Happy third birthday to ilke Homes!

In just three years, ilke Homes has taken the housebuilding industry by storm.

What started as a concept in a shed in the small coastal town of Bridlington, ilke Homes has quickly become a business model and product that is revolutionising the way in which homes are being built up and down the country.

As we celebrate our third birthday, let’s take a trip down memory lane and find out exactly how ilke Homes became the business it is today.

The early days

Our journey began in March 2016, when Keepmoat Group, one of the UK’s largest private housebuilders, began collaborating with offsite specialist Elliot. 

The two companies had two notable things in common: a goal of speeding up the delivery of sustainable, high-quality homes, and forward-thinking owners in TDR Capital.

Keepmoat and Elliot collaborated throughout most of 2016 on creating modern methods of housebuilding that could be scaled to address the UK’s housing crisis. After delivering the first two demonstrator homes in Gallions Reach, east London, ilke Homes was incorporated into a single entity in October 2017.

In 2018, ilke Homes secured its first manufacturing facility – our 250,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art factory in Knaresborough which was formally opened by the then-housing secretary, James Brokenshire MP a few months later.

By April 2018, we had launched our 2018 House type portfolio at the Ecobuild event in London, released our first homes for market sale at Keepmoat Homes’ Dominion development in Doncaster, and employed our first 100 staff at our factory in North Yorkshire – a figure which has since grown to well over 500!

A month later, we formed our long-standing partnership with housing association Home Group. To kick-off, we were tasked with manufacturing smart homes for affordable rent at Home Group and ENGIE’s Gateshead Innovation Village. Our aim here was to explore how we can deliver on our mission to build aspirational homes which would have once upon a time been financially inaccessible for so many people in society.

In line with the project’s strict minimum requirements, all six of our homes at Gateshead were successfully designed to achieve a net-zero status, meaning they do not emit any carbon during operation – a trait we were keen on making central to our designs and which we were commended for at last year’s Inside Housing Development Summit.

Momentum gathers

Fast forward a year to 2019 and it was clear that ilke Homes’ expansion and industry influence was growing.

ilke Homes began this milestone year by handing over 16 factory-built homes to Keepmoat Homes and Places for People, while also scooping the Best Use of Volumetric Technology award at the Offsite Awards.

By May, we were really putting ilke Homes on the map and garnering huge interest from government and industry. That month, we signed a £100m deal with placemaking organisation Places for People. It was the modular sector’s largest-ever deal and created quite the fuss in the media, with BBC Breakfast, Reuters TV and Central China Television making the trip to Yorkshire to witness how we were revolutionising housebuilding.

Not resting on our laurels, we knew that if momentum kept pace, we’d need a highly-skilled, digital-savvy workforce to create our homes. That’s why in September 2019, we launched the ilke Academy: an onsite training facility to train up the next generation of housebuilders and engineers to manufacture homes in factories. 

We made a commitment to championing diversity in construction, which is why trainees at our Academy come from all walks of life, whether they’re a school leaver, military veteran or retiree.

To top off what can only be described as a breath-taking, company-defining year, we announced that we had signed a £30m first-of-its-kind deal with the government’s housing agency, Homes England. The investment, which is being used to scale-up our production, has meant that we remain on track to becoming a top ten housebuilder by the end of the decade.

Another year of rapid growth

Like a lot of other businesses, especially in the manufacturing and housebuilding sectors, Covid-19 has meant we’ve been faced with considerable challenges for the majority of 2020.

However, like any recession, the coronavirus crisis gave us the chance to take a deep dive into the fundamentals of our company and to ensure our continued success. Since March, we’ve secured over five “turnkey deals” thanks to our trailblazing land team, including those agreed with Stonewater and Network Rail – which garnered interest from The Times.

We’ve also successfully expanded regionally, opening offices in London, Birmingham and Bristol, as well as creating a new ‘homes and development unit’, to manage our demand pipeline which has grown by 200 percent in just a year. 

It’s been an extraordinary three years, but at ilke Homes, this is just the beginning! With the backing of the government, an ever-growing demand pipeline and new state-of-the-art technologies in our factory, our journey to revolutionising housebuilding is well underway.

As we look ahead, we will continue to commit to creating beautiful homes and communities that are financially accessible to all, in a bid to solve the UK’s worsening housing crisis. What’s more, we will continue to ensure our homes exceed energy-efficiency standards and power the UK economy’s journey to net-zero.

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