£6.2m offsite housing scheme to help families in need

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Families awaiting social housing in Northern Ireland will be able to move in a year earlier as Clanmil Housing Association joins forces with McAvoy Group to deliver new homes using offsite solutions

An entire factory-built modular house can now be erected on prefabricated foundations in a single day, ready for connection to gas, electricity and water supplies.

Forty on the site of the former Woodside’s food store in Carrickfergus in Co Antrim will be the first social homes in Northern Ireland delivered using offsite factory construction, Clanmil said.

The modules will be delivered to the site complete with kitchens, bathrooms, windows, flooring and decorated walls.

The £6.2m housing scheme, a mix of family houses and apartments for active older people, is being built by Clanmil with the assistance of £3.1m grant support from the Department for Communities.

The new homes, each made up of a number of steel-framed modules, will be manufactured and fully fitted-out by McAvoy in its Lisburn factory before being craned into position on site.

The construction method will reduce the build time for the Carrickfergus development by 56 weeks compared to traditional site-based building, delivering 40 new homes in just nine months.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The UK’s housing shortfall is only going to be addressed by radical innovation in building practices, such as modular housing.

“This method of construction has real potential to help address the current housing shortage.

“In the UK, the Government sees off-site manufacture as a huge opportunity and has promised to support housing providers to build more homes in this way.

“It is really exciting to see a Northern Ireland housing association and a Northern Ireland manufacturer working together to harness innovation that can deliver homes in up to half the normal time.”

Clare McCarty, Group Chief Executive at Clanmil said: “There are currently 24,000 households in desperate need of homes across Northern Ireland.  We want to help get those families off the housing waiting list and into good homes as quickly as possible.  The rising cost of building materials and a labour skills shortage in the construction industry, compounded by uncertainty due to Brexit, makes this extremely challenging using traditional methods.  That’s why Clanmil has been looking at alternative ways to deliver social homes.

“The off-site manufacture of homes has many advantages – significant time savings, better build quality and improved health and safety due to factory production processes, and a much lower environmental impact both from manufacture and over the building’s entire life cycle.

“We see off-site construction as the future.  It could completely revolutionise house-building and we are delighted to be partnering with The McAvoy Group, a Northern Ireland company well known for its experience and expertise in modular construction for other sectors, on this its first residential project.”

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