Fiona Fletcher-Smith, group director development and sales at L&Q, expressed her strong concerns regarding the banking sectors apparent reluctance to provide financial funding for, in particular, offsite projects. Warning that the banks reluctance posed a serious threat to the progress of housing portfolios that featured offsite construction methods.


Speaking at this years Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference in Manchester, Fiona said, “We need to make sure there’s a better conversation about what’s going on with the banks, If we cannot secure debt against these portfolios then we will not make this work.”


She stressed that her own Housing Association would need to use modern methods of construction in order to meet their target of 100,000 new homes over the next ten years.


Fiona continued, “In the next few months, you will hear much more from L&Q about how MMC will be a major part of that journey.” L&Q signed a deal in February with Stewart Milne Timber Systems to deliver frames for more than 1,500 homes, demonstrating its commitment to offsite methods.


She told delagates that she believed MMC would improve the quality of new housing and sited an L&Q home build by traditional methods where sprinklers had not been connected to the water system and nor fire alarms to the electricity, thus rendering them useless, “We are putting people’s lives at risk and it’s not good enough,”


She said that although offsite manufacturing was still expensive, the improved quality could result in long-term savings. “It’s the long-term management costs that matter to us as well,” she concluded. “I see MMC as saving more over the whole life cycle of a building.”


London and Quadrant Housing Trust

Why the octogenarian engineer Max Fordham claims ventilation is the worst excess of the building industry.


Max Fordham’s house is “simple and practical” and mostly all natural.

There has long been skepticism about Passive House, or Passivhaus in the original German. Passivhaus expert Monte Paulsen listed some of the misconceptions in a Green Building Advisor article a few years ago, including “too expensive” or “too stuffy” or “too complicated” or “too rigid” or “too ugly”. But in the years since it has become clear that none of these are true, and a lot of those skeptics have been won over.

According to Jason Walsh, writing in Passive House Plus, physicist and engineer Max Fordham used to be a bit of a skeptic and critic of the Passive House concept. But he independently developed his own approach to building energy efficient buildings, and it was looking more and more like Passive house. Fordham tells Passive House Plus that ventilation is the source of “the worst excesses of the building industry.” He then goes on about one of my regular gripes, radiant underfloor heating:

In particular, once you’ve solved the ventilation problem you’ve got a building that doesn’t really need any heating. What’s happening a lot with passive houses we’re seeing built is that people are demanding things like underfloor heating… I think it’s a conservatism: people are afraid, but it’s [passive house] then being adopted and people are adding underfloor heating to the brief. That’s the worst kind of heating to have, in a way, because if you have a thermally heavy [passive] building it doesn’t actually need any heating. So, if you don’t need any heating, you’d better not put in a heating system that is difficult to control and slow to control. It may look very luxurious and nice, but you can’t really turn it off. It’s just wasting heat.

Justin Bere, architect for the house, explains a bit of Max Fordham’s conversion:

Throughout his career he has, in his own way, developed his own version of passive house. He was on the same wavelength but didn’t know about it, and in this he brought together what he was doing and what the Passive House Institute was doing, saying: ‘Were both on the same mission to fight for the planet.’

One very interesting thing about this house is that it is on three levels, and there doesn’t appear to be much of a concession to the fact that Max Fordham is in his eighties, other than the stairs do not have winders in them. Jason Walsh writes that “there is a focus on accessibility; it is possible to live entirely on the ground floor, for example, while cork flooring provides some safety against falls.” And the bathroom door on the ground floor opens outwards, but that is about it, and it is a tight ground floor suite.

But it is a very small mews site and Fordham almost seems to be treating this more as a physics experiment than a house. He tells Passive House Plus:

I’m just getting some feedback on the energy use. It’s very interesting: the top has the most glass and is getting the heat. It’s very cosy. The ground floor tends to need a little heat so I’ve just written a note that says that we need to increase the internal air flow. It’s very exciting getting some real feedback.

Readers should visit Passive House Plus for the technical details, but the house hits only .38 air changes per hour (PH limit is 0.6) and costs almost nothing to heat. It is built with natural and renewable materials including wood fibre insulation and wood cladding. There is a little electric heater coil in the Heat Recover Ventilator and a heat pump domestic hot water system.

