Project aims to shine a light on modular benefits

A new project aims to highlight how modular homes and the use of modern methods of construction can help tackle some of the UK’s housing challenges.

Home Group has teamed up with ENGIE for the initiative in the north east of England, which will test a range of products and smart technology on one site. Work for Gateshead Innovation Village will start this summer and a “complete community” is expected before the end of the year.

A recent study carried out on behalf of Home Group by YouGov found that 52% of individuals would be unlikely to live in a modular home, yet almost 90% failed to identify a modern modular product.

The research revealed 41% of respondents believe modular homes are less durable than conventionally built homes. However, using a selection of images from which people could identify modular homes, Home Group said many identified two container home images as modular (75% and 78% respectively), whereas only 11% identified today’s product as a modular home.

Brian Ham, executive director – development, Home Group said, “We’ve always known that there may be issues with perceptions of modular homes, but it’s reassuring to see that these are not based upon today’s products. If we are to respond to the ongoing housing crisis we need to find new and innovative ways of tackling the issue, and modular homes, as well as wider modern methods of construction, including volumetric products, will allow us to deliver homes more efficiently.”

Referring to the Gateshead Innovation Village project, Brian added, “The project draws on the expertise of a wide range of partners, from ENGIE who is constructing the site on our behalf, to some of the UK’s leading modern methods of construction suppliers, smart tech developers, sustainable energy suppliers and of course our research partner. Our aim is to robustly test and compare a wide range and combination of products on the one site, working with all tenants to regularly evaluate the benefits.

“We can then make a case for the increased use of modern methods of construction nationally, and even internationally, using our findings to support and inform all elements of the process – from product design and build to financial lending decisions for potential modular homeowners.”

Andrew McIntosh, regional managing director for ENGIE added, “This is an incredibly unique project and one which we are proud to be a part of.  Home Group has demonstrated exceptional commitment to not only tackling the housing crisis but doing so with the public’s interests at the fore. By thinking outside the box and working collaboratively with respective experts, we have been able to bring the Innovation Village to life.

“Our aim is to build a variety of homes, using different methods of construction; so we can evaluate and report on the quickest, most efficient and cost effective ways of delivering the much-needed new homes our country needs and wants.”