In October 2019, the first step in creating 73 affordable modular homes close to Blackburn town centre was initiated as part of a deal between Places for People and Homes England – the government’s housing agency.
Funded through Places for People’s Strategic Partnership with Homes England, the development brought new timber-framed homes to a site off Alaska Street, just south of Blackburn town centre.
All of the two-, three- and four-bedroom homes were created offsite at the Modularwise factory in Wales, using pre-manufactured modular construction techniques, which included TapcoSlate Classic from Tapco Roofing Products for the roof structures.
Places for People were selected as one of Homes England’s first strategic partners in July 2018, receiving £74 million in funding to help deliver 2,603 additional affordable homes by 2024.
The Alaska Street development was created as part of a broader strategy which has seen an increase in commitment to modern methods of construction (MMC) – including an announcement of a partnership with Ilke Homes, which at the time was the modular sector’s biggest ever deal.
David Cowans, Chief Executive of Places for People, said at the launch of the project: “We are delighted to announce more details of this development, which will pave the way for the creation of affordable homes for the local community in Blackburn.
“Our recent efforts show how Places for People is embracing modern methods of construction as we strategically invest in modular, finding new ways to deliver better, well-designed and affordable homes in the process.”
The investment from Homes England comes following the organisation’s increasing support of modern methods of construction (MMC); Chris Groves, General Manager for MMC at Homes England explained: “MMC has the potential to be significantly more productive than traditional building methods and greatly increase the pace at which new homes are delivered.
“In October 2019, Homes England published its strategic five-year plan that makes the take-up of MMC a requirement for developers on our sites. We use strategic partnerships, like that with Places for People, to support our partners in adopting MMC and help create affordable homes that towns like Blackburn need.”
Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development at Blackburn and Darwen Council, concluded: “This project will bring affordable, modern homes to Blackburn, and increase choice for people in the borough.“It will also contribute to the wider regeneration of the area and add to the great home building taking place. The redevelopment of Alaska Street has been a priority for the regeneration of South Blackburn for a number of years and we are delighted that work can now progress.”
During the R&D phase Modularwise realised that offsite and modular roofing requirements are extremely different to standard-build roofing mainly because of unit transportation to sites. Most standard roofing materials are quite heavy and brittle, and therefore do not travel well, especially when lifting into place and joining to other structures. After researching and trialling quite a few roofing choices, Modularwise finalised on TapcoSlate Classic as the roof covering for the entirety of the project due to its lightweight but highly impact-resistant properties… it also helps that it looks just like real slate and so more aesthetically pleasing than some other products they compared.
TapcoSlate Classic is the market-leading composite slate product that helps to protect your home from the elements with the highest Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance, 110mph Wind Uplift Performance, thoroughly tested by the best in UK and European construction and approved by LABC & LABSS to meet local building regulation requirements. With its 40-year transferable warranty, low maintenance and easy fitting, what’s not to like?
Now, almost three years later the project is completed, and a new community has been born. This is exactly what MMC brings to the table, affordable houses, quickly built, for real people. Tapco Roofing Products is proud to be a part of this extremely worthwhile project.