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Modular update – Affordable housing scheme and wooden buildings

Herefordshire Council has approved plans for a development that will see the delivery of 120 factory-built affordable homes – one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

The scheme is being delivered through a £23 million partnership between modular housing company ilke Homes and housing company Stonewater.

Supported by Homes England, the formerly derelict site on the Holmer Trading Estate has now been cleared and will be transformed to ‘tackle the local growing demand for affordable housing’ with works set to commence in April. 


The site, which was secured by ilke Homes from the landowners and subsequently bought by Stonewater last year, is the first project ilke Homes had secured under its full development ‘turnkey’ offering – which involves the housebuilder leading the entire development programme.

It also marks the first time ilke Homes has geared up to deliver over 100 homes on a single scheme.

The planned development is set to deliver 74 affordable rent and 46 shared ownership homes, comprising a mix of one, two, three and four-bedrooms. All the homes will be manufactured at ilke Homes’ 250,000 sq. ft factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

Upon completion, the homes will be available for either affordable rent or shared ownership and underpinned with accreditations from NHBC, the leading home construction warranty and insurance provider.

John Hickman, development director (Midlands and North) at ilke Homes, says: “While the housing market has remained largely insulated from the wider economic downturn that we’ve seen as a result of Covid-19, rapidly rising house prices have meant that affordability levels are at an all-time low.”

“Since launching our full development ‘turnkey’ offering, we’ve been able to offer housing associations, councils, investors and developers a solution to housing delivery that provides certainty over construction programmes. We look forward to continuing to work with the forward-thinking housing provider Stonewater to deliver this 100% affordable scheme.”

Matt Crucefix, director of development (South and West) at Stonewater, adds: “Tackling the housing crisis requires ambition, innovation and speed of delivery without jeopardising quality, which is why we’re committed to working with our partners to deliver affordable, well-designed homes that our customers and communities can be proud of.”

“We’re proud to be building on our strong development pipeline in Herefordshire – an area where we’re currently providing more than 260 new affordable homes – to deliver this progressive development opportunity with ilke Homes.”

Wood you believe it? - Metsä Wood set to build modular buildings

Metsä Wood, a producer and seller of premium quality wood, says it is looking for new partners which use Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) in innovative modular construction projects.

One example is 369 Pattern Buildings, a joint project with the modular construction company Harmet, architects from the Estonian Academy of Arts and engineers interested in timber construction.

Kristo Kalbe, energy efficiency engineer of 369 Pattern Buildings, points out that the main goal of the Pattern Buildings project is to create a mass-customisable system based on modular design.

“Unique buildings can be built based on the same mass-produced structural system,” he says. “This is the idea of Pattern Buildings: using the same building components, one can build very small houses, as well as apartment buildings and hospitals.”

Modular update – Affordable housing scheme and wooden buildings

The Pattern Building system allows timber buildings with up to seven floors. The walls of the basic modules used in the Pattern Buildings concept need to have large openings adaptable to different requirements.

Kalbe adds: “The openings can be used for large rooms or windows if that’s what a customer needs. However, large openings weaken the modules.”

“Here, Kerto LVL is of help as well. It allows us to use a more sustainable material instead of steel or concrete, which require more energy to produce. As LVL is also much lighter, the total weight of the building is smaller. This helps to save resources spent on the foundation, for example.”

Last year, a project Pattern Building, Turu 21, came fourth in the Metsä Wood Hybrid City competition. The design is freely available on the Open Source Wood platform.

You can view Kalbe’s introduction of the Pattern Building modules below:


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