One of the reasons that there used to be so many of the misconceptions about Passive House is that there really wasn’t a lot of experience with them. That has now changed. The builder, Bow Tie Construction, notes that some architects still don’t understand it.

Yesterday I spoke to an architect who said to me, ‘I don’t want to have to learn all this [in advance]. I want you to show me.’ One really interesting thing that comes to mind is that we try to specialise in passive house but [some] architects look at the costs and see us as too expensive or unapproachable. We’d like to see more co-operation between builders like us and architects.

When builders, engineers, architects and clients all understand what they are doing and why, most of those problems and extra costs will just disappear.


by Lloyd Alter


SOURCE: Treehugger

We hear a lot about the role of females in the UK construction industry, or lack of, but this story from across the Atlantic should be an inspiration to any female thinking of construction for a career, not sure what health and safety would have to say about the high heels though!!!

The construction business is no bed of roses — cutthroat competition makes it hard to stay on top. But one construction and design firm has been making its mark on some of our biggest landmarks.

Cheryl McKissack Daniel now sits atop the oldest African-American-owned and female-run construction company in the nation — a business her family truly built from the ground up. In the male dominated world of construction, McKissack Daniel feels right at home — even in a hard hat and heels.

As president of McKissack & McKissack, she manages projects ranging from a park in downtown Brooklyn to getting many of New York’s trains to run on time. Her company is on board to revamp Long Island’s railroad hub, which runs underneath the Brooklyn Nets’ home.

In fact, McKissack Daniel’s business is assigned to just about every major infrastructure improvement project financed by the city and state, including the current construction at LaGuardia Airport and the new Terminal One at JFK.

McKissack Daniel says competing in construction’s big leagues “takes relationships, and getting people to realize that you bring value to the table something unique and different.”

The nation’s oldest African-American-owned and female-run construction management firm dates back more than two centuries to a Tennessee slave named Moses.

Moses McKissack was taught the trade of making bricks by his Scottish slave master. The trade was passed down to her grandfather and great uncle, who incorporated the family business in 1905. Over the next 60 years, they built homes, hospitals, and colleges. McKissack said her grandfather built the Tuskegee air force base where black pilots trained to desegregate World War II.

In 1968, McKissack Daniel’s father William took over, laying the foundation for his three daughters. “We would go to work with him every Saturday starting at ten years old, walking construction sites, tracing documents, you know, learning about building systems early in life,” McKissack Daniel said. “It was all ingrained in us.”

When her father suffered a stroke in 1982, her mother, Leatrice B. McKissack, stepped in.

“I don’t know if my husband’s gonna live or die,” she recalled. “But the next morning at 8:00, I had five major architectural and engineering companies callin’ me, ’cause the message had already got out that my husband was seriously ill.” The business was so good, she said, that they all wanted it.

But with no training in architecture, the former school teacher used good sense and her master’s in psychology to find her way. She found courage in liquid form.  “[My husband] had a bar in the conference room. So I said […] ‘I’m goin’ in this bathroom and get fortified for this crazy board meeting,’” she said. She did well, managing a $50 million complex at Howard University and a project at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

By 2000, McKissack Daniel took over the helm, and moved the headquarters from Nashville to New York. But breaking into the the Big Apple was only made possible by affirmative action, she said.

“People do business with people who look like them.” she said. “All the work that we’ve done outside of New York, it didn’t matter in New York.”

Cheryl McKissack Daniel CBS News

But McKissack Daniel’s work mattered to the communities she served, beginning with her own. Sixty-one percent of her hires are minorities, and 34% are women. When her company worked on the $325 million patient pavilion at Harlem Hospital Center, it accepted job applications from locals in the neighborhood. She said she received 7,000 applications from people looking for work.

She hired 200 of those people, and later, she developed a job training workforce program to try to place the rest in other fields across the city.

She wants to show women of color “that the construction industry can build wealth” and that the construction industry can look like them.

But it’s not an easy sell, even for her own family. McKissack Daniel has two daughters, and her sisters have three – but “not one” is showing signs of wanting to take the reins, she said.

