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Expert appointed to speed up construction

Demand for home insulation and cellar waterproofing work could soon soar if the appointment of a housing expert to a key role in the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) leads to the hoped-for increase in new building.

The government has appointed former director of growth and partnerships at Barratt Partnerships Stephen Kinsella as the new HCA director of accelerated construction.

Mr Kinsella, who spent 11 years in his previous role at Barratt, will lead the national public sector team, which is tasked with speeding up the construction of new homes as well as increasing the scale of developments, while also working to support new entrants to the market and encourage more modern building methods. 

The focus of the £2 billion programme of accelerated construction will be on taking direct action to speed up the building of new homes on surplus public sector land. Mr Kinsella will report directly to HCA chief executive Nick Walkley.

Speaking about his appointment, Mr Kinsella said: "I am excited by this opportunity to create a new delivery model for housing supply and increase innovation in the sector. 

"The major housebuilders have a huge role to play in increasing supply but it is clear to me that Accelerated Construction and other HCA-backed initiatives are essential to diversify the market and ensure we can meet the pent-up demand for housing in this country."

Mr Walkley said bringing the former Barratt official on board is a "very important appointment" for the HCA, as Mr Kinsella offers considerable expertise in both the private sector and in the conversion of surplus public sector housing into new homes.

Major projects to convert large tracts of surplus publicly-owned land into housing include the divestment of Ministry of Defence land such as former airbases.

Examples of this include the RAF Waterbeach barracks, just north of Cambridge, which are being transformed into a development of 6,500 homes.