Lynx Precast calls for sustainable housing growth

Hollowcore slab and T-beam producer Lynx Precast is predicting a buoyant market in 2016, but is calling for a more sustainable approach to housebuilding and construction if the precast concrete flooring market is to bear longer term growth.

Andy Teasdale, managing director of Lynx Precast, which produces its flooring systems from 140,000 ft² of space in Northumberland, said residential new build demand will continue to drive sales over the next 12 months.

“Looking ahead, we expect to see continuing strong demand for our products in 2016 in the face of a building and construction sector enjoying growth.

“That’s encouraging but I also think it’s important that we create a more sustainable market free from the vagaries of ‘boom and bust’ economics if we are to achieve longer lasting robust growth and deliver the numbers in terms of new housing.

“Stricter mortgage lending criteria based on affordability will help to ensure people can only buy houses they can afford. This will help keep house price inflation in check and pave the way to more sustainable long term housing development that can only be beneficial for product manufacturers like Lynx.

“New housing starts dropped from 185,000 in 2006 to 65,000 in 2009 – the fallout was something I never want to experience again.”

Teasdale welcomed the Chancellor’s offer of more support to the housing sector over the coming year with new policies that will sweep away planning bureaucracy and deliver more flexible development frameworks and measures.

“For instance, the relaxation of planning will cut red tape, speed up decision making and deliver the savings to be re-invested in the schemes that will help towards tackling the UK’s well documented housing shortage.”

The apprenticeship levy announced in the Chancellor’s autumn statement will also be a welcome move as it starts to come into force from 2017, Teasdale believes.

“It’s critical that we see more investment over the next 12 months if we are to start to seriously reduce the chronic skills gap.

“The levy will help, but it’s a little way off, so in the meantime, we are already making the investments now in apprenticeships and training. This should bring us the new ideas and fresh talent that our industry desperately needs.

“I’d like to see 2016 as the year in which our industry genuinely starts to make the investments and commitments to nurture a new generation of young people who will be well placed to meet the sector’s skills need for many years to come.”