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HCA's delivery partners could be competing for work within weeks

The 28 firms selected for the Homes and Communities Agency’s new Delivery Partner Panel last week could be winning work within a month.

Last Friday a mixture of housebuilders, contractors and development consortia was appointed across the framework’s three regional clusters. They will compete for housing work through schemes including the HCA’s Public Land Initiative and Local Authority New Build programme.

An HCA spokeswoman told Construction News that the first site under the Public Land Initiative, which will see the HCA and local authorities provide derisked land for development, was likely to become available for procurement
in early February.

She added that other schemes may even go out to minicompetitions before this, given the amount of interest shown by local authorities in employing panel partners for their own projects.

Only two traditional housebuilders - Barratt and Taylor Wimpey - bagged a spot on all three regional panels, as did contractors Galliford Try and Wates, both of which have dedicated housebuilding arms.

Laing O’Rourke and a consortium of Carillion and developer Igloo were the others to secure a place in all three regions.

The selection of these contractors - and Skanska in the central and southern clusters - will come as little surprise to the industry given HCA chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake’s publicised desire to bring main contractors into the
housing sector.

Kier, Bouygues UK, Leadbitter and a joint venture between Mace and housing developer Hadley Homes all feature on both the southern and central clusters, while developer Lend Lease Europe won a place on the northern and central lists.

Morgan Sindall’s affordable housing arm Lovell, housebuilder Countryside Properties and a joint venture between contractor Ardmore and developer First Base were the only bidders to win places in the northern and southern

In addition to working on the HCA’s projects, panel members will be made available to local authorities, regional development agencies and other public agencies to deliver new homes.

Wates Living Space strategy director Steve Trusler said it was difficult to tell how much work would be generated for delivery partners, but that there could be more in the pipeline.

He said: “The original process that the HCA was going through was for something like 1,300 new homes, but it is quite clear that it would like to use the panel for much more.

“If it works for them, I can see this programme clearly doing much more than they envisaged.”

Mr Trusler said that he expected to be tendering for projects in the next few months. He said: “What hasn’t come out yet is the amount of land available to specific clusters. Only then will we know if one cluster will deliver more work than others.”

Mr Trusler said it was likely new models such as the Public Land Initiative would become crucial if spending cuts were made after the General Election.

“I don’t think our sector is going to be any less hit [by funding cuts].”

The PLI, which will initially enable 1,250 homes to be built nationwide including 500 affordable homes, aims to bring publicly owned housing sites forward by making land available on a deferred payment basis.

Earlier this week housing minister John Healey announced that a further £122 million in funding would be distributed for the Local Authority New Build programme.

The cash will be split between 73 councils, which will each match the grants. The figure takes the amount invested in the Government’s new council house building drive to £500m.