“I may have to hold on for the grandkids,” she said with a laugh.



Rare archive images showing engineers working on a secret construction project that became pivotal to Britain’s success at the D-Day landings have been released as part of a new film marking the 75th anniversary of the campaign.

The Mulberry harbours were artificially-constructed floating docks that enabled ships carrying vital supplies, military vehicles and troops to safely anchor off the French coast, on a stretch of land lacking any safe harbours. They were designed and constructed in secrecy by around 200,000 British engineers in the seven months leading up to the landing in June 1944, and helped soldiers who recall ‘fighting the sea’ at the same time as they battled against the German army.

British construction company Wates Group has now unearthed a series of rare images from its archive of its engineers constructing the harbours in the lead up to one of the most significant moments in the Allied war effort. Wates made a significant contribution during the war building aerodromes, army camps and factories. Having developed a specialty in pre-cast concrete structures, Wates supplied the concrete pier and pierhead pontoons for the Mulberry harbours.

The harbours were designed and built at yards and docks across the country including at Southampton, in Mitcham and the West India Docks, before they were assembled at Selsey in Sussex and towed across the channel to Normandy in sections after completion in April 1944.

Wates was among an alliance of British companies that joined forces to build the harbours. Wates was particularly involved in the construction of the concrete piers and pontoons known as ‘Beetles’. While one harbour was destroyed in a storm after just a couple of days, the second was operational for 10 months, making a significant contribution to the Allied war effort. In total, the harbour enabled 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tonnes of supplies to land before it was decommissioned.

As the international community marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Wates has worked with D-Day Revisited – a charity established to commemorate the anniversary – to create a film celebrating the harbours.

MEMORIES OF MULBERRY  click for video

The film, titled “Memories of Mulberry”, includes rare photographs from the Wates archives, showing engineers working on the huge concrete and steel parts, as well as insight from leading historian Guy Walters.

Ted Cordery, 95 and from Oxford, who served on board the Royal Navy’s HMS Belfast from 1943-1944 as a Leading Seaman Torpedoman, is one of two D-Day veterans interviewed for the film about their memories of the historic landings. He said: “When I look back on my career in the Navy, I felt I spent more time fighting the sea than I did the Germans. You could never rely on it. It always turned one way or the other. The harbours minimised the possibility of this and you can’t have a better contribution than that in my opinion.”

Jack Quinn, also 95 and from Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, who was a Corporal in the Royal Marines, added: “We wondered what they were at first, when we saw them. ‘What are they going to do with them? They are going to load men and vehicles on them.’ We were surprised they towed them all that way. But the soldiers were glad to get in a lorry and drive off a Mulberry harbour instead of getting in a landing craft and getting wet through. Speed was the essence.”

Historian and author Guy Walters added: “When you think of inventions during the Second World War you think of the bouncing bomb, you think of radar, but for my money Mulberry harbours are right up there. They’re a classic example of British ingenuity and inventiveness.”

The video, which has been published on the Wates website, ends by thanking the servicemen and women who played their part.

James Wates CBE, Chairman of the Wates Group, said: “Wates has a proud history as an innovator in construction, and nowhere is this more evident than our involvement with building the Mulberry harbours. I remember my grandfather [Sir Ronald Wates] speaking to me about them when I was a boy, and I know he was so proud of what we were able to do.

“As we mark the 75th anniversary of the D Day landing, we look back with pride at our role in bringing an end to World War Two, and supporting our armed forces. Our purpose today remains as it was then: to work together to inspire better ways of creating the places, communities and businesses of tomorrow.”

To this day Wates Group continues to support the work of the armed forces, working with the Ministry of Defence and its supply chain – including building the base of the new Lightning jets at RAF Marham; BAE System Submarines’ new training base for apprentices; and maintaining housing for services personnel and their families.  Wates has also pledged to honour the Armed Forces Covenant, including a commitment to provide work opportunities for veterans.


Wates Group

How technology can end construction’s productivity slump

Ibrahim Imam, co-founder and managing director of PlanRadar, looks at how construction technology megatrends could help the industry beat its 20 year-long productivity slump

The construction industry plays a vital role in the UK’s economy. It accounts for 6% of GDP, employs 3.1 million people (nearly 10% of the UK’s workforce) and influences other key economic indicators like inflation. Yet, over the last two decades, the industry has been enduring a significant productivity slump, which the UK government estimates could be costing as much as £15bn a year.

