Housing pilot to compare modern methods of construction

12 June 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Photo credit: Tim Green

An innovative housing project is set to “robustly” compare and contrast modern methods of construction, as a range of designs are built on just one site.

Gateshead Innovation Village, a live research project led by Home Group, funded by Homes England and backed by development partner Engie, aims to highlight potential and viable solutions to the housing crisis, as well as building confidence in offsite building.

Ilke Homes, a British modular homes business, has started work on the first modular volumetric unit that will be delivered to the Gateshead site in just ten weeks’ time.

Joy Whinnerah, head of delivery, Home Group said: “We’re all incredibly excited about this project as it will see a wide range of homes and construction methods being tried and tested together on the one site.

“Not only that, but we are really keen to understand what our customers like and don’t like about living in these types of homes. So we will be monitoring a range of aspects to check how these homes perform for the customers who live in them.”

Whinnerah added that she hoped the project would increase confidence in modern methods of construction and tackle negative public perceptions based around modular homes.

She said: “We recently commissioned YouGov to carry out research into public perceptions of modular homes. We found that only around 50% of respondents said they would be happy to live in a modular home, however, almost 90% could not identify a modern modular product. This shows that whilst perceptions are low, they are not based on reality.”

Members of the public will be able to use communications tools and digital technologies to go behind the scenes of modular builds and see what is involved.

Bjorn Conway, CEO of Ilke Homes said: “Visitors to Gateshead Innovation Village will be blown away by the high quality of our homes, which we will install in just one day. Using the latest offsite manufacturing techniques, we supply developers, local authorities and RPs with homes which are attractive, energy efficient and designed with real families in mind. We are proud to partner with Home Group to create sustainable communities, bringing additional housing capacity to help solve the housing crisis.”  

Andrew McIntosh, regional managing director for Engie, said: “Not only is this unique project creating a step change for the way in which people view modular homes, but it is allowing us the opportunity to upskill the next generation of industry trainees, apprentices and graduates on modern methods of construction. In doing this, we are not only supporting to change perceptions which could lead to the provision of more homes, but we are working to alleviate the skills crisis we face within the sector.”

Neil Graham, head of accelerated delivery, Yorkshire, North East and The Humber, Homes England, said: “In addition to Ilke Homes, Home Group is also working with Premier Modular, Xella UK and Icarus Light Steel Framing. There will also be six traditionally built, semi-detached homes on site. All homes will be for affordable rent and residents will have the opportunity to trial and test a wide range of smart technology products and green energy solutions.”

PHOTO CAPTION: L-R  Neil Graham, head of accelerated delivery, Yorkshire, North East and The Humber, Homes England; Nigel Banks, product and marketing director, Ilke Homes; Joy Whinerrah, head of delivery, Home Group and Andrew McIntosh, regional managing director, Engie

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