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YHG Comment: Stephen Haigh - New CEO of Joint Venture

"Following the announcement of our joint venture partnership earlier this week, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. The majority of people just wanted to congratulate us on the news, but a large percentage of people were asking to know more about the partnership and inevitably what it means for the sector going forward.

I think Mark Easton on the BBC summed it up perfectly; this announcement is “sector disruptive” and something that has to be embraced by all housing providers across the country, especially if we’re going to make a meaningful impact on the Government’s 1m homes figure by 2020.

We all know the sector needs radical innovation and new ways of tackling the age old issues, to ensure the necessary step change happens. Without the step-change we are in real danger of seeing a whole generation unable to afford a home – not something that should happen at any time, let alone in 2016!

Our solution is to learn from Europe and other countries across the world, where modular or manufactured housing has been accepted, developed and applied over the years. The processes and attention to detail aligned with off-site production, not only allows homes to be precision manufactured, but also ensures quality control, rigorous testing and inevitable speed of production – something missing from the sector to date.

The end goal for everyone across the sector is to ensure people in need of housing, get it and get it quick. We have a responsibility to make sure that they’re also able to sustain their new home going forward – which is why the energy efficiency credentials of our partner in the joint venture, WElink, are also hugely important to tackling the housing shortage, there’s no point in building the homes if they are unsustainable going forward!

I echo the comments Brian made at the beginning of the week in his Inside Housing interview, where he stated we aren’t able to solve the housing deficit single handily, we see the joint venture announcement as an invitation to open discussions with other Housing Providers and Local Authorities up and down the country, so we can look at how we and our modular approach can address area specific housing need.  To disrupt a whole sector, you have to get to the heart of it and the only way we are going to do this is with the help and support of others.

2017 is going to be a hugely exciting and challenging year for the joint venture, with the planned opening of our first factory, which will see housing manufacturing cogs start to turn and the sector disruption beginning!"

For more information about the joint venture or to arrange a discussion with Stephen Haigh, please email yourfeedback@yourhousinggroup.co.uk