Hope Rise: Modular meets affordable housing need over Bristol car park

Affordable housing, modular homes
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The affordable housing scheme Hope Rise is a community of 11 zero-carbon, modular starter homes designed and developed by Zed Pods, and is expected to open its doors in November

Located in St George, Bristol, the modular homes are the first to be constructed on a platform above a car park. Because the development takes advantage of air rights, the land cost has been removed, making it extremely affordable. Its location also means it is providing homes near to workplaces and on public transport routes, as well as giving a much-needed boost to local shops and businesses.

Hope Rise is also the first 100% social rent development of its kind in the country and will deliver necessary council housing in St George for young people in need of affordable housing and at risk of housing crisis.

Zed Pods is delivering the homes in a unique partnership with Bristol City Council, which owns the car park, the Bristol Housing Festival and YMCA Bristol. The council purchased the Zed Pods development and is using the housing register and working with YMCA Bristol to seek tenants.


Projections for Bristol show that the city’s population will increase by 103,100 people over the next 21 years – a much higher rise than in other English cities. Consequently, Bristol is aiming to be at the forefront of developing the template to solve both the UK housing crisis and address its declared climate emergency. The Bristol Housing Festival launched in 2018 with the aim of delivering innovative and affordable housing solutions. Hope Rise is one of the first projects to emerge from the Bristol Housing Festival.

Affordable housing without compromising quality

Zed Pods operations director Dr Rehan Khodabuccus, says: “We wanted to address key worker and affordable housing issues without compromising on our values of sustainability and quality.

“We are very pleased that Bristol City Council has had the foresight to partner with us direct and are so enthusiastic about the potential for more developments like this.”

The Zed Pod was developed and prototyped with input from the Building Research Establishment, building control, warranty providers and accreditation providers. First showcased at Futurebuild in 2018, it was introduced as “the low-carbon affordable home of the future”. Zed Pods went on to exhibit at the inaugural Bristol Housing Festival in October 2018. The expo attracted around 6,000 visitors.

Zed Pods has considered each aspect of the multiple crises in housing delivery, quality, affordability and environmental emergency when designing the Zed Pod. As Zed Pods are designed-for-manufacture homes, they bring faster construction programmes and can reduce completion times by more than 50% as against traditional construction methods.

Dr Khodabuccus says that manufacturing offsite lends itself to high quality as all aspects of the build process can be controlled. Modular construction brings extensive and often unexpected benefits, such as reduced waste and site disturbance compared to site-built structures. It also provides healthier builds, as materials are stored indoors in a controlled environment, eliminating the risk of mould, mildew, rust and sun damage. The controlled internal environment, combined with better material and quality control, leads to better builds.

Meeting high environmental standards

Hope Rise meets the highest environmental standards by moving away from traditional building techniques. The Zed Pod apartments are designed from the outset to be carbon neutral and to generate more energy than they consume. Natural, high-quality materials are used.

Integrated air source heat pumps, solar roofs, super-insulated walls, triple glazing and airtight construction will bring massive improvements in energy efficiency. Roof-mounted solar panels, heat pumps for low energy heating, controlled ventilation with heat recovery, LED lighting and fully fitted energy-efficient appliances ensure exceptionally low running costs for heating, lighting and hot water.

The apartments are raised above the car park and next to a public park. Consequently, the homes feel like quiet oases of calm among the trees rather than apartments above a city car park. The acoustically rated triple glazing and insulation prevent unwanted noise. This attention to detail will create a great living experience, providing high quality and welcoming homes for those in housing need.

Zed Pods, with the University of the West of England, Centre for Thriving Places and the Bristol Housing Festival, will conduct post-occupancy surveys to generate a detailed review of residents’ experience, from energy performance to general usage.

Dr Khodabuccus says that high-quality specifications and materials are important in demonstrating that modular solutions are an evolution of the traditional building industry and here to last. These solutions include maximising the use of natural building materials, non-toxic materials, eliminating the use of PIR/PU insulation, using low VOC paints, using clever membranes to ensure vapour permeable, breathing wall construction and designing to minimise thermal bridging.

With momentum, quality modular, designed-for-manufacture housing can play a leading role in city centre housing provision. It allows developers to take advantage of land outside of the local development plan and build on windfall sites where conventional construction simply doesn’t work. By completely rethinking existing land use and traditional techniques, once challenging city centre locations and previously landbanked sites become viable for green, urban living.

Hope Rise represents the culmination of a design journey and the start of many more. With Zed Pods projects agreed with several other local authorities and more schemes awaiting planning permission, the trajectory for socially led, net-zero, high-quality carbon modular homes looks promising.



Dr Rehan Khodabuccus

Operations director

Zed Pods

+44(0)20 3983 3114


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