A leading UK buildings and home contents insurance provider has gone above and beyond to help potential homeowners get that first rung on the property ladder by going all IKEA. In a bid to do more than its bit in the face of the well-documented housing shortage in this country, Legal & General has ploughed some £50 million of its war chest into a pioneering flat-pack housing factory. This unprecedented move proves that some insurers are thinking outside of the box when it comes to putting something back into the system as such, by pumping this significant figure into a company which plans to construct 3,000 pre-fabricated new homes annually.
The company in question has, according to www.thisismoney.co.uk already acquired a 500,000 square feet production facility near to Leeds, which is said to represent the largest commercial property currently available to rent in Britain, and which is destined to house operations which will include robots and machinery akin to a car assembly line, which will be tasked with crafting sizeable pieces of timber into the affordable homes of tomorrow. What’s more, it’s been rumoured that these prefab houses (the like of which on this proposed build scale hasn’t been seen since the post-war years) will be built and accommodated alongside the white goods and bespoke interiors which will also comprise these mass produced properties.
It’s understood that these low-to-medium income homebuyer-targeting flat-packed houses will promote energy efficiency from the outset, potentially costing in the region of a mere £85 annually to hear; whilst projected price tags are mooted to be in the ‘low hundreds of thousands of pounds’ ball park as we write. And if all this wasn’t enticing enough, prospective buyers will take an active interest in designing the layout and functionality of their homes once they’ve placed a concrete order. Legal & General is convinced that by throwing its weight (and substantial funds) behind new home projects such as the one outlined is the only practical way forward and short-to-medium-term solution to the ongoing housing crisis, and reckons that adopting a more Scandinavian mindset and approach to the problem will pay dividends across the board.
Off-site Ready-made Homes Will Comprise Interiors as Well as Exterior According to Reports
Head of Business Development at L&G’s housebuilding arm, Robert Hall recently told Inside Housing magazine that; “What we’re doing is true off-site manufacturing. The process we use involves no tradesmen, zero. The homes will be built in the factory, carpets, curtains, white goods, television.” He also drew comparisons with the attitude to prefab homes long championed across continental Europe and Scandinavia, and suggested the UK uses their methodology as inspiration to arrest this imbalance between property demand and supply, as is. No stranger to the construction sector, L&G already owns 57% of Scottish homebuiler, Cala, while it recently gave notice of its intentions to invest in 3,000 homes in the private rental market in collaboration with a Dutch pension fund.
The homeless charity, Shelter calculates that a total of 120,000 new homes are built annually here in the UK, despite broad calls for a figure closer to 250,000 being needed to quell the shortage. The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis has challenged the construction industry to take on board more innovate new-build methods, and has recently highlighted the benefits of off-site built pre-fabricated homes, while the government has officially pledged to build in excess of 400,000 affordable new properties throughout the UK by 2020.