Helping Solve the Housing Crisis

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular to deliver Bromford and Gloucestershire’s First Modular Scheme

Gloucestershire is set to see one of its first modular, affordable housing scheme managed by housing association Bromford manufactured by Totally Modular. This step changing development will see six, new build two bed houses transform an infill, garage site situated on existing brownfield land, suffering from blight, into six eco energy efficient houses.

Before & Proposed After of the Abbey View Site

The six, two bed homes will be a full turnkey solution manufactured by Totally Modular at its factory in Cradley Heath and transported 50 miles to the Abbey View site in the Winchcombe district of Cheltenham. With foundations in place ahead of arrival, each home is expected to take just hours to install and connect to services.

Totally Modular houses are a hybrid steel framed system with exterior finishes varying to each customer specification. Bromford have opted for a timber clad and white render finish that will provide a contemporary finish with a modern mono pitched roof to match. They will arrive on site with kitchens and bathrooms already fitted out, and other rooms already decorated.

The purpose of the development is to trial the precision engineered process and assess whether the buildings are a sustainable solution to address the local housing needs.

These new build homes will be completed up to 95% offsite within a controlled factory, expected to exceed building regulations therefore providing higher manufacturing solutions with lower risk and greater speed, cost-effectiveness and consistency.

The sustainability agenda is a big driving force behind the project, the offsite production of the properties reduces waste by up to 80% and helps reduce CO² by 50% when compared to traditional site construction, with the majority of materials used on the homes certified as recyclable. This scheme will also incorporate energy efficient technology, which will reduce running costs which will then enable more disposable income to become readily available for the residents. 

These homes align significantly to the government’s ambitions for greener and more energy efficient, affordable housing. The homes are expected to exceed our expectations and national standard average being a D rating, with a target of at least an EPC ‘B’ rating being achieved. Therefore, reducing the resident’s fuel costs and allowing more disposable income to be readily available for them.

Mike Craggs, Development and Asset Management Innovation Lead at Bromford, said: 

“We’re delighted to have got the go-ahead for these new homes in Winchcombe. We’ve been researching modern methods of construction for some time and have been looking for an opportunity to put them into practice. We’ve been working with our partners at Totally Modular and GSSArchitecture as well as Tewkesbury Borough Council to put these plans together.

These homes will be a first for us, but offsite construction is something we are keen to expand as we increase the number of new homes we build every year. Our goal is to build 12,000 homes by 2028 and by 2023 we want to be incorporating at least 250 homes a year from factories, like these ones we’re building in Winchcombe.

As well as building homes that are affordable to rent we want them to be affordable to run as well. That’s why we are also including some new technology in these homes that will increase their energy efficiency using solar panels and battery storage system from Pure Drive Energy and Daikin Altherma HPC heating and hot water system, as well as charging points for electric cars. Together these systems are likely to considerably reduce residents’ energy bills.”

John Connolly, Managing Director, Totally Modular, also commented: 

“Having worked on this project for the last 3 years and to finally see the planned development crossing the starting line, it will be a big relief to all stakeholders involved. Albeit most forward thinking registered social landlords have an aspiration to introduce a modular offering into their development plans, very few have committed to implementing the model as most prefer to study the process of evolution related to this form of delivery with an expectation of the success and benefits this technology offers before they commit themselves.

Fortunately, there are enough pioneers within Bromford that have been prepared to rise above what many individuals perceive as the risks of embracing change and have kept their eye on the goal!

In a collaborative effort and having overcome the many challenges they have faced, the team have stayed true to the objectives of intending to deliver a superior eco energy efficient housing solution, better, quicker and at cost neutral position when compared against traditional constructional methods. This outcome can only benefit the nation’s need of building more homes for an ever increasing population that will depend on a living environment that offers safe, future proof and socially beneficial features, which in times such as now, will shape the future for generations to come.” 

Keep your eyes peeled for updates.

