The National House-Building Council, in partnership with the BRE Trust, has launched the NHBC Foundation to help the housebuilding industry provide sustainable homes using modern methods of construction.

Launched at the National Portrait Gallery yesterday, the foundation will be chaired by former housing and planning minister Nick Raynsford MP.

It will invest more than £500,000 in research and development in its first year.

A website is already live to give contractors, developers, lenders and suppliers information and advice on the latest building techniques.

At the launch, Mr Raynsford said the foundation would support the industry in rising to the significant challenges ahead. He said: “This is not going to be a talking shop. We will be mapping current reserach, looking for the gaps to be filled and identifying workable, bright ideas that, if brought to market, will make a real difference.”

Timber industry representatives at the launch included Bryan Woodley, UK Timber Frame Association chief executive. He said: “This is an exciting new initiative which gives a real opprotunity to transfer knowledge from the research community to practical housebuilding.”

And Geoff Arnold, managing director of timber frame company Pinewood, said: “Housebuilders are the ones that make the decisions so whatever happens here has to resonate with them and their commercial operations. It is a great idea to pool resources and to transfer that into practical applications.”