by Jez Sweetland and Jessie Wilde, Bristol Housing Festival
Earlier this year, we were delighted to work with Goram Homes on their Innovation Action Plan, which centred around five main themes: connected homes, low carbon houses, assisted living, modern construction methods and innovative finance. Goram Homes has been established as an important part of Bristol City Council’s housing strategy to help deliver better quality homes at pace – as a wholly owned entity of Bristol City Council it is a city partner that can help Bristol deliver more of the housing that the city actually needs.
Each of these themes are connected to their ambition that its homes will be an enabler for improving the health and well-being of the residents of Bristol, a goal that we both share. At the Bristol Housing Festival, we believe that innovation is a key to unlocking housing in the city, and are pleased to support Goram Homes in the delivery of much-needed houses in Bristol. Below is a brief look at these themes. Underpinning each of them is the recognition that it’s necessary to innovate not only in how we build homes, but in how we do community consultation and engagement – ensuring it is open, transparent and inclusive.
According to Building Research Establishment (BRE), poor quality housing costs the NHS £1.4bn per year due to building related hazards. Goram Homes plan to partner with universities to align projects with research on health, wellbeing and improved energy efficiency. Particularly, this will focus on gaining an understanding of residents’ experience and lead to opportunities to build with the Internet of Things in mind.
Low Carbon Houses
In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels. Goram Homes aim to ensure that their projects are future-proofed by making low carbon a core delivery commitment. They also aim to explore lifetime costs and how Bristol City Council’s Social Value Policy can point to wider benefits.
One quarter (24.7%) of disabled people in 2019 rented social housing, compared with just 8.2% of non-disabled people, therefore accessibility is key in social housing. Good design and well-proportioned homes work well for both assisted living and family life. Goram aims to consult with important stakeholders in this areas so all its schemes carefully consider and plan for the accessibility of their housing.
Modern Construction Methods
Based purely on existing workforce age and current levels of new entrant attraction, we could see a 20-25% decline in the available labour force within a decade. We’re also facing a significant housing shortage. Goram Homes will work to support the South West to become the UK’s leading region in the delivery of MMC, which will open up new jobs, and deliver quality, carbon neutral housing at pace.
More than 8million people in England – around 1 in 7 – are living in an unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable home. According to National Housing Federation research there are 3.6m people living in overcrowded homes, 2.5m people can’t afford their rent or mortgage and 2.5m adults are living with parents, with an ex-partner, or with friends because they can’t afford to move out. Goram Homes will partner with others to explore new tenure models that address land cost issues, and explore new funding opportunities to create more affordability.
We look forward to continuing to partner with Goram Homes to see innovation help address the key housing challenges in our city and celebrating and sharing good news as the journey develops.