Construction Scotland Innovation Centre forms partnership to drive use of innovation in social housing

The Scottish construction sector’s first-ever hub for innovation has formed a partnership with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).

The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and the SFHA aim to use innovation to increase the affordability, sustainability, quality and supply of social housing.

The tie-up aims to help housing associations face up to a series of challenges, including meeting Scottish Government affordable housing targets against a backdrop of skills shortages plus meeting safety standards, through the Home of the Future Innovation and Future Thinking programme.

Among the issues the partnership will address will be 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.

It will also work jointly to investigate the potential benefits of offsite construction and co-design ways to increase supply.

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.”

SFHA chief executive Sally Thomas added: “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 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.”