Industry News, Press Releases, Totally Modular News

Bristol provides springboard to help address housing problems

Volumetric housing construction company, Totally Modular is gearing up for a busy 2019, as it starts several building projects which will help alleviate the housing shortage that is besetting many towns and cities.

A project in association with WM Housing for the Coventry area is already in progress. Initially this will be for two houses, but a further 80 infill sites have been identified across the city which could be used to build 200 new houses and thus address over half of Coventry’s current demand for homes.

Totally Modular is not a conventional construction company. It builds houses in a factory and transports them to site on an articulated lorry, where they are craned onto pre-laid foundations. The houses leave the factory virtually complete and can be already fitted out with kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms; they can even have built-in furniture, so are ready for occupancy.

“All we have to do on site”, explains Totally Modular’s Sales Manager Brian Maunder, “is lower the house onto its foundations and connect it up for power, gas, water and sewage. This usually only takes a few hours and we are ready to hand over keys to the front door.”

The houses are built around a strong steel space frame and can be clad in virtually any building material including brick, render, timber or a mix of these. Thus, they can be designed to match existing local houses, appear traditional or be at the cutting edge of a modern architectural style. They are double-glazed and highly insulated as standard so that they meet the most demanding energy efficiency requirements.

Totally Modular makes houses in several different sizes and layouts. They can be detached, semi-detached or terraced. Further, the company also applies the same design principle to building modular apartment units which can be stacked to create blocks of flats.

Brian again: “One of our main focuses is building houses and flats for the social and affordable sectors. There is a tremendous shortage of this type of home and people don’t have much of an alternative, either relying on charities, crowding-in with long-suffering friends and family or getting by in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation.”

During 2019 Totally Modular will also be building for housing associations in the pretty Cotswold village of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire and in Epsom, an urban suburb of South London. These are likely to be followed by more social and affordable projects across the country, many of which have been originated as a result of meetings held at the 2018 Bristol Housing Festival.

“Bristol was very successful for us,” says Brian. “We brought along one of our two-storey, four-person houses and it proved to be a bit of a star attraction. In fact the house attracted over 6,500 visitors, including Kevin McCloud from TV’s Grand Designs, who took a strong interest and commented favourably about several aspects of the house design and realisation.”

The festival is there to showcase new methods of construction, allowing housing professionals to explore solutions to the needs of private developments and the social and affordable sectors. Other visitors, such as self-builders, were interested in various options for fast, efficient and quality-assured construction.

Brian concludes: “As a city, Bristol is being proactive and imaginative in its approach to the housing shortage. Judging by my time at the festival, I would say the local council, housing associations and community have helped make real strides against homelessness across the area. This aligns with the goals of Totally Modular, hence the high level of interest.”

Industry News, Press Releases, Totally Modular News

Rapid solutions to ease the housing shortage

The house building process can take a long time, but the pressing need for new homes across the UK is making the thought of fast-track projects more and more appealing.

Brian Maunder, Sales Manager at Totally Modular, explains how his company has taken the concept of volumetric modular construction to the ultimate level and can factory-build houses much faster than traditional construction methods.

If your sole exposure to house building was watching Channel 4’s Grand Designs, you would probably conclude that it takes at least a year to build one house and often far longer. On top of this there is likely to be a huge amount of heartache, runaway budgets and an endless string of difficult decisions to be made. Developers building housing estates on the other hand do complete individual house structures in a matter of weeks, however the fit-out and decoration can take just as long.

There is however, another way…

At Totally Modular we build residential housing solutions, constructed using high-integrity modules, engineered and built under cover in our own factory facilities. The processes we use are managed as a production line manufacturing operation, with materials and components ready and available as required. This means we don’t suffer from bad weather delays, while we benefit from minimal wastage and reliable scheduling.

This allows work to proceed on a defined timescale so that skilled people are employed very efficiently, costs are contained and time to completion can be compressed. We can add fully fitted-out kitchens and bathrooms, furnish other rooms, fit exterior lighting etc. This is in marked contrast to on-site building with all the inherent problems of weather dependency, delivery schedules, site coordination and managing subcontract work etc.

