The NHBC Foundation chaired by Nick Raynsford will spend more than £500,000 in housing research and development.

Former housing and planning minister, Nick Raynsford MP is to become the first chairman of the NHBC Foundation, which has been launched today.

The Foundation, which has been established by NHBC in partnership with the BRE Trust, will invest more than £500,000 in research and development to support the house-building industry in its first year. It will provide practical assistance to the house-building industry and has established a web site called, which carries in-depth information on modern methods of construction.

The Foundation will also examine areas of public policy relevant to the house building industry and the government.

Nick Raynsford will be supported by an advisory board made up of leading figures from the housing sector. Among these are Richard Simmons, chief executive of Cabe; Professor Steve Wilcox of the Centre for Housing Policy at York University; David Pretty, chief executive of Barratt Developments PLC; June Barnes, chief executive of East Thames Group.

At its launch yesterday, Nick Raynsford said: "The Foundation is a tremendously exciting initiative, which will focus on practical, relevant research to support the industry in rising to the significant challenges ahead."

"This is not going to be a talking shop. We will be mapping current research, looking for the gaps to be filled and identifying workable, bright ideas that, if brought to the market, will make a real difference."