This isn’t just a problem in the UK, in developed nations all over the world construction’s productivity performance drags down the wider economy. Worldwide, the average large construction project takes 20% longer to complete than planned and runs a staggering 80 % over budget.

Why is this? Well despite being worth 6% of global GDP, construction still hasn’t undergone any significant digitalisation. From our experience, at least 60-70% of construction companies are still not dealing with any digitalisation at all, and it’s stopping them from succeeding in a competitive market.

If you look at how other sectors have compared in the last few decades, productivity in the aerospace and automobile industries has roughly doubled. In the UK’s aerospace industry, it has risen by more than 50% since 2009 alone. The difference is both these sectors have embraced digital solutions in their development, allowing them to improve on the efficiency and maintenance of their delivery.

Overcoming its traditional problems and embracing new technologies is the key to ending construction’s 20 year-long productivity slump. The government data shows that even growing productivity by 0.25% a year for 10 years, would add £56bn to UK GDP. It’s why the government announced a £600bn productivity programme called Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) at the end of 2017, which itself underlined the necessity of embracing digital solutions.

Determining the type of digital adoption is the next step. There is a lot of focus right now given to headline technologies like IoT, 3D printing, augmented & virtual reality and commercialisation products such as online brokering. However, very little focus is given to the actual optimisation of processes inside construction projects, that don’t involve B2C aspects. These are often overlooked, despite the fact they have so much more potential.

This is because on-the-ground technology can directly tackle areas such as inadequate organisation, communication and performance management, three areas highlighted as amongst the most harmful to productivity by the recent McKinsey & Company research.

How technology in construction can improve productivity

Construction project management software is one of the best tools that a construction company can invest in to improve productivity. Projects can only run smoothly when all teams understand their tasks and roles. These platforms keep all the appointments, documents, plans and tasks for a project on a fast and efficient platform. They offer complete real estate life cycle that helps developers, planners, architects and construction contractors seamlessly communicate with each other, as well as giving contractors direct communication with their clients.

The platform gives a complete overview of the construction site, offering interactive blueprints with easy ticketing. Ticket creation allows attributes such as pictures, voice memos, text and status, with a priority rating and a required completion date to be added. A drawing function also allows you to add annotations to plans and images. Then, simply press a button and defects or orders are forwarded directly to the responsible contractor, along with resolution deadlines and priorities.

Mark Farmer, head of Cast Consultancy, who had recently been advising the governments construction strategy recently said that; “While we are all using smartphones, construction is still pretty much the same as it was during Roman times.” That fact is why it makes sense to adopt mobile technology and integrate it at the centre of new innovations. The platforms are readily available, on iOS, Android and Windows devices, as well as through internet browsers. As it’s cloud-based technology, no installation is required, and it can be accessed offline. Training isn’t required because the user interface is already so familiar and straightforward. On average, PlanRadar customers need less than an hour of support a year, if you can use a tablet, then you can use PlanRadar.

What difference does it make? Well, these project management platforms can increase project efficiency by up to 70%. With our system, users are already realising time savings of seven working hours per week on average. That’s roughly around 18% of their working time. A survey we conducted among our users and average personnel costs found an average ROI of 900%. It’s figures such as these that demonstrate the difference that on the ground digitalisation can make, and how digital technologies can significantly impact on the productivity gap by maximising the ROI of infrastructure investment. Continued modernisation will improve long-term margins, lower delivery costs, and create greater predictability by de-risking on site delivery. That’s how technology can end construction’s productivity slump.


Ibrahim Imam

Co-founder and managing director




The Australian construction industry needs to radically shake up its approach to construction to help save the environment, experts say.

A more timber-heavy and mostly off-site construction process could be the way forward, Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Smart Modern Construction at Western Sydney University David Chandler said.

He will appeal to the timber and construction industries to adopt off-site construction manufacturing, or OSCM, already popular in Europe, by 2030 at the Timber Offsite Construction conference on June 17.

