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Mon March 18 2019

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Leeds moves forward with modular housing

18 Feb Leeds City Council and building contractor United Living are proposing to build what they claim will be the UK’s largest modular council housing development.

The housing units will be fabricated by Premier Modular
The housing units will be fabricated by Premier Modular

A planning application for a fully modular council housing and apartment scheme has been submitted by Leeds City Council and United Living.

If approved, the scheme at Leeds Meynell, in Holbeck, will see 28 homes constructed in less than nine months, with the first residents moving in by early 2020. The average construction time for a development of this size is usually nearly two years months.

United Living has been appointed as the principal contractor for the development and is working in partnership with Premier Modular and William Saunders Architects.    

Manufacture of the new homes is planned to begin in late spring 2019 at an off-site facility in Brandesburton, East Yorkshire.  The property mix will comprise 14 apartments across two blocks, alongside 10 individual two-bedroom homes and four, three-bedroom homes. Premier Modular will produce each entire prefabricated module off-site, adding brickwork cladding, roofing, and placing the finishing touches to the exterior frames before transportation to Leeds. 

The first deliveries of homes to the Leeds site are anticipated as early as midsummer this year. Access to the site will be granted at the same time as manufacture begins, to allow for preliminary works including drainage and pile foundations. Filling joints, including staircases, and finishing touches will take place in-situ. 

Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities Councillor Debra Coupar said: “This project is a modern method of construction, changing the delivery of our housing and allowing for us to develop housing opportunities that our residents and communities want and need. We’re looking forward to seeing the houses once they are completed.”     

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Helen Francis, business development director (north) for United Living, said: “We’re incredibly excited to begin the construction phase of what will be our first fully modular development. Without compromising on quality, the speed of delivery will really set this project aside and – with radical solutions needed to fix the UK’s national housing shortage – this could be a trailblazer for others to follow.  If all goes to plan, from concept to completion we’re looking at almost halving the time it would take to construct these homes through traditional methods.”

Premier Modular managing director Eugenio De Sa added: “This project gives us the opportunity to showcase how using off-site construction can reduce programme schedules, as well as the quality of construction that can be achieved.  The choice of modular housing means that the council will have reassurance that the scheme will be delivered on time and to an extremely high quality.”

All homes and apartments are scheduled to be in place by late autumn, with the final stages of construction to include the laying of roadways, paths and driveways.  Exterior works including fencing and landscaping will then be completed by February 2020.

On completion, the properties will be managed by Leeds City Council.  

The development at Leeds Meynell has been procured through the YorBuild framework. The partnership approach between United Living, Premier Modular, William Saunders Architects and Leeds City Council has enabled the accelerated delivery of this project and could result in planning permission being obtained less than 13-weeks since the original concepts were drawn up, the council said.       

Artist's impression of the Leeds Meynell scheme in Holbeck
Artist's impression of the Leeds Meynell scheme in Holbeck

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