Homes England supports council offsite housing pilot

27 December 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

A local authority has completed its first modular build after securing £120,000 in funding from government housing agency Homes England.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Council (NBBC) built a pilot development consisting of four modular, semi-detached two-bedroom properties, built on former garage sites on Ashington Road, Bedworth.

The project has been used to test the feasibility of using modular housing to increase the pace of housing delivery. The homes were manufactured by Ashby & Croft, which has a manufacturing facility in Nuneaton.

The steel frames for the homes were constructed in factory conditions

After identifying a reduction in build time of 10-12 weeks as compared to a traditional build, the council has now identified a further seven sites for potential development over the next year and is working with other local authorities to share the knowledge and expertise developed as a result of the pilot.

The council is also in the process of establishing a procurement framework through which they provide suppliers with more assurances and greater volumes and can achieve economies of scale.

Mat Byrne, head of development for NBBC said “We identified modular development as an efficient and cost-effective solution to respond to the growing demand for housing. We started from scratch and worked with a local firm to develop a working model for our homes. It’s been a long process and we’ve learnt a lot along the way but as a result of the pilot, we’ve found that we are able to reduce the build time by approximately 10 - 12 weeks when compared with traditional build.”

Delivery of the homes to site

“This model has enabled us to deliver homes in a reduced timeframe, without compromising on quality with the added benefit of minimising disruption to residents living nearby as the time onsite is significantly reduced.”

Head of home ownership & supply in the Midlands for Homes England, Caroline Cormack added: “At Homes England we are committed to promoting modern methods of construction across the industry, so it’s great to see organisations such as Nuneaton & Bedworth Council who are willing to not only conduct their own pilot but also to work with partners to secure a supply chain.”

Dawn Dawson, director for housing, communities and economic development at NBBC said: “I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve through this pilot scheme and it’s opened up conversations in the wider region about how we can diversify the delivery of housing to suit the needs of our communities.

“There is still some work to be done around modular construction to dispel myth that it is comparable to the 1960 prefab homes, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Modular construction has provided us with high quality, energy efficient, well designed housing that will provide much needed homes for families in Nuneaton and Bedworth.”

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