“The big difference between the [Australia and Europe] are the European businesses are very large businesses, in large markets and very close to each other,” he said.

“In Australia we have the opposite, small businesses in moderately sized markets far apart from each other.”

By building off-site, the construction process becomes more streamlined, materials and energy efficient, and faster, Adjunct Professor Chandler said.

“The moment you begin to transform the process of manufacturing building, you have to make less waste. And the less waste, the better for the environment,” he said.

To ease the likely advent of smart homes, Adjunct Professor Chandler said taking an OSCM approach was needed.

“[Buildings are] becoming filled with all sorts of sensors. They will record data about if they’re leaking [heat], cracking, all sorts of things,” he said.

“It’s very hard to put smart in buildings after they’re made, you need to put it in as you’re building them and if we don’t go down an OSCM pathway it will be very hard to put the smart in buildings.”

25 King in Brisbane is mostly made of timber, with some conventional material like concrete used sparingly. Photo: Aurecon

The resurgence of enthusiasm within the industry for the age-old building material timber was helping to enable this pathway, Aurecon major projects director Ralph Belpario said.

Aurecon has shown an interest in using timber in its construction projects, including in its new Brisbane headquarters, 25 King. The 10-storey building is mostly made from cross-laminated timber and glued-laminated timber.

“Timber is an enabler,” he said. “It’s lighter, easier to handle, less cranage, the material is easier to work.”

Mr Belpario said at present, building a tower with mostly timber attracted a price premium but it was worth it.

“That will alleviate as it becomes more popular,” he said. “At the moment there is a limited supply chain.

“What we need is a groundswell so more people invest in the technology.”

Just one company is locally producing cross-laminated timber in Australia.

Wood is better for the environment than conventional materials concrete and steel, the production of which results in significant carbon emissions. The cement, concrete and steel industries were working towards reducing their impact but Mr Belpario said it still didn’t measure up.

“Sustainable timber is the only true sustainable building material,” he said. “Everything else we use to build at some point comes out of the ground. It’s the only material that you can plant, grow, harvest and grow again.”

Timber is lighter and easier to handle, creating efficiencies in the building process. Photo: Supplied

The third change the industry needed to take on was a set of national building standards aimed at minimising energy use within homes and reducing the impact a changing climate would have on them, Timberlink Australia executive general manager of innovation Duncan Mayes said.

He was championing a change to national building codes to outlaw aluminium window and door frames in favour of aluminium-coated timber frames.

It was a small change, Mr Mayes said, but it would patch a key thermal weakness in homes, therefore reducing the energy needed for heating and cooling.

“Double-glazed glass can reduce the temperature, but the weakness is now the frames,” he said. “I only need to see it from my own energy bill. They provide me with a monthly consumption of how much I use and also the greenhouse gas emissions.

“You can see the direct impact of badly performing buildings. If we want to drive towards a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, we need to dramatically reduce the amount of thermal movement in our homes.”

A buried senate committee report last year called for national building standards to homogenise hodgepodge rules around Australia, and lead a top-down effort to deal with the climate crisis.


SOURCE: Domain

Places for People has unveiled a pioneering joint venture to deliver hundreds of modular homes, as confidence in offsite manufacturing (OSM) grows.

Backed by England’s housing minister Kit Malthouse MP and Homes England, the deal is the largest yet for Britain’s modular housing sector.

Under the £100 million partnership, Places for People will purchase 750 units from ilke Homes, including 500 for sites it already owns and 250 for new schemes it will partner on to develop affordable and market-priced housing.

Based in Yorkshire, ilke Homes has won a number of industry awards and accreditations, including a Sunday Times Best Home award. It was originally established by Keepmoat Homes and has been able to draw upon the expertise of modular technology firm Algeco Group.

David Cowans, chief executive of Places for People, added: “We are a market disruptor becoming more active in the adoption of MMC; partnering with a proven modular business such as ilke allows us to create more affordable, well-designed homes across the country – speeding up delivery, cutting cost and giving our customers unrivalled choice and quality.

