The Design for Manufacture (DFM) competition was launched in April 2005 and was run by English Partnerships until the end of last year. English Partnerships was replaced in December 2008 by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), operating on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government. The competition was the Government’s challenge to the house building industry to build high-quality, well-designed homes for £60,000. The figure of £60,000 relates to a target construction cost for building a two-bedroom home and does not reflect the development cost or sale price.
The competition is expected to deliver more than 1,100 high-quality, well-designed, sustainable homes. Of these, developers were asked to build around 30 per cent. for the target construction cost of £60,000 or less. However, the other 70 per cent. were expected to be larger and smaller homes built at an equivalent cost-efficiency.
Construction of all of the homes being built through the DFM competition is still under way, so it is not possible to predict how many homes will be completed for the target cost. However, the HCA last year commissioned a professional firm of chartered surveyors and cost consultants to analyse cost data received from the various developers building the homes.
It is not practical at this stage to compare the sites in this study and draw any firm conclusions, as the property designs and types are so varied. Also, the sites are located in different areas in the country and each site has reported different obstacles to overcome. However, early indications from this study show that out of a sample of 135 units surveyed and completed at the time of the study, and with appropriate cost adjustments to reflect price inflation since the competition was launched in April 2005, 79 were built for close to or less than £60,000.