Significantly, Totally Modular units are based on a strong three-dimensional steel main frame. This is based on hot-rolled structural steel, with light gauge steel or other materials used for panelling as appropriate. The strong frame used for the modules not only ensures the finished building’s integrity is very high, it allows each module to be moved to site very easily when it’s finished, with just small tasks to be completed when it arrives on site.

The range of external finishes available includes brick, render or cladding and is completed in the factory, which ensures very high standards of finish. Windows and doors are also installed as part of the in-factory process, so are guaranteed to be fitted perfectly and compliant with energy efficiency standards, etc.

In fact, 97% of the building process is finished in the factory to a strict production schedule and defined quality standards. This ensures that program timing, quality and performance expectations are met.

We offer a range of building styles, both standard and bespoke so that we can match local aesthetics. These are all created using modules developed by our in-house architectural and construction designers. Further, the modules can be arranged in a number of layouts to create houses of different sizes and formats, including detached, semi-detached and terraced. We can even stack the modules to create blocks of flats and maisonettes.

For housing providers such as housing associations, charities and local council authorities, there are several big advantages to Totally Modular’s volumetric building method. The most obvious one is that we can take a complete house from build to handover in as little as four days.

Site preparation is reduced when compared to traditional construction methods, involving only foundation pads and provision for services such as water, waste, power and gas. Totally Modular units are transported to site on a standard articulated lorry and craned onto the foundations in a one-lift operation. Once the module, or modules are in place the utilities are connected-up and the house is ready to welcome its occupants.

Because the units are built under controlled conditions, workmanship is of the highest standard, meaning the need for inspection is minimised and snagging lists are all but gone. The quality of the fittings and furniture is specified at the design stage and, as they are ordered in volume procurement can be managed for best price and just in time delivery.

As such, Totally Modular’s volumetric construction methods are proving to be a powerful tool in the rapid provision of high-quality housing to all sectors of society.

Government Housing News, Industry News, Press Releases, Totally Modular News

Inner city building sites can be an oasis of peace and tranquillity

Volumetric Modular in-fill city homes are fast to install with minimum of noise and disruption to the surrounding area.

Building sites are usually noisy, dirty and very disruptive to the community in which they are located, so neighbours rarely welcome them even when new housing is desperately needed. But it does not have to be like that as Brian Maunder of pioneering construction company Totally Modular Ltd explains.

New houses and flats are needed all over the country, partly to address the current housing shortage and partly to renew existing housing stock. Most people are sympathetic to this need, but few actually want construction work too close to their own homes.

In large part this is because of the disruption that will be caused by the actual construction process. In cities and other urban spaces, the disruption is likely to be even worse, because the construction will be on infill sites which have restricted access and could be in close proximity to already occupied buildings. A typical house building project will take six to 18 months to build, with larger projects taking longer and/or causing more disruption.

As well as the noise and disturbance of the construction processes, there is the constant arrival and departure of trucks that could cause traffic queues, block pedestrian access, create driving hazards such as mud on the road etc.

Solutions not problems

However, there is an alternative that minimises the on-site construction process and produces attractive high-quality homes almost instantly. Volumetric construction is a technique in which houses are built off-site and delivered as complete ready to go modules. They are craned onto prepared foundations and connected to the utilities. In a matter of hours, they are ready for occupation.

As well as houses, blocks of flats can be built in exactly the same way, with each flat being a module that can be stacked and arranged in almost any configuration up to 11 storeys high (although currently most projects are low rise). This is possible because all units are built around an incredibly strong three-dimensional steel frame.

In fact, they are built indoors, in a factory environment so there is no need to allow for weather delays or any of the other issues that can slow up traditional on-site construction. Further efficiency gains can be made because the techniques and disciplines developed in the manufacturing industries can be brought to bear, including just in time delivery of supplies, safe working practises and high levels of security.

