One year on: how our deal with Places for People made modular mainstream

What a difference a year makes. In May 2019, we signed an historic partnership with Places for People, one of the UK’s largest placemaking organisations, in what was the sector’s largest-ever deal. 

The £100m deal announced what has been called construction’s “Uber moment” – in reference to the ride-hailing app’s impact on the taxi market, modernising an age-old industry and helping to speed up delivery, cutting cost and giving our customers unrivalled choice and quality. 

The strategic partnership will see 750 of our precision-engineered homes delivered up and down the country, helping to house the families who are currently sitting on a national housing waiting list of more than 1.1m households.

Our deal with Places for People has boosted our production capacity, providing us with a consistent order pipeline and signalled an enormous vote of confidence in the future of modular housing. 

It was also a wake-up call for the housebuilding industry. For a sector which has been burdened by a myriad of problems, from quality control through to pace of delivery, our technology-led solution continues to showcase the true force of innovation and the huge benefits that can be derived from diversifying delivery methods.

In November last year, we received a major investment of £30m from Homes England, which will be used to speed up our delivery and considerably increase our capacity, meaning we’ll see up to 5,000 new green homes rolling off our production line a year within the next five years – making us a top ten housebuilder in the UK.

These developments mean we can continue to manufacture high-quality, energy-efficient homes at speed and scale in a safer and cleaner working environment than traditional construction.

Forging a long-lasting, meaningful partnership with Places for People means both parties open up new revenue streams for local authorities and public bodies, help to generate cashflow and share risk.

Over the past year, we have emerged in the enviable position of being market leaders in MMC, at the forefront of major deals and developments and helping to build public interest in our sector. 

We are not the only show in town, of course. Over the past year L&G Modular, Urban Splash and Vision Modular have been pushing ahead with their own projects, showcasing the diversity of modular solutions. 

This is positive news. A growing modular sector not only helps improve the supply chain and draw investment, it also helps to present a more compelling viable alternative to traditional construction methods when in discussions with local authorities and Government. 

As our Places for People deal shows, we are stronger when we work together. Looking ahead, collaboration across the board will be key if we, as an industry, are to encourage more developers, investors, housing associations and councils to make the move to modular.

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