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Mayor of London urged to back offsite homes

The London Assembly has called on the mayor of London to set up a new procurement framework modelled on offsite homes to help alleviate the housing crisis.

In a report authored by chair of the Assembly’s planning committee Nicky Gavron, the body said that a new model of factory-built homes using offsite manufacture (OSM) was currently “light years” away from the approaches used to help build sufficient housing supply in the 1970s.

Ms Gavron has called on mayor Sadiq Khan to provide “clear and strong leadership in raising the awareness of OSM’s potential”.

The report also calls on the mayor to work towards defining and adopting a manufactured housing design code and look at the potential of using TfL-owned land to stimulate the OSM sector.

The body has also recommended the step-up of a dedicated OSM-specific procurement framework for London.

Ms Gavron said: “Meeting London’s housebuilding target is a huge task and traditional construction techniques will only take us so far. Offsite Manufactured Housing is an innovative, forward-looking and exciting way to close the gap.

“These buildings are high-quality and outstanding in terms of performance. Their construction is more environmentally-friendly than traditional construction methods and they are a far cry from their prefabricated predecessors.

“Few will disagree that using vacant public land to build homes quickly and with less pollution and disruption could be great news for London, tailored to demands at every price point.”

The report gained the backing of cast consultancy chief exec Mark Farmer, who said: “This timely report sends an unequivocal message to the Mayor of London that now is the time to show strong political leadership to establish a mainstream precision manufactured housing market in the capital.

“It could underpin ambitions not just for housing, but wider economic growth.”

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