“This is just the start for offsite manufacturing and as placemakers, we are going to invest even more in modular. We will implement efficient processes and new design techniques which not only raise the bar for the industry – but crucially, give people across the country affordable homes to live in. Our partnership is about pioneering a new way of delivering homes and disrupting the market through making socially-responsible decisions and working with best-in-class partners to improve quality, speed up housing delivery and minimise environmental impact.”

Dave Sheridan, executive chairman at ilke Homes, said: “Ride-hailing apps have replaced standing in the rain to flag taxis, so it makes sense that we embrace the benefits of manufacturing homes in dry factories. A mature OSM market could create an ‘Uber moment’ for construction, speeding up delivery, cutting cost and giving our customers unrivalled choice and quality. Our deal with Places for People will help continue to grow our capacity and is a huge vote of confidence in modular housing and Homes England deserves huge praise for its entrepreneurial approach to accelerating delivery.”

Kit Malthouse MP added: “This is excellent news as the UK blazes a trail in the modern methods of construction that are transforming home building.

“Today’s announcement supports our urgent mission to deliver more, better and faster home construction to ensure a new generation can realise the dream of home ownership.”


SOURCE: Scottish Housing News

Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund ‘Transforming Construction’, the three-year project – Automating Concrete Construction (ACORN) – will develop a holistic approach to the manufacture, assembly, reuse, and deconstruction of concrete buildings, leading to a healthier, safer, built environment.

The research involves Dr John Orr, Lecturer in Concrete Structures, who is working alongside colleagues at the University of Bath and the University of Dundee. ACORN will capitalise on the computational and robotics expertise of the research team, to create an end-to-end digital process to automate the manufacture of concrete buildings, capitalising on the recent proliferation of affordable robotics and bringing them into an industry ripe for a step-change in sustainability and productivity.

The construction sector is responsible for nearly half of the UK’s carbon emissions and concrete alone for 5% of global CO2 emissions. The widespread use of flat panel formwork for concrete leads to materially inefficient prismatic shapes for the beams, columns, and floor slabs in our buildings. This practice, which has been around since Roman times, is a key driver behind the high embodied carbon emissions associated with concrete structures. As much as half of the concrete in a building could be saved, if only we approached our use of the material in a different way.

The ACORN team are working towards creating a culture that is built on the concept of using enough material, and no more. The team believe that by using innovative digital tools and techniques to optimise the shape and reinforcement at the design phase, as well as using robotics to create bespoke formwork and reinforcement during construction, a new generation of buildings will begin to dominate – buildings that use material only where it is needed, and that are manufactured in safe, quality-controlled and highly productive off-site facilities.

“Something as simple as allowing beams, columns and floor slabs to have the shape they need to take load, rather than the shape they need to be easily formed, allows a complete rethink of the way material is used in our buildings,” said Dr Orr. “We can begin to ask exciting questions about their shape, what material they should be made from, how we can take into account whole-life value and how we should organise our design processes to take advantage. ACORN will answer all of these questions.”

Dr Paul Shepherd, Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer in the University of Bath’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, said: “ACORN is tackling the UK government’s construction 2025 targets head-on. By automating construction, moving it off-site, and developing a culture of using just enough material, and no more, the project will lower costs, reduce delivery times and dramatically reduce carbon emissions.”

ACORN is supported by 12 project partners: AECOM Ltd (UK); AKT II; Arup Group Ltd; Building Research Establishment Ltd; Buro Happold; Byrne Bros; Cambridge CSIC; Foster and Partners; Laing O’Rourke Ltd; McKinsey and Company UK; OPS Structural Engineering and Tonkin Liu.

To ensure the ideas of ACORN are taken up by industry, the partners will share their practical knowledge of the latest industry trends and will provide case studies on which to benchmark the research.