Modular accommodation units are used throughout the construction industry on everything from luxury cruise liners to high rise tower blocks. The only difference is that Totally Modular houses are built with weatherproof walls and in a visual style ready to fit-in with existing traditionally constructed houses.


While the modules are being built, the site can be prepared. With volumetric construction it is very different from digging traditional foundations. Precise piled foundations are laid, or existing ground pads or structures are re-used, which is particularly helpful in brownfield sites. Utilities are piped in and the rest of the site is almost completely untouched. Indeed, landscaping to improve the immediate environment can be included in the construction project and completed as building works progress.

Modular Construction employs highly trained on-site management teams to organise the day to day activities on the ground. These include maintaining construction schedules, groundworks and landscaping, overseeing health and safety, co-ordinating utilities connections, waste management, liaising with local residents and all the quality checks needed for BoPAS (Build offsite Property Assurance scheme) warranties.

On the delivery date the installation team takes over to manage the installation phase, including connection to services. Delivery of multiple units is always dovetailed to minimise disruption while maximising operational efficiency on site. It is not uncommon to install and commission six or more house in one day!

The houses and flats are brought to site 97% complete. That is to say, they are fitted out with fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms, plus possibly built in furniture, door bells, blinds, lighting etc, etc. This means there is no need for a stream of trades to travel to site to install one or two items, the usual post-construction delivery traffic is minimised to almost nothing.

The construction industry has always moved with the times, changing and adapting as new needs arise. Volumetric construction is one of the latest developments; it drives efficiency into every aspect of the build phases and guarantees high-quality long-life homes.

Case Studies & White Papers, Press Releases, Totally Modular News

Totally Modular launches new range of modular houses for 2018

Leading volumetric modular housing manufacturer Totally Modular has announced the launch of its new TM line of modular houses for 2018. The portfolio comprises 10 models with the domestic range starting at 18.2m2 single module buildings and stretching up to 93m2 three storey domestic houses. Commercial solutions include single-module micro-living units up to temporary accommodation blocks designed using 17 modules.

Two volumetric module sizes are used in various layouts to create flexible accommodation solutions. In this way, Totally Modular, is helping to address the housing crisis from different angles, providing both low-cost affordable housing in large numbers and high-quality exclusive options to take advantage of compact city opportunities.

The design of the TM line is inspired by both modern and traditional elements of British architecture with different exterior cladding options available such as redwood or cedar, render, bricks or cladding panels. All of which provide quickly inhabitable modular living spaces for individuals, couples and families.

The modular houses are 97% complete when they arrive on site, including fitted kitchens and bathrooms, external finishes and electrical cabling. The home is then delivered to the building site and craned into place, typically onto a slab-on-grade or concrete piled foundation, although units can be placed on traditional foundations steel frames or existing roofs with the necessary structural calculations and planning permission.

The offsite engineered production-line building of houses from the TM line reduces waste by up to 80% and helps reduce CO2 by 50% when compared to traditional site construction. In addition, the materials used to manufacture the TM line are sourced from suppliers that use mostly recycled materials. Homes are extremely energy efficient and low-maintenance.

Mick Pettitt, Operations Director at Totally Modular, commented: “The main goal of Totally Modular is to provide a great quality house for everyone. With our TM line, we can offer a range of solutions that fit different family sizes and needs. Thanks to our modular offsite manufacturing capabilities, the homes in the TM line are quick to build, reliable, affordable, sustainable and customisable.”

“Modular construction satisfies a number of demands in addition to fast build times for developers; we have consistent quality approval processes so avoiding extended approvals and re-work onsite. We can also build exclusively affordable housing on any size of development plot, which is proving extremely attractive to housing associations with quotas to fill.”

Government Housing News, Totally Modular News

Totally Modular provides vital information for future government policy on Modular Housing

The written evidence provided by Totally Modular on the advantages and challenges of modular housing has been accepted as part of the evidence for the Lords inquiry on “Off-site manufacture for construction”. The document will help the Government to shape future building policies.

