Modular building specialist confirms ambitious UK expansion plans

MODULAR building specialist Volumetric Building Companies (VBC) has confirmed plans to expand in the UK market.

The global firm said it is on track to become a $1 billion modular construction company over the next three years and is targeting the UK build-to-rent, affordable housing, student accommodation, and hotel sectors.

The move follows VBC’s merger with Polish modular manufacturer Polcom earlier this year, and acquisitions which include the assets of modular business Katerra.

Led by Vaughan Buckley and headquartered in Philadelphia, VBC offers steel-framed modular and timber construction technologies.

Andy Smith, UK director of VBC, said, “Residential – both build-to-rent and affordable housing – is one of the fastest growing segments of the offsite sector, driven by the high cost of private rental, the lack of affordable housing, and changing demographics. There is a critical need to increase the housing stock in high density urban areas and to radically improve the productivity of UK construction.

“We now have a dedicated management team in place in the UK and there are plans to have an offsite manufacturing facility for VBC here, in addition to our existing and extensive modular production resources in mainland Europe.

“Our aim in the next three years is to secure a strong order pipeline in our target sectors in the UK – student accommodation, build-to-rent, affordable housing, defence, custodial, and hotels – and to raise the profile of VBC here, ahead of our expansion into Western Europe. We are already in advanced discussions with a number of hotel groups, private developers, major contractors, and social housing providers.

“VBC has the resource and proven expertise in the industrialisation of construction, using a Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) approach and data intelligence to drive continuous improvement. We have dominated the hospitality and affordable housing spaces in other countries with our innovative timber volumetric and steel-framed offsite solutions.

“We also manufacture ‘components’ in-house – such as bathrooms and cabinets for kitchens and bedrooms – giving us complete control and security of supply for fixtures, fittings and finishes from design to manufacture, installation and handover.”

VBC has more than 500 employees and over 1.25m sq ft of manufacturing space in the US and Europe.

Vaughan Buckley, CEO of VBC, added, “VBC is set to become the leading provider of optimised, cost-effective, sustainable solutions for modular buildings around the world. We have tremendous capabilities in the engineering and delivery of advanced modular solutions and buildings which are fully finished and even furnished offsite.

“Having technology-led production facilities on multiple continents, we are now well placed to drive change, transform construction, and address the housing crisis in the UK, Europe, US, and globally.”