Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) have announced a new partnership which aims to use innovation to increase the affordability, sustainability, quality and supply of social housing in Scotland.
Housing associations are the main providers of new build social and affordable housing in Scotland and have some of the most energy efficient housing in the country. However, they face a number of challenges including increasing the supply of new-build affordable housing against a backdrop of a skills shortage in construction, addressing fuel poverty, meeting new fire safety standards and providing housing that is suitable for an aging population.
SFHA and CSIC believe that their partnership will enable housing associations to address these challenges by learning from CSIC’s successful track record in innovation, while also ensuring that the work of CSIC responds to the needs and ambitions of housing associations.
The partnership, which will create a strategic relationship between the two organisations and deliver a supporting programme of activities, will provide tangible benefits for SFHA’s members, including:
- Support for housing associations to use Building Information Management (BIM) to streamline their maintenance and asset management of existing homes
- Joint work to investigate the potential benefits of offsite construction to the social and affordable housing sector and co-design solutions to increase supply
- The creation of a ‘Housing Innovation Community’ – a leadership and knowledge-sharing hub for the housing sector, focusing on emerging technologies, digital transformation and future housing types
- A half-day innovation event for the housing association sector hosted at CSIC’s Innovation Factory
- A members’ discount on use of CSIC’s Innovation Factory
Rohan Bush, head of public partnerships & future workforce, at CSIC, said: “When I think about the future, I imagine a Scotland where the people responsible for the future of housing and the people who actually build the houses collaborate and innovate together.
“In this vision, new build social housing is even more energy efficient, and fuel bills are low due to the high quality and affordability of low carbon and sustainable building methods. Waste is segregated using smart sensor technology and materials are delivered at the right time to avoid damages and defects.
“The launch of this strategic partnership between the SFHA and CSIC aims to make this vision of collaboration and innovation a reality.”
Sally Thomas, CEO of SFHA, said: “SFHA members – housing associations and co-operatives – have an enviable track record of innovation but there has never been a more important time to articulate and demonstrate the benefits of innovation in social housing in areas such as cost, quality, safety and energy efficiency.
“A key element of the partnership is the Home of the Future Innovation and Future Thinking programme, which is bringing the housing and construction sectors, and others, together to create a vision of future living. A series of collaborative innovation projects began in September 2018 to develop and test new ideas, approaches and models for the Home of the Future. With the changes and challenges ahead for our members come opportunities, which SFHA’s partnership with CSIC can help the sector to grasp.”