Acheson + Glover: Time to act rapidly to tackle the social housing crisis

Construction of affordable homes is running at an alarmingly low rate according to UK Prime Minister, Theresa May. Here, Rodney Davidson, Head of Specifications Sales at AG (Acheson + Glover) discusses the role that rapid build products can play in meeting the desperate need for social housing speedily, cost effectively and to a standard that will meet the needs of individuals and families.

Acheson + Glover - Newmills

The current crisis

For the last 30 years, councils and housing associations have scaled back council housebuilding in the face of crippling budget cuts. Local authorities have also been deterred from building due to the government’s “right to buy” scheme, which permits tenants to buy council properties at a 40% discount. In the wake of the “right to buy” scheme most councils were not willing, or in some cases not able to replace the homes that had been sold. The resulting depletion of stock has caused a devastating deficit of social housing throughout the United Kingdom. Currently, delivery of social housing is falling 30,000 homes per year short of independently-assessed needs.

The Government is beginning to take positive action towards facilitating the construction of social housing. Last October, Theresa May acknowledged the urgency of the situation announcing that an additional £2bn of investment would be poured into regions with the greatest need for homes. Despite being a move in the right direction, this investment will only yield approximately 5,000 additional social rented homes each year, a mere fraction of the 30,000 needed annually.

Acheson + Glover - Navan Shop 1For demand to be met a staggering 600 additional low-cost homes must be built every week across the nation. It is expected that the Government will commit more money to meeting this target in the forthcoming social housing green paper set to be published this spring.

How can Rapid Build Products help?

In the current climate where the need for social housing is immediate, rapid build products are essential for responding to the crisis. Rapid build products are construction materials that have been expertly designed to tackle modern building challenges. For example, in response to increased demand across the public sector for products that facilitate quick construction AG have produced NovaBrik® – a pioneering mortarless brick cladding system that can be installed even in poor weather conditions and is on average three times faster than building traditional facing brick.

DNOV01 Novabrik Installation TC_SM
Rapid build products are typically designed, produced and tested within strictly controlled environments. For example, we work hard to ensure that NovaBrik® is fully tested with Fire Rating, Freeze Thaw Resistance and Impact Abrasion affect. This gives added reassurance to councils and housing associations that affordable accommodation built quickly can be adequately safe for tenants. Another benefit of NovaBrik® is that it comes with a design life of at least 60 years, meaning that it can create social housing that will serve communities for years to come.


Established in 1960, AG is one of the most trusted producers of innovative concrete products in Northern Ireland and beyond.

To find out more about AG and NovaBrik® visit their website.