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Insulation specialist Actis welcomes Theresa May’s £2 billion social housing boost

Photo: Paul Stallard: Candid Pictures

Theresa May’s announcement this week that housing associations would be given an extra £2 billion to fund projects until 2029 have been welcomed by insulation specialist Actis.

The cash injection, which comes on top of £9 billion of funding promised last year, and offered at this week’s National Housing Federation conference, will help pay for 40,000 new homes – a combination of social housing and affordable homes.

Actis, a staunch advocate of offsite construction, says it hopes many of these new homes will be of a timber frame construction – because they are both faster to build and require fewer skilled man hours to construct.

Regional sales director Jemma Harris from Actis, whose Hybrid insulation, vapour control layer and breather membrane system is a popular choice for timber frame manufacturers, explained: “Building homes as quickly as possible – without losing quality or thermal efficiency – is vital to help us create much needed homes as soon as we can.

“Building a timber frame house is around 30% faster than making one from brick and block. With a shrinking workforce and the likelihood that this situation will worsen in the light of Brexit, the offsite option is a sensible way forward.

“Elements such as wiring, plumbing and insulation take place in the factory – our insulation systems take between 25 and 50% less time to install than traditional alternatives – which all helps to speed up the process.”

Theresa May said the long timeframe for the funding would enable housing associations to feel secure in planning ahead, help them leverage private finance to build even more homes, and take the lead in major developments rather than acquiring a proportion of the properties built by commercial developers.

She famously added that people shouldn’t feel stigmatised by living in social housing – and suggested new homes should be no different from those created for the private sector.