Welsh housebuilding may struggle due to extra fire safety requirements

Wed, 21 Oct 2015

Welsh housebuilding may struggle due to extra fire safety requirements
A controversial new law in Wales is likely to stop a lot of houses from being built, according to the boss of house building firm, Redrow.

All new houses built will need to have a sprinkler system installed, and many will need retrofitting with the fire safety system.

The law was initially proposed by the Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones.

Building in Wales is, according to the building firms, more difficult than in England, because of more 'red tape' and a more difficult planning processes to navigate.

Furthermore, houses in Wales apparently sell for less than in England.

The new sprinkler requirements will add an estimated £4,000 onto the cost of building a house, eating into profits, according to Steve Morgan, Redrow chairman.

He also said that the requirement that 30% of developments involve social housing makes building less viable.

"There are whole swathes of Wales - north Wales and south Wales - where we can no longer get a return," Mr Morgan told BBC Wales.

The Welsh government, did, however claim that the planning processes have been made more efficient and streamlined, and that the 30% social housing requirements is flexible and is down to local councils.

Last year, the number of houses built in Wales increased by 30% on the year before, a positive trend which was largely put down to the effects of the Help to Buy scheme in Wales.

However, with the implementation of these extras, it is feared this growing trend will be truncated before it had really had a national effect.
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