Leading volumetric steel frame modular manufacturer, Totally Modular, contributed with its expertise on the topic of offsite building, the key theme of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry.

The inquiry, launched on the 29th of March 2018, aims to examine whether the construction of houses offsite can help address the housing crisis. The committee is evaluating the potentials and pitfalls of modular buildings, any obstacles to their adoption, as well as how Government policy changes can encourage offsite manufacture.

The written evidence provided by Totally Modular, published on the UK Parliament website, makes a clear distinction between “offsite” and “volumetric/modular” housing. In offsite construction, only the house’s superstructure is built in sections in a factory, i.e. the skills required, and the final output are comparable to traditional building techniques. Whereas, in volumetric construction, over 90% of the house is completed offsite in a quality-controlled factory environment.

This enables houses to be built on a large scale, in a time and cost-effective way, while adhering to high-quality standards and minimising the environmental impact. Mick Pettitt, Operations Director at Totally Modular, commented: “We believe that modular housing, rather than offsite building, is the solution to address the housing crisis and help to address the skills shortage in the building sector. At Totally Modular, we deliver energy efficient homes quickly and efficiently, minimising waste and any disruptions that can take place onsite.”

To read Totally Modular’s written evidence, visit:

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular solutions to star at Bristol Housing Festival

Totally Modular is – quite literally – taking its innovative solution for affordable housing to the Bristol Housing Festival, a new kind of event set up to re-imagine better ways to live in cities and to find solutions to the current national housing crisis.

Totally Modular is a leading exponent of offsite manufactured housing solutions and will be demonstrating one of its two-bedroom, four-person houses at the Bristol Housing Festival, Waterfront Square BS1, 19th October to 4th November. A highlight of the festival will be on Tuesday 23rd October, when a delegation from the Global Parliament of Mayors, which is also meeting in Bristol, will visit the showcase.

Like all of the company’s residential modules, the house on display is built in a factory around a high-integrity steel frame, an approach that brings advantages to owners, occupiers and developers alike. Most notably, a house can be built in less than 600 hours, the controlled internal environment of the factory contributing to efficiency and helping ensure quality at every stage. Once complete, the house is transported to site, lifted onto prepared foundations and connected to utilities. Costs become almost perfectly predictable and new housing schemes can be completed with previously unimaginable rapidity.

Available in a number of sizes and formats, the Totally Modular homes are ideal for both single person occupancy and for growing families. They can be used to create detached homes, semi-detached and terraced housing and even stacked to create blocks of flats. The exterior finishes can be matched to their destination’s style, traditional or contemporary, while internally, the fittings can be to any style and quality. They come with fully-fitted kitchens and bathrooms, lighting and heating; built-in furniture is a popular option for the smaller one- and two-person modules.

Interestingly, the unit taken to Bristol has already been used as a demonstrator at Totally Modular’s Cradley head office and manufacturing site in the West Midlands.

Its stylish two-storey design provides generous living areas and two large double bedrooms, so is suitable for four-person occupancy. The ground floor features a roomy kitchen with breakfast bar, a comfortable living/dining room with french doors out to the rear garden that also impart a light, airy feel. A downstairs W.C. and a storage/utilities space make for well-ordered living. Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms, a family bathroom and additional storage space. High vaulted ceilings and Velux windows on the stairwell and in the bathroom maximise daylight.

Brian Maunder of Totally Modular says the module is a perfect complement to the aims of the Bristol Housing Festival. “We face a crisis in the affordability of our housing. We need to rethink the way we create homes and communities with new approaches and new technologies.

“Bristol is taking responsibility for its future housing with innovation and creativity. It is a city that is prepared to stand up and lead.”

The Festival provides an opportunity to road-test a range of existing concepts and innovative solutions in the real-world helping to speed up the delivery of quality, affordable housing in the city. It will be visited by most, if not all, of the UK’s city mayors, along with overseas counterparts and others involved in creating and implementing strategies for developing cities, who will be in Bristol for the annual conference of the Global Parliament of Mayors. Their meeting aims to solve key global challenges under the theme Empowering Cities as Drivers of Change and will discuss innovative approaches to the many challenges of housing provision.