SOURCE: Cambridge Network


Places for People, one of Britain’s leading placemaking organisations, has announced a pioneering joint venture with ilke Homes to deliver hundreds of modular homes, as confidence in offsite manufacturing (OSM) grows.In the largest deal yet for Britain’s modular housing sector, Places for People will purchase 750 units from ilke Homes, including 500 for sites it already owns and 250 for new schemes they will partner on to develop affordable and market-priced housing.With 198,640 homes across the UK and some of the country’s most significant regeneration projects, Places for People’s backing of OSM will be welcomed as property chiefs respond to calls to speed up delivery, improve quality and fend off a construction skills crisis.The benefits of volumetric modular construction – where precision-engineered, factory-finished modules are assembled on-site – include:

  • The light gauge steel construction can be clad in traditional brick making it look like a normal house
  • Development time on site is halved, meaning income can be generated far quicker as factories engineer homes while foundations are dug
  • Significant reduction in snagging, thanks to dry and warm factory production
  • Around 90 per cent less on site waste and 80 percent improvement in man-hour productivity
  • ilke is the first modular manufacturer to be fully covered by NHBC warranty

Last July, Places for People was one of the first organisations to be awarded a grant from Homes England to deliver an additional 2,603 homes, as part of the agency’s strategic partnerships with eight ambitious housing associations.

Based in Yorkshire, ilke Homes has won a number of industry awards and accreditations, including a Sunday Times Best Home award. It was originally established by Keepmoat Homes, one of the UK’s leading housebuilders and has been able to draw upon the expertise of Algeco Group, a world leader in modular technology.


Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP said:

“This is excellent news as the UK blazes a trail in the modern methods of construction that are transforming home building.

“Today’s announcement supports our urgent mission to deliver more, better and faster home construction to ensure a new generation can realise the dream of home ownership.”


David Cowans, Chief Executive of Places for People, added:

“We are a market disruptor becoming more active in the adoption of MMC; partnering with a proven modular business such as ilke allows us to create more affordable, well-designed homes across the country – speeding up delivery, cutting cost and giving our customers unrivalled choice and quality.

“This is just the start for offsite manufacturing and as placemakers, we are going to invest even more in modular. We will implement efficient processes and new design techniques which not only raise the bar for the industry – but crucially, give people across the country affordable homes to live in. Our partnership is about pioneering a new way of delivering homes and disrupting the market through making socially-responsible decisions and working with best-in-class partners to improve quality, speed up housing delivery and minimise environmental impact.”


Dave Sheridan, executive chairman at ilke Homes, said:

“Ride-hailing apps have replaced standing in the rain to flag taxis, so it makes sense that we embrace the benefits of manufacturing homes in dry factories. A mature OSM market could create an “Uber moment” for construction, speeding up delivery, cutting cost and giving our customers unrivalled choice and quality. Our deal with Places for People will help continue to grow our capacity and is a huge vote of confidence in modular housing and Homes England deserves huge praise for its entrepreneurial approach to accelerating delivery.”


Sir Edward Lister, Chair of Homes England, said:

“It’s no secret that the housing industry has been facing significant productivity and skills challenges in recent years, which is why, as the government’s housing accelerator, Homes England is committed to championing modern methods of construction – such as modular homes – to increase the pace of delivery across the country.

“It’s exciting to see two of our partners, Places for People and ilke Homes, joining forces to increase the capacity of the off-site manufacturing industry and deliver much-needed new homes. This kind of innovation in the private sector is exactly what we need to see more of to disrupt the housing market and meet the country’s housing demand.”


Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said:

“It’s really positive to see housing providers like Places for People embracing offsite manufacturing. This is the single biggest modular housing deal yet, and the fact that it has been led by a housing providers speaks volumes about where we as a sector are at.

“Offsite manufacturing is an opportunity to build high quality homes, support communities and invest in skills through the jobs it creates. It clearly provides huge benefits for accelerating delivery and improving energy efficiency.

“Housing providers are well-placed to take a long-term, strategic view around the delivery of new homes and I am delighted to see the likes of Places for People and ilke Homes on the vanguard of change across the housing sector.”


Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said:

“The industry has delivered big increases in supply over recent years but we are still some way short of building enough homes to meet the country’s need. As we look to address our housing shortage, the industry is increasingly looking to innovate as a way of delivering ever more, high quality homes. We welcome such initiatives and will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure new technologies come forward and be developed.”


Neil Jefferson, chief operating officer of the National House Building Council, said:

“We have worked extensively with ilke Homes and they were the first low-rise volumetric manufacturer to be accepted as meeting NHBC Standards, meaning homes built using this system can be covered by the 10-year Buildmark warranty.

