April 2014 issue

The house building sector received some positive news last month with the announcement that the Government-backed Help to Buy equity loan scheme will now be extended to 2020. In last month’s statement, Chancellor George Osborne pledged to invest a further £6bn into the Help to Buy scheme, which he predicts will contribute to more than 200,000 homes being built across the UK – a welcome and much needed investment to stimulate the sector.

With a Help to Buy equity loan, the Government lends up to 20% of the cost of a new-build home, leaving a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. Equity loans are available to first time buyers as well as homeowners looking to move. The home must be newly built with a price tag of up to £600,000.

While the scheme’s success has been applauded and recent figures reveal a growth in the sector now valued at £1.8bn, there is still a lot more to do. In this month’s issue, FC&A welcomes Architect and Property Developer George Clarke as the guest of this month’s Legal & Business. Responding to the lack of affordable houses being built, George Clarke is striving to show the building industry that a radical shake-up is needed. Here he unveils his ambitious plans for change and reflects on his own earlier challenges.

Also in this edition, we consider the impact of external wall finishes and their contribution towards beacons of change. This month’s contributor Shackerley reflects on the evolution of external cladding. Its attention focuses primarily on ceramic granite ventilated cladding and its ability to provide an aesthetic and versatile material, pushing the boundaries of innovative construction. Using a number of schools and HE facilities, Shackerley demonstrates the inspiring effect cladding can have on new education landmarks. Turn to page 34 to find out more. Elsewhere, on page 22 Washroom Washroom discusses the importance of a home-from-home washroom facility, especially for office environments where it is crucial for premises to remain let.

I hope you enjoy this issue. Don’t forget you can also access all the latest features, product news and supplier information at your fingertips via FC&A’s state-of-the-art app. Available for both smart phones and tablets, the app can be downloaded free of charge from Google play or the App Store with the search term ‘fc&a’. For more information about this dedicated resource tool, turn to page 11.

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Future Constructor & Architect is a specification platform for architects and building contractors, which focuses on top-end domestic and commercial developments.

As well as timely industry comment and legislation updates, the magazine covers recent projects and reviews the latest sustainable building products on the market. Subscribe here.

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