Housing associations, developers and modular builders form post-covid campaign for off-site homes for key workers

A campaign to build 100,000 factory-built homes for key workers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by a group of major housing associations, developers, residential architects and modular housing manufacturers.

ilke Homes factory worker on scissor lift

The Homes for Heroes campaign is deliberately designed to echo the post-war drive to build homes for returning soldiers after the First and Second World Wars, but is instead focused on helping those who have risked their lives to keep UK safe and functioning during the covid-19 crisis.

The aim of the campaign is to persuade government to support investment in modular construction and set aside public land for new homes in a bid to create 100,000 off-site houses for key workers in five years.

The initiative is backed by the G15 group of the largest London-based housing associations, alongside Places for People, developer Legal & General, and modular builders Ilke Homes (pictured, above)), Vision Modular Systems, Project Etopia, and Tophat. The British Property Federation, architects Assael and HTA, and Mark Farmer, the government’s appointed ‘champion’ for modern methods of construction (MMC), are also supporting the drive.

The G15 includes most of the UK’s biggest developing housing associations, such as Clarion, L&Q, Notting Hill Genesis and A2 Dominion.

The campaign said a drive to build 100,000 homes would allow house-building factories to be created all across former industrial heartlands in the north and midlands.

The group claimed MMC housing is on average 20 percent more energy efficient than traditional new homes, and built with 50 percent fewer defects, and can be installed in half the time.

Helen Evans, chair of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations, and chief executive of Network Homes, said: “Essential workers on the frontline of this crisis are often among the lowest paid in society. Homes for Heroes is about giving these people a safe, secure and genuinely affordable home to live in. With the collaboration of government and the housing sector, both private and social, we can bring forward a once-in-a-generation number of new homes for our essential workers”.

ilke Homes factory

Dave Sheridan, executive chairman at Ilke Homes, said the move was a great initiative to build homes, create jobs and spur on an emerging manufacturing. He said: “This is primarily about supporting key workers but it is also about creating more jobs and cleverly pooling resources together to create economies of scale that can help our country create a new, highly-skilled workforce while repaying the amazing workers who have done so much during this difficult period.”

Rosie Toogood, CEO of Legal & General’s modular homes business, said that in the post Covid-19 crisis environment, the speed of delivery will be more important than ever before, making MMC more suitable. She said: “The Homes for Heroes campaign unites several great causes: creating quality homes for genuine heroes, powering innovation and skills right at the time we need to create jobs, and pushing the bar upwards when it comes to quality and sustainability. We’re delighted to support this initiative.”