Totally Modular News

Rapid-build living modules to help government address homelessness

Rapid building of suitable affordable homes is essential if the Government’s new £100m strategy to end rough sleeping and eradicate homelessness by 2027 is to succeed.

Volumetric engineered micro-living modules are set to play an important role is this, says Brian Maunder of Totally Modular Ltd.

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK has risen every year for the last seven years and now stands at over 4,500 each night, with many more individuals and families in hotel and B&B accommodation. The Government’s announcement of a new plan to tackle homelessness has been welcomed, although not without criticism.

For instance, Howard Sinclair, the chief executive of homeless charity St Mungo’s, said: “Rough sleeping is harmful, dangerous and dehumanising. The new strategy is a really important first step towards meeting the 2027 target, but there is work to do especially when it comes to providing stable, safe and affordable housing.”

Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, offers: “Once people are off the streets, a commitment to a rapid rehousing model can ensure that they never find themselves in this position again. If we’re to end rough sleeping, a bold, housing-led approach to tackling the problem is required.”

A solution to the need for suitable housing has been pioneered by innovative construction company Totally Modular. The company has developed a new method of construction in which complete homes, designed around a steel frame, are built in a factory then simply transported to site, craned into position and quickly connected up to water, waste and utility supplies. Houses can be created in a range of sizes and formats, from single occupancy units to large family homes. Houses can be detached, semi detached or terraced, while the units can also be used to form multi-storey blocks for multiple occupancy.

Totally Modular’s single-person micro home is an ideal solution for both homelessness recovery projects and the lack of low cost housing in general. This is the smallest unit Totally Modular manufactures, built from the same high-quality materials as the larger houses, it has a range of roof and cladding options, allowing each one to be matched to its surroundings. Significantly, they can be delivered and installed using a lorry-mounted crane and can also be stacked to make apartment buildings.

Internally the Totally Modular micro home is light and airy. It has a double bedroom at one end, kitchenette/living room at the other and a fully fitted bathroom in the middle. Like all Totally Modular solutions, it is Eco Pack ready, meaning you can easily add electric eco heating, solar PV and battery, so can be heated and run for about £30 a year.

Brian Maunder explains that micro homes provide a comfortable place to live, but that is only the beginning of the process: “The benefits of giving someone their own front door can be astonishing. It allows them to feel safe and secure, offering the chance to build their own independence. This encourages personal confidence, which helps them to re-engage with society and take a positive role in it.

Totally Modular’s range extends up to several larger houses, including two- and three-bedroom homes, which can provide comfortable living accommodation for families of five. All are designed to be light, airy and well laid out; they are robustly built, require little maintenance and have low energy requirements.

Micro homes in general are ideal for ‘move-on programmes’ that help homeless people transition from institutional hostels, hotels and B&Bs into independent living, where they take responsibility for cooking, cleaning, paying bills etc. With new skills, established routines and growing confidence, they can move on to permanent housing and employment.

Designed to help address the housing crisis via affordable housing, Totally Modular’s Micro Living Module homes are fast to build and, because they do not require conventional foundations, they work well on brownfield sites. They can also be located on sloping sites, in back gardens, inner-city in-fill opportunities and other sites that would not be suitable for conventional construction. They are also suitable for use by on-site workers, in remote locations and even off-grid.

Brian Maunder of Totally Modular sums up his company’s involvement with the project: “We have developed a radically new way to create homes, be they large detached houses, semis, terraces or micro-living modules. We can work quickly without weather delays or security issues because they are built indoors. This means we can ensure a high-quality product, with minimum waste and reduced environmental impact.

“They require relatively simple foundations and groundworks, and are designed for instant hook-up to services, so can be ready for occupancy within hours of delivery to site. This is a great benefit for any type of project and should help reduce the housing shortage as well as alleviate homelessness.”

