James Brokenshire, Communities Secretary, has announced that approaching £500 million will be spent on the construction of 11,000 affordable properties across the country. This will assist the government to achieve its target of 300,000 properties per year by the mid-2020s. There will be a number of strategic partnerships, arranged by Homes England, running from Essex to Eccleston. Emphasis will be on allowing successful housing associations to spend the finance money on developments generating the maximum improvement. UK GOV

The government has published its table of “payment times” showing how long companies take to settle their accounts. For the building trade, two of the building industry’s largest contractors are reported to be still taking around 50 days to settle bills submitted to them. Building

Homes England has agreed a £1.7 billion funding package supporting 23 strategic partners, who in total will commence approximately 40,000 affordable homes starts by March 2022. The new partnerships include: Bromford, Curo & Swan, Liverpool Mutual Homes & Torus, Longhurst & Nottingham Community Housing Association, Together, Walsall Housing Group, Yorkshire and Your Housing Group. GOV UK

Dame Judith Hackitt, former HSE chair for the building regulations review, has criticised the lengthy time taken by the government to respond to the review of their independent report. It is stated that Whitehall required some seven months to deal with the proposals. The quotation suggested that she was concerned that the delay had resulted in a “loss of momentum” regarding the necessary revision of the overall regulatory framework. Building

A detailed analysis of the government’s response to the Grenfell fire report and associated recommendations has been published. This summarises that while the government has “accepted in principle” the paper and its recommendations, a full response and associated actions relating to building and planning regulations is still pending. UK Construction Online

Home ownership in the UK has reached a 12-year high according to reports. These figures indicate that across 2017 to 2018, 14.8 million homes were owner-occupied as opposed to 14.4 million for the previous year. This represents an increase of around 2.4%, and it shows that over three in five UK households are mortgaged or owned outright by those in occupation. The Telegraph

The Weston Group has built a new 75,000 sq ft “housebuilding factory” providing off-site home construction facilities near Braintree in Essex. It uses mass-production car line approaches to build modular homes. The source base materials and related items are imported from Italy, China and the Emirates. On-site, they’re assembled to individual homebuyers’ requirements. Construction News

A £163m Community Housing Fund, designed to support the growth of the community-led housing sector, is due to close in December 2019 – just 17 months after opening. This will put up to 3,500 affordable homes at risk, a charity has said. Construction News

Plans for a landmark 13-storey office building near the new Crossrail Farringdon Station in London have been given the green light. The works are scheduled to start in May. Two existing buildings will be demolished – 81 Farringdon Street and 1 Stonecutter Court – to make way for 32,000m2 office space. The new build – which will retain the Hoop and Grapes pub on the site – will also have six roof terraces, 1200m2 retail space and 230m2 public realm improvements. Construction Enquirer

Kier has been appointed by Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust to deliver a new £98m hospital in the south of England. The Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot will specialise in planned, non-emergency procedures and will offer the latest outpatient and diagnostic facilities for radiology, lithotripsy, cardiology, physiotherapy and orthodontics, plus a children’s clinic. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2021. World Construction Network.