Bristol Partnership Secures £3m to Unlock Housing Innovation

In April 2020, a consortium of partners led by YTKO and including Bristol City Council (BCC), Bristol Housing Festival, BRE, and 9 leading modular housing companies were awarded an Innovate UK grant for their project, Enabling Housing Innovation for Inclusive Growth, for the Transforming UK Construction competition.

Totally Modular are thrilled to be a delivery partner of this step changing consortium. Our delivery offers precision engineered, steel framed, volumetric homes that are extremely energy efficient through incorporation of the latest eco technology. Through incorporation of this advanced technology we can provide A+ Rated EPC homes, which puts them in the top 1% for new build developments in regard to energy efficiency in the UK.

The project is an 18 month programme working with multiple partners towards the delivery of a major Research, Development and Innovation (R,D&I) in the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). This project unlocks the much needed MMC innovation which is vital to overcome the current housing crisis the UK is facing. This funding from Innovate UK can provide quality, energy efficient, affordable housing that supports the local supply chain and provides local jobs for local people.

Our role within the project is to demonstrate our innovative building methods that enable carbon-neutral housing and integration of sensors for monitoring indoor environment and energy use. We will also demonstrate the infinite benefits of BIM design with O&M integration. The houses will be design and built using standard components for the purposes of standardization, so that these house types can be rolled out to wherever the demand is needed. The improved quality from the precision engineered manufacturing process naturally lowers the failure rate of the assets, thereby improving predictability and reducing quantum of asset maintenance costs.

By trialing new methods of house building, the project aims to improve the speed, cost and social value of nearly £78m of housing set to be built in the city over the next five years. Using traditional methods, it has not been possible to provide enough homes to tackle the housing crisis.

This new project, funded by Innovate UK, aims to unlock the current barriers, and enable the council and its partners to examine how using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) can help to cut the costs of housing production and increase the speed of delivery.

Bristol has a range of social and community-led housing developments planned for 2020-21 using a spectrum of innovative MMC solutions. The council views these housing developments as a unique opportunity for this step-changing ‘demonstrator’ project, with Innovate UK funding a major R,D&I programme to quantify the benefits of MMCs and deliver product, process and supply chain improvement. 

The resource provided by Innovate UK funding will enable BCC to address barriers to the delivery of new homes in a coordinated manner. In doing this BCC will create a nationally replicable delivery model that encourages the use of MMC solutions, balancing the supply of new homes with growing demand. 

The project outcomes include a ‘council change model’ supported by a decision-support ‘toolbox’, with the ambition in the longer term for these to enable local authorities across the UK to address development challenges by using MMC.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: 

“Building enough affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges we face across the country, and as a city we are not afraid to explore innovative ways of delivering better value, high quality, homes.

This project is only possible thanks to the collaboration of our many partners across the housing sector. I would like to thank everyone who played a part in securing this funding, and I am looking forward to seeing what exciting developments come forward as a result.”

John Connolly, Managing Director, Totally Modular, said: 

“Totally Modular are excited to be a delivery partner in this exciting Innovate UK project, we believe that the outcomes of this project will be very beneficial to the sector for a variety of different reasons.

This project will showcase that through integration of MMC, housing supply can be future proofed, accelerated in delivery, whilst also being extremely energy efficient and cost effective for both the client and resident. We are looking forward to moving the project forward with the enthusiastic and knowledgeable partners involved.” 

A major part of this funded project is to use the opportunity to consider housing holistically, to not just build units, but to consider the implications in the way homes and communities are built and the knock-on effects of these decisions.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates.

CREDIT – Bristol Housing Festival, Bristol City Council