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Sun September 26 2021

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Beard backing helps Green Unit set up new factory

8 Sep Green Unit, the modular building manufacturer backed by Beard, has opened a new factory in Oxfordshire.

A Green Unit building being delivered
A Green Unit building being delivered

Green Unit, which started life producing its curved wooden eco-buildings in farm sheds, has moved into a converted hangar next to the Culham Science Centre, six miles south of Oxford.

The 25,000 sqft factory will enable Green Unit to significantly boost production as well as improve efficiency by up to 75%. In addition, the company is creating at least 10 new jobs, split between factory floor and office roles.

Demand for Green Unit’s ARC brand buildings has grown across a range of sectors where they are being used, such as healthcare, education, commercial use and holiday accommodation.

Regional construction contractor Beard bought a minority stake in the company last autumn.

Green Unit managing director Jonathan Finnerty, who set up the company in 2012, said the company now has the benefit of up to six new production lines for its modular buildings, enabling construction of up to 480 sqm (c. 5,000 sqft) at any point in time.

He said: “The factory opening really does revolutionise Green Unit’s production space and, as such, our capacity to deliver more units to our key markets.”

He added: “Investment by Beard Construction in October 2020 unlocked the funding necessary to develop the factory site. As part of that we have been able to invest in specialist machinery to streamline some of our processes and create the kind of facility we simply did not have the space for previously.

“We’ve worked hard to create the demand we now have for our product, and with a serious sales pipeline emerging it certainly feels a long way from building in agricultural units.”

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Green Unit founder Jonathan Finnerty and one his ARC buildings
Green Unit founder Jonathan Finnerty and one his ARC buildings

Green Unit has also been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) through Innovate UK to work with Oxford Brookes University over 30 months to develop and productionise sustainable elements. The aim is to reach net zero carbon status on Green Unit’s ARC buildings by 2025.

Beard chairman Mark Beard formally opened the factory in a ceremony on 8th September 2021.

He said: “It’s a really important step for Green Unit to take with the opening of this new facility, which will significantly increase their capacity for production. This is a young, innovative company which is committed to tackling the challenges of climate change through innovation and creative design, which very much aligns with our own ethos.

“Off-site and modular construction methods are being increasingly used in our industry, and so we could see a real opportunity for key learnings on both sides of the partnership with the investment we made in the business.

“In construction we have a real opportunity to make a positive difference to climate change by committing to more sustainable methods of working. That is why we are proud to be part of Green Unit’s exciting future and look forward to seeing the factory up and running.”

The new factory in a converted hangar
The new factory in a converted hangar

Visitors tour the factory on opening day
Visitors tour the factory on opening day

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