Published 4 July 2006
The UK Government has been running a competition to design houses costing less than Â£60,000 and the first winners are under construction. Last week it published Design for manufacture lessons learnt, highlighting the 10 main lessons learnt from the competition and providing detail on the winning & commended schemes.
The mid-rate on Â£60,000 at the moment is just over $180,000 and the minimum house size was 76.5mÂ², putting the construction cost at $2350/mÂ². There’s more to a cost comparison than an exchange rate, but the average cost of new-home construction in New Zealand in May was $1181/mÂ² and the average size just on 200mÂ², putting the average new-home cost at $235,400 â€“ 160% more house for 33% more money.
But the UK’s national regeneration agency, English Partnerships, called the exercise “proof that the UK housebuilding industry is capable of responding to the challenges of 21st century living by creating good quality homes” within that target construction cost.
Housing & Planning Minister Yvette Cooper said: “There is a clear need for more good quality affordable housing across the country. The success of the Design for Manufacture competition has been to show that you can improve quality and cut costs at the same time. Now, we want far more builders, planners & local authorities to learn from the lessons of the competition.”
Lessons highlighted in the publication include:
Developers who closely linked their design, suppliers & delivery teams into a single process found savings
It’s possible to achieve higher-density housing with houses, not just flats â€“ developments built as a result of this competition will achieve densities of over 60 homes/ha, mainly with houses: “It’s proof that getting the design & development process right means it’s possible to have houses with gardens & parking spaces”
Reducing construction costs doesn’t mean reducing size â€“ the competition required all homes to be constructed for Â£60,000 to be a minimum of 76.5mÂ² and some were around 88mÂ² ($2045/mÂ²)
Good home design can dramatically reduce energy bills â€“ some of the winning designs are groundbreaking in terms of energy efficiency and have features that will help keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer.
Website: Design for manufacture lessons
19 March 2006: UK Â£60,000 home competition winners to go on show
13 August 2005: Â£60,000 house-building challenge goes to final round
7 June 2005: Design for manufacture exhibition
Attribution: English Partnerships release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.