“Modern methods of construction are helping to support the demand for new homes and, when manufactured in controlled conditions, can help drive improvements in quality. We do not take this for granted, however, which is why we have carried out a detailed review of the design, manufacture and construction of ilke Homes which will help give homeowners confidence in the quality of new homes.“


David Cowans added:

“We’ve been working with ilke Homes for a long time and this has enabled us to really road-test their technology and have complete confidence in what is a top-class product. The potential for this technology to allow us to start to make housing more customisable in the near-future is inevitable, and I am looking forward to be working with ilke as we look to develop and innovate designs so that residents at all price points have a better home.”


Mark Farmer, a government advisor who warned In his landmark report the construction sector must “modernise or die”, said:

“Places for People’s leadership in this space, driving forward this kind of strategic deal, is a template for how the wider housing providers sector should act. We were impressed that ilke Homes had a strong digital design thread, a clear path for business evolution and the technical and management skills to be a best in class modular business.”

“Game-changing disruption in the UK modular homes sector is now starting to gather pace. This revolution is long overdue and will enable us to deliver more homes to a better quality.

“The government’s pledge to get us building 300,000 homes a year will only be possible if offsite manufacturing capacity grows and other prominent developers follow the lead set down by the likes of Places for People, Berkeley Homes and Urban Splash.”


Nicholas Boys Smith, director of Create Streets

“This is very welcome news. Our society has an existential challenge to meet with collapsing generational fairness. This means not just that we need to build homes fast enough but also to high standards.

We need a rich diversity of supply and innovation. And we need it from developers and contractors who are genuinely interested in creating attractive, safe, communities with beautiful places to live and work, rest and shop. Modern methods of construction are an important part of this mission and I welcome today’s news.”

SOURCE: Ilke Homes

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says countries intending to retain nuclear power as an option in their clean-energy transitions should support innovative new reactor designs with lower capital costs and shorter lead times, such as small modular reactors (SMRs).
The recommendation is made in a newly released report, titled ‘Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System’, released this week during the tenth Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada.
The report makes the case for sustaining nuclear, which currently accounts for 10% of global electricity generation, as an option to help meet global climate targets.
The report asserts that, while a clean-energy transition with less nuclear power is possible, a substantial rise in investment in other forms of power generation and electricity networks would be required.
The IEA calculates that the electricity sector in advanced economies would have to invest an additional $1.6-trillion between 2018 and 2040.
Securing investment in new nuclear plants would require a “more intrusive” policy intervention, however, particularly in light of the high cost of projects and unfavourable recent experiences.
The report highlights the long delays in completing advanced reactor projects in Finland, France and the US.
“They have turned out to cost far more than originally expected and dampened investor interest in new projects.”
The main obstacles to new nuclear investments are listed as including: the sheer scale of investment and long lead times; the risk of construction problems, delays and cost overruns; and the possibility of future changes in policy or the electricity system itself.
Interest is rising, therefore, in advanced nuclear technologies that suit private investment such as SMRs.
“There is a case for governments to promote it through funding for research and development, public-private partnerships for venture capital and early deployment grants.”
Standardisation of reactor designs will be crucial, however, to benefit from economies of scale in the manufacturing of SMRs.
South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) programme was officially closed in 2010, owing to funding constraints and an inability to attract an investment partner.
The intellectual property was retained by the PBMR Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eskom, which subsequently developed a conceptual outline for converting the PBMR into an Advanced High Temperature Reactor.
Eskom is facing serious financial constraints and is unlikely to be in a position to invest in nuclear research and development.
South Africa’s yet-to-be-concluded Integrated Resource Plan includes an assumption that the life of the 1 800 MW Koeberg nuclear power station, in the Western Cape, will be extended by 20 years to 2044.
The draft IRP, currently the subject of consultation at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, does not preclude the development of new nuclear capacity, but states that such capacity would by added at a “scale and pace that will not have a negative impact on the economy”.
No new nuclear capacity is envisaged for the period to 2030, representing a marked deviation from the current outdated IRP, which controversially catered for the introduction of 9 600 MW of new nuclear capacity between 2023 and 2030.

SOURCE: Engineering News