Families awaiting social housing in Northern Ireland will be able to move in a year earlier following a major shake-up in house-building methods.
An entire factory-built modular house can now be erected on pre-prepared foundations in a single day, ready for connection to gas, electricity and water supplies.
Clanmil Housing is working with the McAvoy Group builders to deliver new homes using an innovative off-site housing solution.
Forty on the site of the former Woodside’s foodstore in Carrickfergus in Co Antrim will be the first social homes in Northern Ireland delivered using off-site factory construction, Clanmil said.
They modules will be delivered to the site complete with kitchens, bathrooms, windows, flooring and decorated walls.
The £6.2 million housing scheme, a mix of family houses and apartments for active older people, is being built by Clanmil with the assistance of £3.1 million grant support from the Department for Communities.
The new homes, each made up of a number of steel-framed modules, will be manufactured and fully fitted-out by McAvoy in its Lisburn factory before being craned into position on site.
The construction method will reduce the build time for the Carrickfergus development by 56 weeks compared to traditional site-based building, delivering 40 new homes in just nine months.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, 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.
“In the UK, the Government sees off-site manufacture as a huge opportunity and has promised to support housing providers to build more homes in this way.
“It is really exciting to see a Northern Ireland housing association and a Northern Ireland manufacturer working together to harness innovation that can deliver homes in up to half the normal time.”