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Sat February 27 2021

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Beard buys into modular building firm

10 Nov 20 Construction firm Beard has bought a minority stake in a manufacturer of chi-chi garden buildings.

A Green Unit building at the Roman Vindolanda Fort & Museum in Northumberland
A Green Unit building at the Roman Vindolanda Fort & Museum in Northumberland

Green Unit Limited makes round-edged modular eco buildings, of the kind that make standalone extra accommodation or office space. Beard is hoping to help expand markets for them.

The buildings are manufactured offsite and delivered to site virtually complete. But this is not modular building in the sense of stacking them high to create quick and cheap housing; this is more the designer end of the market, as pictures here show.

Green Unit was co-founded in 2012 by Jonathan Finnerty and Philip Clayden, to develop distinctive eco-buildings based on Passivhaus principles “to create a sense of peace and relaxation for users”, the promotional material says. They are built with low embodied carbon with high levels of insulation and airtightness.

Beard said that its investment was driven by a desire to get more involved in sustainable alternatives in the construction industry. It had been exploring opportunities to get into so-called modern methods of construction (MMC).

Both parties hope that the partnership will help Green Unit to expand demand from the holiday home and leisure market across healthcare and education.

The investment from Beard will enable Green Unit to relocate its operations to a 21,000 m² factory at Lockwood Farm, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, which will significantly increase its production capacity.

Beard non-executive director Chad Murrin will sit on the board of Green Unit as part of the partnership. 

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Beard chairman Mark Beard said: “Methods of construction are changing and as a business we want to move further towards sustainability. Off-site and modular construction methods are being increasingly used in our industry and there are some key learnings we can take from this for the wider construction sector. These techniques can significantly improve quality, reduce construction time and lessen dependence on site works.

“We have been looking for some time for a long-term partner with this expertise and in Green Unit we feel that we have found a perfect match. We can support its ongoing growth and development while at the same time we can further increase our own knowledge of sustainable methods of construction.

Green Unit co-founder Jonathan Finnerty
Green Unit co-founder Jonathan Finnerty

“It is important for Beard to transfer knowledge about modular construction methods into our core business and in due course have a modular offering for our customers.”

Green Unit managing director Jonathan Finnerty added: “The development of this new partnership is a key moment for Green Unit as a business, as it enables us to significantly expand our production capability. Beard has an excellent quality, environmental and ethical reputation and a large customer base, notably in the education sector.

“Beard has grown significantly in recent years and is well-placed to assist and support our young company as we grow. We look forward to working together to develop a new, unique, modular building product which can be offered to Beard’s customers.”

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MPU
MPU

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