Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) (AH 37(a))

  When the CML gave evidence on 28 November we promised to provide a response to the question raised by Alison Seabeck MP regarding Mr Prescott's competition for a £60,000 home and whether any link had been made with the LPS 2020 standard for homes built using modern methods of construction (MMC) being developed by the BRE and the BBA in conjunction with the CML and the ABI.

  Unfortunately there has so far been no link up between LPS 2020 and the £60,000 competition, or indeed the recently announced Code for Sustainable Homes. LPS 2020 has been developed by BRE with close co-operation from the CML and ABI in order to ensure that innovative housing designs achieve a mortgageable standard and that they will be able to attract buildings insurance on normal conditions. As I made clear at our meeting lenders and insurers have consistently voiced concerns to ODPM that there is a risk that the new generation of MMC may reproduce many of the problems associated with previous generations of innovative construction. Much 20th century pre-fabricated social housing, which has leaked into the private housing market via the Right to Buy and other purchase schemes, is beset by defects, often rendering it unmortgageable and presenting additional risks for insurers. It is important that measures are taken to ensure that the future does not resemble the past.

  It was because there was little recognition of, or interest in, lender concerns by ODPM or the Housing Corporation that lenders and insurers decided to tackle the problem directly by sponsoring a certification standard that would provide appropriate comfort and additionally safeguard consumers also. While the Housing Corporation has been involved in the development of LPS 2020, neither they nor ODPM have so far seen fit to integrate this with other work.

  This lack of co-ordination can be seen as part of a larger problem. It has been noted by a number of stakeholders that there are a plethora of codes, standards, kite marks and assurance schemes associated with the building of new homes, with building regulations underlying them all. The CML and others have argued that there is a strong case for rationalisation in this area.

Peter Williams

Deputy Director General

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