The Government has recently reviewed legislation in relation to planning permission and the impact of Coronavirus after pressure was applied by building industry groups asking for an extension. Recognising that the pandemic has caused delays to construction, planning permission that had an expiry date between 23rd March 2020 (start of the UK’s lockdown) and 31st December 2020 will be automatically extended to 1st April 2021. This will enable delayed projects to avoid having to go through the planning system again and recognises the need for flexible working hours on construction sites to support social distancing and help people return to work safely.
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, stated in relation to the extension that ”new laws will enable us to speed up the pace of planning appeals and save hundreds of construction sites from being cancelled before they have a chance to get spades in the ground.” This positive move will help the economy bounce back though securing skilled jobs, providing the supply chain with certainty and ensure businesses still have a pipeline of work to deliver.
This is welcome news as securing the land and obtaining planning permission for a suitable and sustainable design is crucial to avoid lengthy delays. After these have been achieved, unfortunately there are many factors that may delay building. Processes around regulations and the construction tender can be lengthy, but vital, to ensure that the decision maker continues to make the project economically and sustainably viable. These decisions for the project owner can be influenced by:
- Changing demand
- Individual or couple accommodation
- Supported or assisted living vs independent living
- Level of medical support required in care homes
- Age of residents and therefore their requirements i.e. medical , leisure, family to visit and stay
- Amends in Government legislation to elderly care
- Public v’s private provision
- Number of beds in local hospitals and delayed discharges
- Staffing shortfall
- Financial impacts
- Escalating building costs
- Cost to the individual
- Tax generation and implications
- Global pandemics…the list goes on
Innovation in building techniques will help speed up delivery times, and this stems from the design and technology created by architects and helps us in designing care homes and supported living achieve our goal – to provide a community environment that inspires residents to enjoy their new homes and for them to enjoy their surroundings whilst giving staff and carers a better working environment.