Westminster Social Policy Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

The future for housing design and delivery in the UK

Morning, Wednesday, 9th December 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will consider the future for housing design and delivery in the UK - and priorities for addressing poor quality housing design.

The discussion at a glance:

  • priorities - improving the quality, sustainability and energy efficiency of homes as proposed within the Future Homes Standard
  • implementation - issues, practicalities and next steps for the National Design Guide and the National Model Design Code
  • housing developments - their role as part of well-designed places and the development of local guidelines
  • MMC and promoting new ways of working - next steps for improving the delivery and design of new homes, and reduce costs, as the industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic

A scan of background and key developments:

It takes place against the backdrop of a range of major policy developments affecting the planning regime, including:

  • the Planning For the Future White Paper - and reforms to allow a range of commercial properties to be converted into housing without planning permission, and easier property extensions
  • the National Design Guide - from MHCLG with characteristics of well-designed places that work to create character, nurture a sense of community, and are sustainable
  • a National Model Design Code - due later this year on key elements of successful design, following the Living with beauty: report of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission for MHCLG
  • Modern Methods of Construction working group: developing a definition framework - and appointment of Mark Farmer as the Champion for Modern Methods of Construction
  • Building for a Healthy Life - new design guidance from NHS England backed by Homes England for new housing development plans incorporate how best to encourage healthier lifestyles
  • a Design Quality Unit for England - called for by the Design Council and others to accelerate the implementation of Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission proposals
  • New plans to get Britain building in coronavirus recovery - announced by the Housing Secretary - including longer planning permission deadlines, quicker appeals, and more flexible working hours
  • the Future Homes Standard - aimed at increasing the energy efficiency requirements for new homes
  • the Building Safety Bill  - with wide-ranging changes designed to improve building and fire safety, including the creation of a new Building Safety Regulator
  • the Environment Bill - recently reintroduced to parliament, which includes provisions to ensure biodiversity net gain in new housing developments

The discussion in detail:

  • Quality and aesthetics of new developments - assessing the new development and planning framework put forward by the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission
  • The National Design Guide - practical considerations for developers, local government, investors and other stakeholders in meeting the 10 characteristics the Guide sets out around design, functionality, safety and accessibility, sustainability, and nurturing a sense of community
  • Local authorities - what more can be done to support them when developing individual design codes, and how best to ensure and support the development of well-designed places
  • The legacy of COVID-19 - how it is likely to affect considerations for planning and design into the future, and what it means for developers, local authorities, home buyers and other stakeholders
  • Modern Methods of Construction - next steps for rolling out MMC, modular homes and wider off-site construction - looking at issues including:
    • what will be needed to realise its intended benefits, which include:
      • reducing costs and attracting investment
      • ensuring homes fit better with national and local design guides
      • enabling industry to work in different and sustainable ways
      • encouraging developers to take more interest in the community
    • development of skills and infrastructure design to increase MMC capacity in the UK
    • public engagement and overcoming pre-conceptions on quality associated with the pre-fab era
    • resolving barriers at the design stage, stemming from the different planning and construction processes involved in MMC compared to legacy approaches
    • how best to deal with any procurement difficulties in this relatively new market and to maximise environmental performance and sustainability

The agenda:

  • Key issues for ensuring high-quality design and takeaways from the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission
  • Improving the quality of homes and implementing the National Design Code
  • Creating well-designed places - developing local guidance, community engagement, promoting more beautiful and sustainable developments, and implementing the Future Homes Standard
  • The role of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and its potential to address challenges facing the housing sector
  • Prioritising design capability and capacity for MMC delivery
  • Accelerating the delivery of off-site construction methods
  • Assessing the role of MMC and new innovative methods in meeting housing demand

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This conference looks no different. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons, and representatives from MHCLG; BEIS; Defra; the Cabinet Office; HM Revenue & Customs; Homes England; the Department for International Trade; the Department for Infrastructure, NI; the DHSC; The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Mark Farmer

Founding Director and Chief Executive Officer, Cast Consultancy and Champion, Modern Methods of Construction

Keynote Speakers

Paul Monaghan

Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Special Adviser, Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

Andy Von Bradsky

Head of Architecture - Housing Supply and Planning Directorate, MHCLG

Mark Farmer

Founding Director and Chief Executive Officer, Cast Consultancy and Champion, Modern Methods of Construction

Dr Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira

Associate Professor, Architecture and Design Innovation, UWE Bristol

Edel Christie

Managing Director, Buildings, Arcadis


Julian Higson

Director, Housing and Landlord Services, Bristol City Council

Sue Morgan

Director, Architecture and the Built Environment, Design Council

Senior speaker confirmed from Burges Salmon

Rosie Toogood

Chief Executive Officer, Legal & General Modular Homes

Senior speaker confirmed from Energy Systems Catapult

David Sheridan

Executive Chairman, ilke Homes