A £6.2million housing scheme in Carrickfergus will see the first social homes in Northern Ireland to be delivered using off-site construction.
The Joymount scheme, a mix of family houses and apartments for active older people, is being built by Clanmil Housing Group with the assistance of £3.1 million grant support from the Department for Communities.
The innovative construction method means the 40 homes at the former Woodside’s site can be occupied more quickly than a traditional build, reducing the strain on housing waiting lists.
The dwellings, each made up of a number of steel-framed modules, will be manufactured and fully fitted-out by construction specialists the McAvoy Group in their Lisburn factory, before being craned into position on site.
The modules will be delivered to the Carrickfergus site complete with kitchens, bathrooms, windows, flooring and decorated walls, ready to be brought together to create modern, high quality homes.
Using this state-of-the-art manufacturing solution, an entire house can be erected on pre-prepared foundations in a single day, ready for connection to gas, electricity and water supplies.
This modern method of construction will reduce the build time for the Carrickfergus development by 56 weeks compared to traditional site-based building methods, delivering 40 new homes in just nine months, according to Clanmil.
The new homes are scheduled to be ready for families in Spring 2019.
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.”
David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation joined Clanmil and McAvoy at the Joymount site. He 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."
Welcoming news of the development was East Antrim Alliance Party MLA, Stewart Dickson. “The homes being erected on the Woodside’s site will provide splendid accommodation for
families in the town," he said.
"I would recommend the modular concept to other housing providers and I have been assured that their 60-year durability will make them a very good investment for individuals, as well as housing associations, and that there should be no barrier to securing funding or mortgages for such builds."