Totally Modular News

New website is showcase for volumetric modular housing

Totally Modular, the UK’s leading volumetric steel-frame modular housing manufacturer has launched its new website at The site has been built to underline the advantages offered by modular construction to housing providers across the country. Key aspects include site flexibility, consistent quality, low environmental impact and a very fast method of creating good quality, desirable affordable housing.

Totally Modular’s new site acts as an online portal for users looking to access information about every aspect of modular housing and learn about the company’s involvement in the complete life-cycle of the homes it designs and creates.

The design team at Totally Modular has been developing and refining its high-quality modular steel-frame construction housing for over ten years. This expertise has recently been applied to a new portfolio of modular buildings and a range of complimentary support services. These include everything from modular consultancy, scheme design, approvals, customisation, manufacturing, delivery, installation and UK-wide maintenance.

In addition, anyone interested in modular houses, but with questions about options, flexibility and affordability can now apply for a cost quote online. Based on their individual requirements users can then develop the standard units to include everything from changes to exterior cladding and colour, kitchen appliances to disability equipment and adaptations.

Brian Maunder, Sales Manager at Totally Modular, said: “Just because our modular houses are standardised in terms of construction, it doesn’t mean they cannot be customised, every house can be different. Hence through the ‘get a quote page’, we aim to provide clear and transparent pricing. Every customer has slightly different needs and priorities and the important thing is for us to able to engage with potential customers early in the development process.”

Thanks to the in-depth knowledge contributed by Totally Modular’s experts, visitors to the website can also access an extensive library of useful resources on the world of modular housing. Available documents include case studies, whitepapers, planning advice, room layouts, materials technology, company news and industry sector bulletins on volumetric modular housing.

Brian concludes: “With this new website we have created a valuable resource and a great user experience. The navigation is designed to suit a range of visitors from housing associations and training organisations to home-owners and developers. There has been a lot of news on the political desire to tackle the housing crisis, from how to boost affordable housing availability to tackling the rough sleeping epidemic. We believe modular housing construction is a very good place to start to find solutions to those problems many of us are tasked with solving.”

Take a look at the website here:

Totally Modular News

Helping to solve the UK’s housing crisis

It is widely acknowledged that more homes need to be built in the UK. The government has been issuing (and revising) targets since 2015, and although numbers have increased during that period, the fact is the industry is still not building as many new houses as it did ten years ago.  West Midlands based housing constructor Totally Modular believes it has the answer, or at least a major part of the puzzle solved.

Volumetric modular construction of houses essentially enables homes to be built on a production line, in a factory, with all the inherent advantages of being an engineered product built in a controlled environment. Repeatability helps to speed up construction, while also allowing for the very latest construction methods and materials to be used.

The materials are supplied to the production line as they are needed, ensuring everything is in place for a just in time (JIT) build process. Trained engineers and tradesmen work side-by-side to assemble the pre-fabricated steel structure, attach all the internal wall panels, insulation and external finishing’s such as bricks, renders or cladding and fully fit out the internal areas incorporating the necessary kitchen, bathrooms and central heating with all utilities connected ready for site erection.

The whole process is fast, efficient and precise while also being compliant with the company’s ISO 9001, 18001, 14001 and 1090 CE certifications. All work is carried out in line with internally developed QA plans and controlled by QC inspectors who certify compliance at specific hold points. They liaise with both customers and third parties to witness and approve the key build stages as would a building inspector during a traditional development.

As the build process is not subject to the outside elements it can carry on all year round, while lean manufacturing and purchasing procedures ensure minimal waste is created. In scaling up the process to the company’s planned levels of operation, a standard two-bedroom house can be manufactured in just 96 hours at either of the company’s West Midlands factory locations, resulting in the delivery of up to 900 homes per year at full capacity for the two sites.

