Production underway at new modular housebuilding factory

One of the UK’s newest modular housebuilders has officially opened its first manufacturing site in North East England.

The official launch of the 20,000sq ft CoreHaus factory in County Durham (on July 30) also marks the start of production of the first steel-framed modular homes. The milestones coincide with the announcement of significant initial contracts for the social enterprise company based on Jade Business Park, Murton, near Seaham.

A five-year plan will see CoreHaus producing around 1,000 modular homes a year, which will result in more than 300 people working across the business. These homes will be built using modern methods of construction (MMC) which will result in high quality homes, built faster, with engineered precision and expected lower energy bills.

Since moving into its first UK manufacturing facility in County Durham, CoreHaus has been recruiting while also securing new commercial contracts. The order book already stands at around £6m.

Both Gaynor Tennant, co-founder and chair of the Offsite Alliance, along with Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast consultancy and a key adviser to government for MMC, were key speakers at the opening and praised the innovation and importance of CoreHaus in the continuing development of MMC.

Mark Farmer said: “I am really excited to be here today. I get to open a lot of factories but this one feels very different to me.

“CoreHaus is an important step towards modernising construction. The product is very different to many modular homes; it’s a hybrid modular home with its pod and panel approach.”

CoreHaus – now employing 12 people – has agreed to provide modular homes to regional housebuilder Homes by Carlton and a national social enterprise charity. CoreHaus is starting to produce homes for the Thorpe Thewles site in County Durham being developed by Homes by Carlton.

CoreHaus managing director Scott Bibby explained: “The housing market remains incredibly buoyant with demand continuing to outstrip supply. There’s some extremely positive collaboration going on in the industry which will increase market share and strengthen the reputation of MMC.

“We know the housing sector wants something that’s both affordable and incorporates high-quality design within a modular frame. We are already in discussions with several regional and national housing associations interested in working with our product.

“Our light gauge steel-frame system ensures that CoreHaus can be used in both urban and rural locations with elevation treatments tailored to suit each setting, providing almost unlimited design potential. The standardised modular core means the solution can be configured for homes of almost any size.”

CoreHaus is a joint-venture company between Carlton & Co Group, the parent company behind North East based Homes by Carlton, and national social enterprise Fusion21, specialists in public procurement for the built environment.

The modular housing sector has been given a recent boost by national housing agency Homes England which is accelerating the delivery of local authority housing schemes, encouraging greater use of MMC.

Housing associations looking to sign lucrative ‘strategic partnership’ deals with Homes England to build large numbers of affordable homes will have to commit to using modern methods of construction to build out at least 25% of their pipeline.

Scott added: “Our production and designs draw on modern, technical skills and innovation. We have a real opportunity to break the current mould in housebuilding and construction and achieve our vision which is to transform new build housing delivery.”