2020 was always going to be a tricky year for the house building industry. Before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, the industry was on tenterhooks about Brexit, and the effects that our imminent exit from the European Union would have on the housing market, construction and day-to-day life. Whilst the Brexit talks have understandably taken a back seat since the onset of Coronavirus in the UK, they are still very much at the forefront of our concerns – and in particular the implications our exit from the EU could have on the ability to secure building materials.
It is impossible to forecast the ongoing effects the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the importation of materials from the EU over the coming weeks and months. Restrictions on building sites have been lifted to an extent, meaning construction workers can now return to work (at the time of writing), however with most countries only just emerging from their respective lockdowns, it stands to reason that there could be a backlog of materials that are required before the UK can start building again to any great extent.
With our eventual exit from the EU looming in the not-to-distant future, these materials could be in even shorter supply than they already are, which causes us to ask the question: could we be using more sustainable materials in the UK that do not rely on importation?
In a time where calls for environmentally friendly building practices are increasing, should we not also be considering the effects the materials we’re producing for construction have on the planet? By adopting environmentally friendly construction habits and using materials that are renewable and therefore sustainable, not only are we reducing the carbon footprint of housing development in the UK, but we are also alleviating the pressure on house builders to secure materials from abroad.
One such method of is timber frame construction – a method whereby timber studs, rails, and a sheathing board form the structural frame of a property. Timber is, of course, a renewable material and something that we have in abundance in the UK. Often, these homes can be assembled largely off-site which also speeds up the construction time therefore providing more homes in a shorter timeframe.
Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see how the construction industry recovers over the coming months and what unforeseen effects the current global pandemic may yet have on the industry.
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