Explore our new guide to help smaller housing associations

We’ve produced a new guide to development specifically for smaller housing associations to support their ambition to build more new homes.

Rick Lloyd, Communications Officer, National Housing Federation

Rick Lloyd, Communications Officer, National Housing Federation

5 November 2019

Smaller housing associations are an intrinsic part of our sector, meeting a wide variety of essential housing needs. They build quality new homes and support a rich, diverse group of communities across the country.

And in the difficult environment the sector has experienced of late, smaller organisations have not been afraid to undertake development projects. According to our supply survey results, they completed 49% more homes in 2018/19 than in the previous two years.

Not only that, but many have the desire to do more and to build more, despite not having the resources that their larger counterparts have. That's why we've produced a new, free publication to support that ambition, and the drive of smaller organisations to provide more new homes to help tackle the housing crisis.

We’ve published this in conjunction with our offer to smaller housing associations which was developed in consultation with our members. Resources such as this reflect our sector’s willingness to work together to maximise our potential and listen to the needs of different types of housing associations.

Based on our existing guide Developing Affordable Housing, this new guide to development for smaller housing associations sets out how to go about undertaking complex development projects, while taking on board the different sets of pressures and challenges that smaller organisations face.

Smaller housing associations not only tend to have smaller development teams, but they also don’t run the bigger development programmes that their larger counterparts do. This means they don’t have the same opportunities to lay down standardised processes through doing many repeat schemes over a number of years.  

Many leaders of smaller organisations have to be finance directors, asset managers, governance experts and so on, on a day-to-day basis – before the thought of taking on ambitious development projects can even be considered – and can’t rely on the expertise of specialist teams to guide them through the process.

They also face different types of risk than larger organisations, with the expenditure needed for building new homes representing a weightier proportion of their overall capacity. This can have an effect on a board who may be less familiar with how to carry out the governance needed in ambitious building projects.

So it’s important to acknowledge the challenges faced by smaller organisations when recognising the difference they make to the fabric of our country’s housing. Their dedication and will to build the homes we need is testament to our sector’s ambition to solve the housing crisis, and the vital role they can play. We hope this publication helps to facilitate that dedication.

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