It’s been a busy year for us at ilke Homes, and as we draw closer to Christmas, momentum is showing no signs of slowing down.
So far in 2019, we’ve been shortlisted for seven awards, three of which we’ve already won, and also partnered with the UK’s leading placemaking organisation, Places for People, in the biggest-ever modular deal in the UK.
As we enter the final months of the year, we’re delighted to announce we’ve agreed a £30m investment from Homes England to boost our factory’s production capacity. The deal is the first time the UK government agency has ever invested directly into a modular housing factory and is testament to Homes England’s “dynamic approach” to addressing “structural issues within our housing and construction industries,” said our Executive Chairman Dave Sheridan.
The deal, which has been endorsed by the likes of housing minister Esther McVey MP and government advisor Mark Farmer, will be a huge boost for the offsite manufacturing industry as Homes England continues to champion MMC. This is a “bold policy” that will help fulfil “people’s desire to own their own homes”, the minister said.
If modular is to reach new heights in delivering high quality, sustainable housing across the UK, support from the public sector is crucial. Set up costs for manufacturers who build homes in factories are far greater than traditional firms. A lot of capital has to be ploughed into securing a factory, developing machinery and creating templates for modular homes.
With government backing from bodies such as Homes England, vital support can be given to SMEs starting out in the modular world, where Nick Walkley, Chief Executive at Homes England, explains there is “huge, untapped potential by creating more construction capacity”. This will allow smaller companies to begin thinking about long-term strategy at an earlier stage.
This is why we’re delighted to partner with the government’s national housing agency. Thanks to their additional capital, we’re now able to realise some of our long-term goals. The investment is due to boost our factory’s production capacity to 2,000 homes a year by 2020. In the next five years, our capacity will increase to 5,000 homes per annum, making ilke Homes a Top 10 Housebuilder in the UK.
This extra capacity is important. We have a strong pipeline of work and established route to market. Homes England saw our company had a tried and tested model and was able to accommodate the growing demand for modular housing.
Extra capacity in the modular world couldn’t come at a better time for the UK housing market. As set out by Robert Jenrick MP in his speech at the Policy Exchange and Create Streets in October, the government is committed to a programme of establishing practical steps to deliver more beautiful, sustainable homes faster through the Future Homes Standard and National Design Code.
Modular can certainly lead them down the right path on their journey to innovate house building. By manufacturing offsite, our precision-engineered homes can be delivered twice as fast as traditional methods of construction, while also being 20 per cent more energy-efficient than other new builds – delivering huge long-term cost savings for consumers, as well as a reduction in carbon emissions.
In addition, and as Nick Walkley rightly points out, each home that rolls off our production line is fully accredited by Britain’s major insurers and lenders, meaning every home is fully mortgageable. Interestingly, ilke Homes is also the first and only offsite manufacturer to achieve the coveted NHBC system accreditation, meaning consumers can have full confidence in our homes.
The benefits modular affords in addressing the skills gap in construction are also plentiful. As modular becomes more of a mainstream solution to delivering housing, there is an opportunity to upskill the current workforce.
MMC requires a strong knowledge of information technology, such as Built Information Modelling (BIM), which enables designers to create a digital twin of the homes they are manufacturing. When you make the move to modular, skills in design and an understanding of engineering principles becomes ever more critical. Interestingly, these skills are also applicable to many other jobs in the manufacturing industry, such as car production, which equips the next generation of professionals with the necessary skills to help them prosper in their careers.
We pride ourselves on being a company where people want to work, learn and grow as they gain experience in the latest pioneering offsite manufacturing techniques. The new employment opportunities that will be created as a product of this deal will be open to people of all ages and all backgrounds. Now, with firm backing from the government, there couldn’t be a better time to join us as we embark on changing the way the UK delivers homes.
To find out more about our deal with Homes England and a range of roles we have on offer, visit www.ilkehomes.co.uk