2020: A year we will always remember

2020 has been yet another milestone year for us and there are certainly no signs of slowing down.

To put this into perspective, ilke Homes’ development pipeline has grown by an astonishing 500% since April 2020. With thanks to the hard work and dedication from all our teams, we, as a company, are now well on course to becoming a top ten housebuilder in the next ten years.

A lot has happened in the last year, not only at our own business, but in the wider economy – and despite the hardships we were faced with, we’ve come out the other side a stronger business.

So, let’s take a look at the events that made 2020 a year to remember.

Kicking off the year with zero-carbon

To kick off the year, we announced our partnership with Positive Homes, an SME housebuilder in Nottinghamshire, which, as you may guess by the company’s name, is aiming to deliver homes that make a positive impact to residents and the surrounding local community. From our 250,000 sq. ft factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, we manufactured nine zero-carbon homes for the developer.

We strive to make eco-friendly living aspirational, and the homes delivered certainly portrayed that message. Thanks to precision-engineering techniques, we were able to deliver light and airy homes that were far more airtight than those traditionally built and came equipped with low-carbon technologies.

In just a matter of weeks, we successfully installed the homes for the developer. The homes, which have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of ‘A’, are 99 percent more energy-efficient than all new-build homes in the UK thanks to low-carbon technologies such as air source heat pumps, which extract air from the outside to heat a home, and solar panels, that provide low-cost energy. This means the homes can be powered on as little as £1-a-day. Housing Today had the story.

Giving back to our nation’s key workers

Later in the year, in May, we co-launched a national programme of constructing 100,000 low-cost homes over five years, which will be prioritised for key workers who have fought on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Branded the Homes for Heroes campaign, the call was backed by housing’s, construction’s and manufacturing’s biggest players, including the likes of the G15 group, which represents London’s 12 largest associations, the British Property Federation, one of the property industry’s largest trade bodies, and Places for People, a housing association who we signed a record-breaking £100m deal with last year. The story garnered huge interest among the national and trade press. Our executive chairman, Dave Sheridan spoke to the Daily Express about the campaign.

The evolution of ilke Homes continues

A month later, we announced the creation of our new homes and development unit, headed up by our newly appointed CEO Ben Miller.

The new unit – which merged with our core business of manufacturing homes from our factory – has allowed us to now offer ‘turnkey’ development solutions, where we take charge of the whole construction programme, from remedial work on site to installing fully-fitted, high-quality, energy-efficient homes later down the line. The announcement kicked up quite the fuss in the industry, with Construction News and Estates Gazette, to name a few, also covering the story.

Turning the heat up in the summer months

The team, in which Ben Miller sits alongside former Crest Nicholson executives Tom Heathcote, Tristin Willis and Matthew Bench, who are the executive directors of development, construction and partnerships respectively, has worked tirelessly all year to grow our pipeline. Thanks to the team’s hard work, we were able to announce a flurry of deals throughout the summer months as much of the construction industry laid dormant due to Covid-19.

These include a deal with Network Rail, the owners and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in the UK, to deliver 40 sustainable modular homes on a brownfield site next to Beeston station. The Times had the exclusive on it. While just a month after, ITV broke the news to 3.75 million readers that ilke Homes had partnered with Vistry, a UK top ten housebuilder, to solve the housing shortage in Bristol.

And then, to round off what was already a jam-packed few months, CNBC, one of North America’s largest news channels, ran a story on modular housing which featured our zero-carbon homes in Greenwich front and center. The story reached a mind-boggling 500 million readers!

TV and radio time for ilke Homes

The same homes also featured on Sky News in November, on a primetime news bulletin slot, following the Government’s launch of its 10-point plan to tackle climate change. Paul Kelso, the channel’s business correspondent, took a trip down to Lister Terrace to speak to a resident living in one of the homes – and it’s safe to say she loves her modular home! You can watch back here.

Our time in the spotlight certainly didn’t stop there, however. In the same month, our executive chairman appeared on Bloomberg Radio and explained to 17.5 million listeners how ilke Homes is revolutionising housebuilding across the UK.

ilke Homes secures yet another record-breaking deal

Not resting on our laurels, we announced a £31m deal with Man Group in November. To put the significance of this deal into context, you only need to look at the company’s global influence. Man Group is responsible for managing $113 billion worth of asset for investors across the globe. The asset manager’s investment into modular housing was the largest the sector has seen this year!

Looking ahead

As we round off what was yet another milestone year, we, as a company, are looking ahead to 2021 and are excited for what the future holds.

We have directed our research and development investment, which was part-funded by our landmark deal with Homes England, to boost our manufacturing capability. By harnessing the capabilities of new technologies, including the same software used to create the world’s fastest and most expensive Formula 1 racing cars, we’re actively helping the Government push ahead with its plans to boost construction and manufacturing in the North.

We are constantly seeking new opportunities with ambitious partners across the country, so please do feel free to get in touch and see how you can help build the future

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