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Glasgow to build its future on sustainable foundations
Figures released in early September by Markit have shown that the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has risen to 57.3, up 0.2 on July's figures. While not as strong as the boom of 2014, where the industry was seeing returns of over 60 for much of the year, these figures represent a stable growth not seen in a decade.
Much of this sustained growth has been led by the rise in residential construction across the UK, something which is receiving significant support from government initiatives across the country.
That said, recent government figures have shown that the number of housing projects starts has fallen by 1% over the year and 6% over the last 3 months, to 136,320, leaving a long way to go to reach the 200,000 homes per year outlined by David Cameron in the lead up to the general election.
It increasingly seems that tackling the issue at a local level may well be the way forward. Glasgow City Council is looking to lead the way in this aspect, having recently announced its comprehensive housing strategy 'People Make Glasgow Home', which will deliver 25,000 homes by 2025.
As with many cities around the UK, lack of housing - especially affordable housing, has to be balanced against finding the physical space within the city. As a part of the People Make Glasgow Home campaign, there has been a selection of creative measures to release and repurpose areas within the city, including converting empty shops into houses and opening up 20 new sites for development within the first year of the programme.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, says: "While there have been tremendous examples of new housing developments in Glasgow in recent years, such as the Athletes' Village and Laurieston, the city needs to accelerate housebuilding to meet changing and growing demand.
"The huge scope of housing activity that the council will be enabling, supporting and investing in over the next decade will truly transform Glasgow".
Gary Climson, managing director of McTaggart Construction, agrees: "We firmly believe this commitment by Glasgow City Council will further support the delivery of public sector housing in the city, driving the realisation of Glasgow's newest city centre quarter and enabling us to continue our ambition to create quality homes and communities throughout Scotland," he says.
The People Make Glasgow Home scheme will be complemented by the Sustainable Glasgow programme, which, according to Duncan Booker, 'Sustainable Glasgow' manager, "aims to support nothing less than a green re-industrialisation of the city - so that it can make the transition from being one of the industrial powerhouses of the global Industrial Revolution to becoming a smart, sustainable, low carbon city that once again leads the world".
Duncan recently gave an exclusive interview to Scotland Build 2015, which will bring further discussion on the housing sector within Scotland to the SECC this November. When asked about the impact of Sustainable Glasgow on house building in the city, Duncan said:
"The city's domestic energy efficiency programme has levered in significant amounts of national and local funding to improve housing for tenants and home-owners. It has helped them to save hundreds of pounds a year off their fuel bills and also maintained and created jobs in the industry.
The new homes at the Athletes Village are models of energy efficiency in their construction and the whole development has been a national exemplar for sustainability in construction. The city now aims to continue this success with the new Sighthill development".
Whether this model can be adapted across the UK remains to be seen, but Glasgow looks set to lead the way to ensure that Scotland and the UK keep building the houses required to sustain an ever-growing population.
Glasgow City Council will be speaking at the Scotland Build 2015 conference, along with a number of leading industry figures, on 25th and 26th November at the SECC. For more information visit:
11th September 2015