A scalable and repeatable solution

The plan doesn’t end there though, the business model is infinitely scalable and according to company director Mick Pettitt, the company’s plans could help start modular building factories all over the UK, using vacant industrial units, creating local jobs, pulling-in education centres and developing new communities with a vested interest in where they live, having played a part in its construction.

“This model is not only efficient, it is productive and sustainable. It is working extremely well in the West Midlands and so there is no reason why it wouldn’t work in any other industrial town in the UK and Ireland. We have done the hard work in developing the housing modules and the construction techniques, along with the management systems and even the marketing process. It’s a housing solution in-a-box and it is ready to go – we are also actively interested in supporting organisations and individuals that want to set-up their own Totally Modular community and factory.”

Housing associations, according to the company are very much on-side, frustrated by the need for developers to maximise profitability, affordable housing is proving very difficult to create in anywhere near the numbers needed. Volumetric modular house building on the other hand lends itself to building affordable housing, with compact, high-quality living accommodation built to a modern optimised design being economically repeatable, in volume supported by an approved CML warranty.

Once a factory is set-up and the necessary skills and training are put in place the plan is for the process to be self-fulfilling as it will generate local employment, wealth and much needed affordable housing, benefiting the community and society as a whole.

The model has been established in the West Midlands where two factories are being fully converted into lean dynamic cellular manufacturing facilities specifically laid out for the production of housing modules. Both sites can build a wide range of housing solutions based on single modules or multiple units which simply lock together onsite and can be occupied within 4 days of positioning. The designs have been developed and refined over the last ten years so are tried and tested and offer a range of layouts.

Training and communities

The community aspect becomes far stronger when local education institutions are involved. In the West Midlands Totally Modular is currently working with Dudley College (DCFE), regarded as one of the country’s leading BIM, CAD and Volumetric educational facilities. The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Institute for Apprenticeships and the new National Housing Academy are also involved and committed to creating an ‘Apprenticeship in Volumetric Engineering’ in order to provide the necessary workforce the industry will need to ensure sustainability of growth in the modular process going forwards.

Totally Modular and its local supporters believe volumetrically engineered housing will enable the creation of a new skilled workforce to produce the houses required at an affordable cost in factories located near the places of demand. This reduces nuisance construction traffic in urban areas and the carbon footprint of the house build.

Using the Totally Modular model, the scalability of the opportunity is easy to appreciate with a 40,000 sq. ft factory being able to produce 1200 modules annually resulting in the supply of 45,000 sqm of living space which equates to the equivalent of 600 houses being delivered per year. With a national requirement for an increase of an extra 120,000 homes per year (National Housing Federation and the homeless charity Crisis recent statistics) from what is being built now, no-one in the trade will be out of a job as a result.

It will require 200 new factories and a newly trained semi and skilled workforce of 40,000 to meet this demand alone, alongside the increased jobs created within the supply chain to produce an estimated 250,000 tonnes of steel, 30,000,000 square metres of wooden panels, plaster board, insulation and external finish, alongside 10,000,000 square metres of wooden and composite flooring. Each home will also need factory-built kitchens, bathrooms, boilers, radiators, doors, windows, tiles, pipes, cables and so on.

Government endorsement

The government is taking the suggestion very seriously; written evidence provided by Totally Modular on the advantages and challenges of modular housing has been accepted as part of the evidence for the current Lords inquiry on “Off-site manufacture for construction”. This document has been requested by the commons and got underway in March this year to help the Government to shape future building policies.

Mick concludes, “Factory building is fast and efficient, it’s why we don’t build cars and consumer white goods outside! All it needed was a team of people with the right skills, experience and will to come together and commit to the challenge. We are a self-funded enterprise, so we have the added incentive of commercial reality to make sure we succeed.”

“It would be great to be able to access some government funding, especially for the education and up-skilling of the workforce, but local housing associations and educational institutions are already creating opportunities and putting valued time and resources in, which is very encouraging for us.”

“We believe this opportunity will deliver significant change in the housing market and support traditional methods not hinder them while the benefits of cheaper, better, quicker affordable and social houses will bring benefits to all.”