Building low-carbon, modular homes is now easier than ever before thanks to an agreement reached between a UK housing association and international partners worth £2.5 billion.
China National Building Material (CNBM), China Triumph International Engineering Company Ltd (CTIEF), and the Spanish firm Barcelona Housing Systems (BHS) have joined forces with Your Housing Group (YHG) to develop a steel-framed, panel-based construction system.
Under the arrangement, CNBM has agreed to develop six plants throughout the UK, providing jobs for over 1,000 people, to manufacture the components. “Industrial strength, financial support and leverage for additional UK investment” will be provided to the joint venture by YHG, too.
“Through this joint venture we are leading the transformation of the housing market and are able to address the UK’s housing need head-on, creating an innovative platform to enable the increase in supply of new homes,” said Stephen Haigh, the new joint venture’s UK chief executive.
“Our announcement is very much about identifying new opportunities and assisting Government and other housing associations to achieve their housing aspirations as announced in the recent Autumn Statement, such as the £2.3bn infrastructure fund. It is also vital that we work closely with local authorities to construct mixed tenure communities to cement our development model as the solution to their housing building and development needs.”
“YHG is committed to providing innovative solutions to address the availability crisis that is affecting the housing sector in the UK today,” said YHG CEO Brian Cronin. Therefore, as one of the UK’s major housing associations, with over 20 years’ experience of housing management and operations, we are happy to be part of this ground-breaking joint venture. As a result of this innovation in housing construction, new job opportunities are created, building skills are developed, and apprenticeships are fostered, all of which benefit local residents and businesses.
The aim is achieve the delivery of 25,000 low-carbon houses a year by 2022, and make a substantial contribution to the Government’s target of one million homes in the process.
The agreement has been warmly received by the government. International Trade Minister, Greg Hands MP, said: “This is a clear endorsement of the UK’s attractiveness as a place for inward investment. This announcement has the potential to assist local communities around the country, providing jobs, improving local economies and creating houses.
“The Department for International Trade has worked closely with the consortium to highlight the strengths of the UK and played a fundamental role in bringing together the partners in this exciting joint venture.”
The WElink Group was established in 2007 and is now a global provider of renewable energy and low-carbon building solutions. The company works in conjunction with CNBM and operates in nine companies, including the UK.
CNBM, however, is a state-owned but public listed Chinese firm; a Fortune 500 enterprise with net assets believed to be in excess of $85bn. It produces cement, lightweight construction materials, glass fibre and fibre-reinforced plastic goods and engineering service firms around the world. China Triumph International Engineering Company Ltd (CTIEF), a subsidiary of CNBM, is responsible for promoting Chinese green technology, such as low- and no-carbon modular housing, on a worldwide scale.
When it comes to addressing the housing shortage in the UK, only radical innovation in building processes, including modular housing, will do, according to WElink Group chairman Ajmal Rahman.
As a result of this joint venture, we will be better equipped to meet UK housing needs, including those related to fuel poverty, by incorporating solar power and energy efficiency into our designs. This means our developments will be at least 75% self-sufficient. Overall, we are delighted by this deal and look forward to playing a key influence in the UK housing market for years to come.”
According to Chairman Peng of CNBM, “CNBM is the world’s leading construction materials company and has in house a Fortune 200 engineering group whose approach is to work with local providers and draw on local expertise for our projects all over the world.” We are thrilled to continue our commitment in the UK through new housing design and construction technologies which we consider as world leading.
“However, the key to unlocking the opportunities to address the housing needs of the UK is through the development and delivery of an industrialisation strategy at significant scale. Accordingly, six factories in the UK will be built by CNBM as part of this arrangement in order to provide the contemporary dwellings agreed upon nationally.”
YHG and WElink said they are now looking for suitable factory sites in Scotland, South Wales, North East, North West, Yorkshire and North Midlands, and the South East and South West.
CEO Cesar Martinell of Barcelona Housing Systems says the UK is a key market for the company’s energy-efficient modular housing solution. “We are excited to work with YHG to deliver a national solution for the British market,” Martinell says.