&Q signed a deal in February with Stewart Milne Timber Systems to deliver frames for more than 1,500 homes, demonstrating its commitment to offsite methods.
She told delagates that she believed MMC would improve the quality of new housing and sited an L&Q home build by traditional methods where sprinklers had not been connected to the water system and nor fire alarms to the electricity, thus rendering them useless, “We are putting people’s lives at risk and it’s not good enough,”
She said that although offsite manufacturing was still expensive, the improved quality could result in long-term savings. “It’s the long-term management costs that matter to us as well,” she concluded. “I see MMC as saving more over the whole life cycle of a building.”