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Revealed: modern tech allows modular housing firm to continue working

A modular housing developer has safely completed a housing development in Leeds and continues to work on six other sites across England, despite most traditional construction sites grinding to a halt during lockdown.

ilke Homes says that because its homes are made in a factory, minimal work is required when they arrive on-site. As a result, completion takes days - not weeks - and enables work to be finished safely while fully respecting all social distancing and safety rules.

The developer also insists it can restart delivery immediately with minimal workers on site, ‘meaning that developers and housing associations can deliver homes faster and safer than through traditional methods of construction’.

ilke Homes delivers modules by road to sites, fully-complete with kitchens, bathrooms and interiors, before being craned into their final position.

With utilities and foundations pre-installed, the houses are connected within a matter of hours with minimal labour, ensuring social distancing is maintained, the company insists.

In ‘just three days in April’, ilke Homes says it safely installed four homes on-site at Wykebeck, Leeds. It is also continuing work on six other sites across Leeds, Derbyshire, Wakefield, Kent, Cumbria and London, which are set to be completed in May and June.

The firm’s new land and partnership team, led by former Crest Nicholson Midlands managing director Ben Miller, has also secured three land acquisitions that are set to lead to the development of 205 homes across Derbyshire, Gloucestershire and Hereford.

Furthermore, the company says it has been proactively refining and improving the state-of-the-art technology that it uses at its 250,000 sq ft factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

This technology will ensure the safety of its employees, ilke Homes claims, eliminating any personal contact while maintaining the efficient production of homes.

The firm claims that modular construction has many benefits, with homes manufactured in the factory taking half the time of traditional construction and resulting ‘in greener, better-quality buildings with fewer defects and twice the energy-efficiency of a traditional home’.

Revealed: modern tech allows modular housing firm to continue working

ilke Homes believes that, because of the improved speed of its build process against traditional construction, it is ideally placed to spearhead housing delivery once the current crisis ends.

The government has focused on ramping up the delivery of factory-built homes in an effort to meet its target of building 300,000 homes a year, with ilke Homes claiming that off-site manufacturing is capable of delivering homes twice as fast as traditional construction.

Last year, Homes England invested £30 million into ilke Homes to help scale-up the company’s production capacity, with it now being capable of producing 2,000 homes a year from its factory.

Dave Sheridan, executive chairman at ilke Homes, commented: “We have had to make adjustments to ensure we can follow safety guidelines and protect our staff, but because homes manufactured in a factory can arrive to site fully-finished, we have been able to keep working and minimise delays. Off-site manufacturing is the safest and most effective means of building new homes in line with the government’s guidelines.”

He added: “We are now turning our attention to the long-term, as we look to build resilience into the industry by delivering high-quality, energy-efficient homes safely and at speed. This will be essential to the post-Covid recovery phase, and we want to be working with the government and partners across the industry to rapidly kickstart the country’s house building mission.”

You can watch a BBC Breakfast film behind the scenes at the company’s Yorkshire factory from May 2019 here.

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