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Devolution could address the housing crisis

Devolution could address the housing crisis

The RIBA is urging the government to align its Industrial Strategy that is intended to ‘rebalance the economy’, with the recently published Housing White Paper and ongoing devolution deals.

The call is made in the RIBA’s response to the government’s Industrial Strategy paper issued earlier this year to which the new government has said it remains committed.

Devolution deals could support housing development and better procurement across the country.

‘Devolution deals have opened up significant opportunities for local or combined authorities to take the lead in developing stronger economies and overcoming barriers, by supporting greater housing development, better procurement and more targeted support for businesses across the country,’ the response says.

The RIBA says it is also looking forward to more information about the government’s proposed ‘Team UK’ approach to winning contracts abroad, which it hopes will provide greater support for practices, particularly smaller practices.

The majority of the UK’s exports in architecture are generated by large practices of more than 50 people, although vastly more small practices have said they would be interested in working more overseas. The RIBA proposes that in order to achieve this, small practices should be given more opportunities to showcase their talent in new markets and should have ready access to well-targeted support.

Addressing skills, the RIBA takes the opportunity to remind the government of the crucial role played by the mutual recognition agreement with the EU that has reduced barriers to hiring skills and talent from other EU states. These agreements should be used to boost the export of architectural services, the response says, by developing them further in other key markets.

The RIBA says it is also looking forward to the promised independent review on a sector deal for the UK’s creative industries, to be led by Sir Peter Bazalgette. As a member of the Creative Industries Council it is working to support the development of the sector deal, which it wants to see with ‘places’ and communities at its heart.

While the Industrial Strategy paper may not have been on every architect’s must-read list this year, David Miller, RIBA BIM champion and Creative Director of this year’s Guerrilla Tactics, says the industry will be watching developments carefully.

‘At first glance it may not seem directly relevant to the work of architects. However, the themes within offer an indication of the direction of travel and are quickly being picked up by the wider industry.

‘Big construction companies are all ears at the mention of MMC, offsite and investment in R&D funding. These developments will filter through to architects, so we should engage proactively with them now and over the long term,’ says Miller.

The RIBA is continuing to feed in as the government further consults on the strategy.

Thanks to David Miller, Director & Principal Architect, David Miller Architects.

Text by Neal Morris. This is a ‘Practice News’ post edited by the RIBA Practice team. The team would like to hear your feedback and ideas for Practice News: practice@riba.org

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