The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk
HBF Represents and serves its members in a range of ways:
Ensuring senior politicians and government officials are aware of housing issues and the challenges faced by our members.
Working with Government officials to ensure housing policies are introduced that facilitate housing supply, in a way that is workable for the industry.
Representing member interests in discussions with key decision makers in government and during formal consultation processes, both nationally and regionally, on the issues that affect our members including; technical, planning, economic and environmental matters.
In the national, regional and trade press. We maintain strong relationships with the print and broadcast media to ensure that the home building industry is robustly represented. We regularly provide expert analysis for all high-profile news and current affairs programmes on radio and television and contribute articles to a range of publications.
Ensuring our members are fully briefed on industry developments that will affect their businesses through regular communications and focused briefing notes.
Forming member working groups to assist in formulating policy on issues of importance and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas.
Holding regular member meetings at all levels on relevant issues, both centrally in London and in the regions, to ensure a two way flow of information and to keep in touch with all our members.
NATIONAL - HBF seeks to influence all emerging national planning policy. It represents member company views on both formal consultations and at the many steering groups and working parties to which HBF contributes. Once new policy is implemented HBF offers advice to members on its implementation. It facilitates forums and discussion to disseminate emerging best practice through regional steering groups, encouraging two way dialogue on emerging issues and trends, allowing members to discuss practical issues with their peers.
LOCAL – Following the publication the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), a new era of ‘localism’ based planning was ushered in whereby it is now up to each local planning authority to create a Local Development Plan to establish a robust evidence base for housing requirement for their area. In response to this, HBF, through our team of local planning experts, represents the industry at every Local Plan Inquiry and to many emerging local planning policy documents.
The economic downturn towards the end of the noughties brought with it the reality of reduced demand for new homes. Throughout, HBF continued to put the case forward for Government intervention to help shore up the market and regain customer confidence. HBF was instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous demand side policies, including the hugely successful Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme and its subsequent extension to 2021. Despite several changes in government since then, HBF continues to work with ministers, government departments and civil servants to help shape and implement other such policies, such as Starter Homes, designed to encourage home ownership.
One of HBF’s main focusses over the last year or so has been on SME builders, and we have been pushing for more support for some time. If we are to increase output further SME builders need to be able to play their part. Arresting and reversing the 80% decline in the number of small builders that has taken place since the late 1980s would go some way to meeting the Government’s housing supply aspirations.
A lot of the proposals we have been making with regards to the planning system have been focussed on assisting smaller companies in particular.
We had been working closely with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) on the detail of the £3bn Home Builders Fund for some time before it was announced at the Conservative Party Conference. Since its launch we have been working with members and HCA to iron out application and operational issues.
Industry Image and Perceptions
HBF, working with members, leads on ensuring that the public perception of the industry through the media, government and third parties is accurate. Our industry image workstreams are designed to inform all third parties about the realities of the industry and make public facts and statistics that tell the true story of house building. One such example is our Ghost Towns report, that highlighted that the Government’s quarterly Housebuilding statistics underestimated actual housing supply by around 30k units, including massive shortfalls in certain parts of the country. We have been at pains to stress to Government that it should be using its own more accurate Net Additions to Housing Stock numbers that show there were 189,650 net additions in 2015/16.
Throughout the year we published a number of regular and adhoc reports to highlight specific issues, such as our quarterly Housing Pipeline reports, a report debunking the myth of land banking, and a study detailing the wider economic benefits of house building.
Customer Satisfaction Survey
HBF introduced an annual satisfaction survey of new home buyers in 2005 to help drive up standards in the industry. The HBF Star Rating scheme, which awards participating members a star rating based on the survey results is now an established barometer of performance and a widely used industry marketing tool. The survey also helps participating members identify areas they can improve and is used by HBF to rebuff unwarranted criticism of our industry.
To ensure it is as fit for purpose as possible 11 years on from launch we have commissioned Ipsos Mori to undertake a review that will report back in the New Year. We will consider the recommendations and react accordingly.
HBF’s main website is the main online portal for information about what is going on in the industry and the work that HBF is carrying out. Both current and historic briefings, reports, publications, newsletters and press releases are stored and made accessible to members, including information on events, HBF groups and conferences. Alongside our social media accounts, such as on Twitter and LinkedIn, the website also serves as the publicfacing front of HBF, providing industry information for journalists and media organisations, politicians, industry stakeholders and members of the public.
In addition to this website, HBF also runs the New-Homes.co.uk website, an online property portal that advertises new homes for sale across the country. This is HBF’s consumer-facing website and is supported across social media, particularly on Twitter and Facebook. Boasting a significant online presence, the website provides a unique benefit allowing members to advertise their property listings for free.
Finally, HBF also operates the House Building Careers website, providing an excellent source of information to anyone interested in finding out more about careers in the industry and the best ways to apply. The website is supported across social media and is updated regularly with industry employee profiles, news stories and information on upcoming events.
HBF last year launched the Home Building Skills Partnership following our successful application for a £2.7m grant from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). Since then we have established a leadership board of senior industry figures, recruited two members of staff for the Partnership and brought together and held meetings of the groups pushing the Partnership’s three work streams forward – attraction of people to the industry; training; and development of the supply chain. The Partnership has also already undertaken a number of detailed research projects that will inform its work.
