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IT'S DULL, YES, BUT LPS 2020 COULD REVOLUTIONISE OUR HOUSING STOCK

EDITORIAL

Three cheers for one of the dullest documents ever published. LPS 2020, the new certi-cation standard for housing, is certainly not a riveting read, but it is an important one. If you can stay awake to take in its full title, Standard for Innovative Systems, Elements and Components for Residential Buildings, you may get an inkling of its impact. Containing no technical innovation whatsoever, and perilously little imagination, it may nevertheless help to revolutionise our housing stock.

It will give mortgage lenders and insurance companies the assurance they seek that houses built using modern methods of construction can provide guaranteed quality and performance - even though they have no track record.

Spaceover Group, a manufacturer of lightweight steel-frame volumetric systems, is one of the -rst companies to be calibrated against the system, and received its certi-cate in a ceremony alongside Interbuild in Birmingham. Although it is already enjoying success on projects with highpro-le practices such as Proctor and Matthews, the certi-cate will make its approach more widely acceptable.

Too often mortgage lenders and insurers are regarded as the unacceptable brake on the adoption of new approaches, but it is in their nature to be risk averse, and they have been burnt in the past, particularly in the -eld of prefab housing. As Andrew Heywood, policy adviser to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, said at the launch: 'We want to make sure that innovation of the future does not resemble that of the past.'

If ideas such as those proposed by Youmeheshe in this issue (see pages 32-38), or the developments that will arise from the European Manubuild project (AJ 27.04.06) are to achieve fruition, they will rely heavily on architectural imagination and the skills of manufacturing industry. Both are inherently more exciting than a dry document from the BRE. But it is LPS 2020 that will give them their chance of widespread adoption.

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