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Our top two critical themes emerging from CIH Housing Conference

At the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Housing Conference – the largest housing festival in Europe – Kreo presented on the trends disrupting the industry. But there were two separate themes that were prevalent throughout the conference.

magomedMagomed Galaev, CEO & Founder of Kreo, presented some controversial facts to an audience that included developers and housing associations. The facts he highlighted were:

  • Every industry is being impacted by technological disruption
  • Those who are disrupted are those organisations with the most money and least knowledge about their own industry
  • Those who want to survive disruption need to change their business model

Galaev’s presentation came after a panel featuring George Clarke about fire safety of tower blocks. The new government mandate for tower blocks to use BIM will help to speed up progress in this area. However, the panel discussed that the progress is too slow - and, as Galaev mentioned in his presentation, this situation is not sustainable. Since Grenfell, developers are becoming more aware of the urgent need for organisational change (whether they want it to happen or not).

Top Housing Conference themes

The two most critical themes of the conference seemed to be:

  • How to avoid another Grenfell disaster
  • Tackling homelessness

Theresa May MP discussed progress that had been made to tackle the housing crisis under her leadership. Meanwhile, discussion on twitter remained focused on the targets the government had not met and the missing topics in May’s speech.

Innovative solutions

homelessness hackathonKreo was proud to attend the Homelessness Hackathon run by Futuregov, led by Vimla Appadoo. Joining a group of council, construction and development professionals, plans were discussed for how to tackle the problem of homelessness in the UK. One of the suggestions was to encourage cheaper, faster ways to build new affordable housing using advanced technology. This would stop people from falling into a lengthy waiting list where they end up moving from room to room.

Andrew Carpenter, Chair of BIM4Housing, presented on the importance of BIM and its relevance to avoiding future major fire incidents. He used the example of the Fire Service’s needs and how BIM would apply to them. They need the ability to measure distance, area and volumes of a building before starting to build. The fire service should be able to add comments to a design and “walk through” the design prior to making final build decisions.

Companies like L&Q presented how they would be building 100,000 homes in a decade. Construction Services Director, Wayne Hill, talked about how they would achieve this by taking on tech companies' way of working. This means embracing and learning from failure, and using an agile working methodology. Innovative ways of working are the only way the industry will move forward. 

“Kreo’s mission is not to disrupt. It is to enable”

In his presentation, Galaev made the point that technology will make change easier for companies who want to progress. By using BIM from the start of building planning and design, better decisions will be made. Collaboration will be possible throughout the whole project. Money will be saved in the long run. Buildings will be safer, while ensuring the speed of building the urgent number of homes needed. 

While the Housing Conference tackled some difficult issues, the overriding feeling was one of optimism and change. Developers and housing associations are slowly coming to understand their responsibility in driving change. Those who succeed will continue to have successful businesses. Those who refuse to change, as in other industries, will see their businesses prone to disruption.

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