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Liverpool City Council’s new ‘ethical housing company’ Foundations set to partner with SPACE|MODULAR to deliver energy efficient modular homes for rent as part of their 10,000 new homes target.

SPACE|MODULAR are delighted to announce that their first UK modular development will be completed in November 2019 bringing high-quality, energy-efficient homes to the City. The Birchfield Street development, located on the outskirts of Liverpool City Centre, consists of three-bedroom semi-detached houses which have been built in partnership with Liverpool City Council’s new ethical housing company, Foundations.

Work began on the site at the end of August 2019 with the ground works and foundations completed September, enabling the delivery of the precision-engineered units. The four new homes were constructed offsite in a quality controlled environment ensuring the highest quality finish and then transported to site and installed within one day. The final elements of the construction works such as roofing, cladding and landscaping will be completed over the coming weeks with handover to Foundations planned for early November.

The Birchfield Street project highlights the potential of modular development and how embracing modern methods of construction can contribute to low carbon, energy-efficient and sustainable housing development. Although less common within the UK construction industry, MMC promises to revolutionise the UK house building industry as in other continents such as Europe, Asia and America, with the need for sustainable development a key factor in future housing policy.

Liverpool City Councils ‘ethical building company’ was launched in December 2018 with a tough remit to build 10,000 new homes by 2028, a goal that can only be achieved if modular development is embraced to complement traditional construction.

Liverpool Foundation’s CEO Mark Kitts is at the forefront of Modern Methods of Construction and has shown enormous support in embracing this new technology. The Birchfield Street Partnership clearly demonstrates Foundations belief in new construction technologies, their commitment to sustainable development and furthermore low carbon homes, a move which echo’s Mayor Andersons Green City Deal.

Mayor Anderson’s call for a ‘Green City Deal’ and its implications for Liverpool housing

Central to these plans are Mayor Joe Anderson’s call for a Liverpool ‘Green City Deal’, a radical new proposal to boost the region’s economy and tackle climate change. The proposal, which has been submitted to Government, would tackle issues relating to climate change and invest in Green economy initiatives to help Liverpool meet its target of becoming a net-zero carbon city by 2030.
A key component of the proposal is a green housing programme – an initiative which aims to build 3000 new homes delivered to the very best low carbon standards.

Mayor Anderson says the five-year programme would deliver a £5bn economic boost to the Liverpool region focusing on making the City carbon neutral, while also delivering jobs, clean air, better health, smarter travel, green spaces and warm and cheap-to-heat homes.

“We need to be bold, radical and ambitious if we are to meet our target of becoming a net zero carbon city by 2030.

“There are huge opportunities for us to improve the lives of residents right across the City, whatever their age or background, with better and more energy-efficient housing, use of smart technology and making sure our young people have the right skills and experience to take advantage of the jobs in these growth sectors.

Supporting Mayor Anderson’s plans, Lord Deben, Chair of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change, said: “I welcome this innovative approach from Liverpool to tackle some of the ingrained challenges behind making an inclusive and sustainable green economy for the City.

“It is only these permanent changes to the way we live and work that will allow us to deliver the necessary and urgent response we need to Climate Change.”

The ‘Green City Deal’ looks to compliment the UK Government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ and if agreed to, these recommendations will have wide-ranging impacts on future construction projects within the City. It is imperative that the industry embraces new technologies to meet the demands of the 21st century and SPACE|MODULAR is well-placed to meet these obligations.

A carbon neutral Liverpool – The key benefits to modular homes

SPACE|MODULAR innovative and energy-efficient off-site development system integrates the core, shear walls, bathrooms and façade of a building into a unified structure which is built ex-situ and parallel with onsite works. This process enables delivery of up to 50% quicker than traditional build methods and produces homes which are more efficient and economical to run whilst surpassing all building regulations. Furthermore, by implementing a factory structure to the construction process dramatically reduces carbon emissions.

Ian Ambrose, Director of SPACE|MODULAR discussed the benefits of off-site construction “By manufacturing in a quality controlled environment, we are able to dramatically reduce waste and minimise water & energy usage by streamlining the whole process. Similar to any pre-fabricated manufacturing facility, we can accurately order materials needed for each specific job minimising waste and maximising quality.”

The accelerated project delivery behind modular home development means less disturbance and pollution of local neighbourhoods. Due to precision engineering, modular construction reduces waste by 80% of which, 95% is recycled. These positive statistics follow to the building site where waste is dramatically reduced meaning less waste to landfill. Furthermore, off-site manufacturing means 60% less deliveries to site, 80% fewer vehicle movements on site along 70% less personnel on site, therefore reducing the number of accidents and improving Health & Safety within the workplace.

Modular homes leading the way in use of renewable energies

As highlighted in Mayor Andersons ‘Green City Deal’ the UK government is a moving away from high-carbon fuels and new legislation to be implemented in 2025 has banned the use of gas boilers in new build properties by 2025. There are considerable incentives to find energy solutions in the housing sector and SPACE|MODULAR are already ahead of the game by identifying this and removing gas boilers from all of their designs. Currently, all SPACE|MODULAR houses incorporate solar power systems and this renewable energy technology provides ample energy and helps to reduce carbon emissions and energy bills.

SPACE|MODULAR will soon be implementing battery packs which, incorporated with AI technology, will enable homeowners to dramatically reduce their bills by 70% or, in some cases make money from this technology by selling excess energy back to the grid and therefore eliminating fuel poverty.

Further technology such as air source heat pumps and harvested rain-water systems will soon be available within the units. Harvested rain-water systems are located in the valley gutters of the properties servicing all toilets within the units accompanied with altered nozzle technology on taps will reduce water usage by 50%. After successful piloting of these systems, SPACE|MODULAR are looking to incorporate the technology into all units within the next 12 months.

A more efficient and robust building fabric ensures SPACE|MODULAR exceed all building regulations such as acoustics, which exceed building regulations by 20% along with the thermal performance which also surpasses building regulations. However, one vital benefit of SPACE|MODULAR building fabric is fire resistance. As the system is made from non-combustible materials, the system surpasses UK building regulations by 400% ensuring a minimum of 4-hour fire resistance which, when forming part of a town house or semi-detached house increases to 8 hours, a key safety factor for home owners and landlords alike.

The future certainly looks to be an exciting time for Liverpool’s housing sector and SPACE|MODULAR is looking forward to continuing their partnership with Liverpool City Council, Mayor Joe Anderson and Foundations as we look to revolutionise Liverpool’s housing portfolio.