As well as facilitating an increase in industry capacity, the work is also a clear demonstration to Government of our intention to grow and build more homes.
We have also worked closely with CITB to ensure the industry position is taken into account by Government as it looks to introduce the Apprentice Levy and change apprenticeship funding. Our representations helped result in CITB announcing that it would offset the cost of the Apprenticeship Levy to companies due to pay it by increasing CITB grant payments funded by the CITB levy housebuilders already pay.
HBF works on the industry’s behalf to ensure the technical standards and Building regulations that the industry is required to build to are realistic and achievable. Throughout the year we will respond to a number of technical consultations and appear in front of select committees on various issues, such as the EFRA select committee inquiry on Future Flood Prevention; and the Defra /Ofwat consultation on charging for new water and sewerage connections.
One area with have had particular success with recently is the provision of broadband infrastructure to house building developments. We have worked closely with Openreach to resolve issues members have had on individual sites, while also liaising with them to ensure that changes are made to create a more favourable operating environment for house builders. As a result of these discussions, the backlog of sites awaiting broadband connection has reduced significantly.
We have since launched an agreement with Openreach with regards to superfast broadband provision that now sees all sites of more than 30 units qualify for free superfast broadband connection over and above the standard service. We have also reached connection agreements with Virgin Media and UTC as alternative options for builders to access superfast services.
Through HBF’s Retirement Home Builders Group, we continue to undertake work to analyse the factors that are limiting the supply of both specialist retirement housing and the development of a wider market for housing for older people. Surveys of the wider membership have been undertaken to inform this work and we are looking to develop a comprehensive policy platform designed to improve the supply of retirement housing.
HBF has developed a close working relationship with the Welsh Government that allows us to directly influence emerging national housing and planning policy. We regularly attend a variety of Welsh Government forums, including the Council for Economic Renewal, which is chaired by the First Minister and provides a vital platform for ensuring the WG is fully aware of our concerns. HBF is also directly involved in the local planning framework in ales and attends all Local Development Plan Examinations on behalf of the home building industry. We also work closely with a range of stakeholders and organisations on Technical matters, such as proposed changes to building regulations and we hold regular Technical Forums for our membership.
HBF was central in persuading the Welsh Government to launch its own Help to Buy Wales scheme for new build homes and is working with officials to monitor the operation of the scheme. By drawing on members’ experience with comparable schemes in England, HBF played a key role in ensuring the scheme’s introduction and ongoing implementation were smooth and successful.
HBF in the Media
HBF is the industry’s recognised voice in the national and regional broadcast and print media and we regularly provide expert analysts to comment on the wide range of issues currently affecting house builders. This helps ensure balanced and informed commentary and to rebut negative and inaccurate reporting, sometimes on issues individual companies may find it difficult to comment on. HBF representatives appear regularly on flagship programmes such as ‘Breakfast’, ‘The Today Programme’ and ‘you and Yours’ as well as prime time national television news programmes and regional radio and are regularly quoted on the industry’s behalf in national newspapers.
HBF members benefit from receiving, free of charge, the industry’s leading magazine, Housebuilder. Published ten times a year by Housebuilder Media (HBM), a publishing company that is subsidiary of HBF, Housebuilder keeps readers up to date with all the industry news, changes in regulations, the market, technical and planning issues, product information, legal news and much more.
The magazine website, www.house-builder.co.uk, includes regular news updates and the opportunity to receive news alerts direct to your desktop or mobile.
HBM runs a series of events during the year for which HBF members benefit from discounts of up to 25%. Events include the private sector house building industry’s leading conference, Housing Market Intelligence, and the prestigious Housebuilder Awards. Discounts are also offered to HBF members on subscriptions to the annual Housing Market Intelligence report.
Michael PowellFinance Director
Catherine WilsonIT & Digital Manager
Jamie AllanPolicy and Public Affairs Assistant
Michael PowellFinance Director
Razia IqbalSenior Bookkeeper
Marian MacdonaldPA/Office Manager
Emeline SerexPolicy Team Secretary & Admin Assistant
HBF was formed in 1948 (known then as the Federation of Registered House Builders). It was an amalgamation of three pre-war bodies and represented the housing element of the National Federation of Building Trades Employees (NFBTE).
The HBF President, Ron King made the first moves towards an HBF independent from the NFBTE.
HBF formed NHMB and purchased Housebuilder magazine forming HBP (now Housebuilder Media HBM)
NFBTE replaced by the Building Employers Confederation (BEC) as a response to pressure from HBF. The sectors (i.e. Federations) were now the members rather than individual companies.
HBF formed HBF Ltd and took over the employment of staff from BEC to HBF Ltd.
HBF introduced its own subscription system purely for housebuilders.
Construction Confederation (CC) replaced BEC.
HBF votes to leave the CC and hands notice to the CC of its intention to sever the constitutional link.
In December 2002, HBF becomes wholly independent, no longer linked to the CC by constitution but it maintains a commercial relationship whereby services are purchased as required.
HBF's head office moves to St James’s Street. HBF rebrands its logo. HBF achieves the Investors in People Standard in June.
Following a strategic review in 2005, HBF changed its name from the House Builders Federation to the Home Builders Federation to better reflect the wide range of accommodation the industry provides in the 21st century.
HBF's head office moves from St James's Street to 27 Broadwall on London's Southbank.