Deputy prime minister John Prescott has delivered a clarion call for good design in construction projects of the future, demanding 'more of the wow factor'.
Prescott - speaking at Tuesday's Better Buildings Summit - told assembled delegates that 'money spent on good design is a much better investment than lawyers at public inquiries'.
And he called for an end to 'Noddy housing'. 'We really need to try harder and start looking at design as an investment and not a cost, ' he said. 'People like good design and they like good architecture.'
'We need more of that wow factor in the new communities we are building and in the new public buildings we are constructing, 'he added.
Prescott also demanded that the construction industry make better use of prefabrication. 'Of course change increases risks but I believe the construction industry is sometimes over cautious, 'he said.
'New methods of production have huge potential. It is ridiculous that it can take up to 28 visits to fit a bathroom in a conventionally-built home.
'We need to encourage off-site manufacture to make construction more cost-effective, ' he added. 'I have asked English Partnerships to pilot new ideas for off-site eco-homes on the areas proposed for growth in the Communities Plan.'
The Better Building Summit, hosted by the ODPM, aimed to bring together architects, planners, contractors and others to discuss how to deliver high quality housing through the Communities Plan.