Social Housing Target
CM reports that two established UK firms have responded to the UK’s housing crisis by announcing offsite manufacturing initiatives aimed specifically at the social housing sector.
Engineering giant Atkins has teamed up with a new steel-framed housing system supplier to launch “MetroHome”, a concept designed to let local authorities build on small brownfield sites.
“The UK’s housing crisis has had a detrimental impact on society for too long”– Philip Hoare, Atkins
New Specialist Development Division
And Birmingham-based Colmore Tang Construction launched a division to supply land, planning and properties for social housing. The company said it was “keen to be involved with” offsite manufacturing for its new division.
3 Million New SOCIAL Homes
The moves follow calls by a UK cross-party housing commission for three million new social homes to be built in the next 20 years, a dramatic increase on the current level of just over 6,000 homes a year.
Call for “Market Disruption”
Philip Hoare, UK & Europe chief executive officer of SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, said:
“The UK’s housing crisis has had a detrimental impact on society for too long. If we want to get close to narrowing the gap between supply and demand the market needs disruption, and offsite constructed housing offers a great opportunity to bring a fresh approach to this decades-old housing shortage.”
Save 30% with 10 week build
Participating in the Atkins initiative is Parabuild Solutions, a company launched in 2016 to provide a low-cost steel framed housing system. Atkins said experts from across the housing sector developed MetroHome, which will enable properties to be built:
“… in as little as 10 weeks and for 30% less cost than traditional industry new-build methods”.
“The solution has the future potential to deliver thousands of high quality council homes per year for local authorities”.
Its commercial model allows councils to retain freehold on the land.
Lambeth Prototype Scheme for 100 house sites
The first MetroHome houses will be built later this year in the London Borough of Lambeth. Colmore Tang’s new social housing division, Colmore Tang Living, aims to source land in the Midlands to deliver up to 100 high-quality houses per site using unspecified offsite manufacturing methods.
One Stop Shop
The company said it would be:
“a one-stop shop for sourcing land, achieving planning and delivering properties”.
Andy Robinson, CEO of Colmore Tang Group, said:
“We’ve long championed forward-thinking practices that bring significant benefits to the construction industry, and off-site manufacturing is a fast, lean and efficient method that we are keen to be involved with.”
Weston Group Joins In
Meanwhile, UK volume housebuilder Weston Group announced the opening of a “housebuilding factory” in Braintree, Essex, to provide kitchen and bathroom assemblies for its residential developments.
We Prefer Timber
Lightweight steel frame housing methods have been around for at least 60 years, but they’ve never really caught on. True, there I handful of UK, Irish and other national companies pushing their own current take on such systems, but they still all lack the flexibility provided by timber frame. Specifying any system is an important step for engineers, architects and all who strive for improved, lower cost, more environmentally sustainable construction, but timber still seems to offer all the benefits with few of the disadvantages. So in our drive to turn concepts into factory built components for on-site assembly, we still prefer timber. In this respect we believe we are at the forefront of making DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) a reality. It begins with the way we design, specify and incorporate ‘appropriate’ technology into all buildings. It also draws together concepts from over 50 years interest in sustainable development.
DfMA at the forefront
As Off-Site construction matures into Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) it is clearly at the forefront as an enabler for such delivery. New homes will very soon be ‘Smart’ in numerous ways, including full incorporation of energy saving and TIoT (the internet of things) to deliver major components. This is something that ‘Off-Site’. DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) will need to seriously consider as the industry moves forward.
Greater collaborative ‘partnering’ between architects, builders and manufacturers is needed to accomplish this The greater speed, accuracy and quality that can result from manufacturing components in a dry, controlled factory environment, together with the ability tom incorporate (yet to be invented) ‘Smart Ware’ gives home builders perhaps the only way of achieving this, together with improved on-site build quality AND controlling costs.
While resistance to the change to DfMA has been the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Off-Site for their developments. Also, as ‘OffSite Hub” note, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something w have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process.
Easy Timber Frame
To assist them in doing so our “Easy Timber Frame “ now offers standard size modular timber frame elements for them to use as a design base, cutting down on technical design and engineering to produce win-win results.