Mayor Khan: The Answer to Making London Affordable?

In any built-up urban area, space is at a premium. This is no more true than in London, which was recently listed as one of the ten most expensive places in the world to rent a property, with the average rent equaling 50.4% of the average national income.

As one of the construction industry’s key focus areas, ongoing residential growth is of great importance, especially given that the country is experiencing a housing shortage, due to both a lack of new project starts and unattainably high rental and sale prices.

New developments to be ‘affordable’

Recognising this issue, the new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has called for more than 50% of homes in some new developments to be ‘affordable’, as well as suggesting that homes should be advertised to local residents before being promoted more widely, in order to put a stop to what Mr Khan describes as “greedy developers wishing to get maximum bang for their buck”.

By preventing overseas investors from buying expensive homes only to leave them empty, Khan hopes to provide much-needed housing for local residents, which will also have a positive impact on the available workforce.

Skills Shortage in Construction

It’s a well-known fact that the construction industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage, with uptake for both apprenticeships and construction-related degrees remaining low. Given London is a major area for redevelopment, it’s vital that housing is provided for the workers who will carry out this task, as extensive commuting to and from a site will undoubtedly reduce the appeal of a role.

At the FDS Group, a large amount of our projects are based in London, ranging from high-end to affordable residential developments, as well as mixed-use and commercial properties. We even have our own London office to bring us closer to some of our key clients.

By creating a fairer and more balanced London housing market, the entire construction industry, and London’s economy, can benefit, with more people being able to live and work in London, supporting its many industries.

Of course, Boris Johnson’s previous stewardship of the mayoral office has seen the creation of a large number of substantial new developments.

A Shift in Attitudes

While this will change the London skyline for generations to come, there are some who feel that these projects are targeted more towards wealthy foreign investors than locals looking for an affordable home. Therefore, improving the ratio of affordable housing may require a shift in attitudes, rather than just the appointment of a new official.

As is the case in any business, profitability plays a substantial part in construction, and affordable properties are often less profitable than their more luxurious counterparts. By working together, the industry can help to change this, providing value-engineered solutions which make lower-cost residential spaces viable.

From the FDS Group’s perspective this means providing the most appropriate fire safety solutions from the earliest possible stage. By working alongside developers and contractors, fire engineers can help to greatly reduce project costs and increase available space, while maximising safety.

Find out how FDS Consult can help with your fire engineering requirements here.

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