Helping Solve the Housing Crisis

Author: Sophie Chater

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular Building Britain’s First Hydrogen Homes

Totally Modular are proud to be the chosen manufacturers to deliver Britain’s first hydrogen homes for Northern Gas Networks.

The two show homes where all the appliances are powered entirely by hydrogen are being built in the Totally Modular factory in West Midlands and then being transported to the Low Thornley site in Gateshead.

These houses started as a robust hybrid steel frame and will achieve a build status of up to 95% completion before they are delivered to site in Gateshead for finishes touches and zipping up upon arrival. Totally Modular are a manufacturer of residential housing solutions based in the West Midlands producing volumetric modular homes to near carbon zero standards for the much needed affordable housing crisis.

The houses will use 100% hydrogen for heating and cooking in appliances including boilers, hobs, cookers and fires under a new government scheme intended to offer the public a glimpse into “the potential home of the future”.

Members of the public will be able to see how these appliances compare with ones run on natural gas.

It is part of the government’s drive to phase out the use of fossil fuels. Unlike natural gas, which is responsible for over 30% of the UK’s carbon emissions, hydrogen’s only by-product at the point of use is water.

The project secured a £250,000 grant from the government’s Hy4Heat Innovation programme and is being run by gas company Northern Gas Networks and Cadent.

Image – The houses at the start at the process as a steel frame. 

Image – Energy Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said these homes:

“will showcase how low-carbon hydrogen can transform the way we power our homes and offer a glimpse of what the future holds as we build back greener.

From running a hot bath and cooking our evening meals to turning on the heating, most of us use natural gas every day.

However, to tackle climate change, we need to find alternatives to fossil fuels and move towards making clean energy the norm.”

While these new houses in Gateshead will look like any other, they will showcase how low carbon hydrogen can transform the way we power our homes.”

Mark Horsley, Chief Executive Officer of NGN said…

‘‘We’re delighted to be at the forefront of innovation, giving customers a glimpse into a hydrogen-heated home of the future.

Customers understand the impact on carbon emissions of running a diesel or petrol car, but the impact of home heating is less well understood. We believe a hydrogen gas network could provide the least invasive and most cost-effective route to zero carbon home heating for the majority of UK homes.

Gas networks are reliable and extremely resilient and responsive to demands. With 85% of the UK connected to the gas network it is logical to repurpose this vast asset to carry a clean-burning gas like hydrogen.”

Keep an eye out for updates on our social media!

@totallymodular on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & Youtube.


Totally Modular News

Totally Modular’s House iO Competition Proves A Great Success, Winners Revealed

Totally Modular launched their ‘House iO’ competition last week, in collaboration with MOBIE, Value Shift, Infill Works, Bristol Housing Festival (BHF) and Department of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of West England (UWE) Bristol.

The competition asked architectural students from UWE to form teams, to design a prefabricated housing scheme. Using Totally Modular’s system, solutions using sites allocated for housing in Bristol will aim to address particular conditions of homelessness in the city.

The weeklong competition ran from Monday 8th February and finished Friday midday 12th February. The competition was sponsored by Totally Modular (a volumetric housing manufacturer), who provided £500 of prize money and a chance to visit the Totally Modular factory in the West Midlands.

The competition was greatly received at the university with multiple teams of architectural students taking part. The judging panel all commented on the high level of competition submissions and the judging process was very difficult due to the high level of design capabilities shown. The judges consisted of; Ele George (Innovation Lead at Totally Modular), Mark Southgate (Chief Executive at MoBIE), Zoe Metcalfe (Director at Value Shift), Jessie Wilde (Deputy Project Director at BHF) and Oliver Sanger (Founder at Infill Works). The judging criteria consisted of; Response to client needs/brief (30%), Design (30%), Place making (20%), Site and constraints (10%), Innovation (10%).

The final result concluded that:

First Place
– Team Y–

  • Isuri Ratnayake, Mahek Khushalani, Seanne Christhian, Zoe Restrick.

Runners Up
– Team S –

  • Alice Adams, Sian Wood, Shermin McClernon, Jessica Wood

Highly Commended
– Team P –

  • James Monteith, Daniel Gonzales Penalas, Kiana Eskandani, Luca Carlisle, Roberts Tuzilkins, Nikola Asojana.

Highly Commended
– Team R3 –

  • Emily Harvey, Bradley Homer, Louis Parry-Jones, Jake Fellows-Samuel.


Team Y, submitted the winning entry with the judges concluding …

‘A very clear and well-organised project that inter-relates communal spaces and clusters of housing that create thresholds of shared space and privacy.’

Head judge of the House iO competition, Mark Southgate, Chief Executive of MoBIE commented…

“As judges we loved judging this Totally Modular design competition.  It was VERY hard for us to choose a winner and runner up – the fact that we also highly commended two entries shows you just how good the standard of the designs were. We were genuinely wowed by the standard of the work that the teams produced and kept having to remind ourselves that the teams were not professionals and that they only had 4.5 days to create these designs from scratch – the results were amazing!  We were also highly impressed by the way the teams really addressed all parts of a challenging brief.  The future of housing design is in great hands – we can’t wait to see what you all do next”.

Milly Harvey, architectural student from UWE, whose project was ‘Highly Commended’ said…

“I would just like to thank you for the opportunity, it feels great to be recognised as architects, not just students. I think we have all come away from this project feeling inspired and encouraged so thank you for that”.

Image – Concept Drawings of Other Submitted Entries.

James Burch, Associate Head of Department of Architecture and the Built Environment at UWE, was greatly impressed with the competition, noting…

“The House iO Competition’s elision of issues of homelessness, volumetric housing technologies and sites in Bristol made for a problem that felt relevant to our students and the challenge attracted entries from all five of our undergraduate architectural courses – from first years to final year students.  The students enjoyed tackling a real-life brief and acting as design teams working under pressure to deliver their proposals.

In less than a week the teams created a range of sensitive, well-researched and well-argued proposals that they, and we, are proud of and with this work UWE’s Department of Architecture & The Built Environment is pleased to be raising the level of debate of contemporary housing design in the City.”

Image – Concept Drawings of Other Submitted Entries.

The next steps now see winning team ‘Team Y’, receive a large proportion of the prize money (from Totally Modular), a tour of the Totally Modular manufacturing facility and their winning designs being considered for real life implementation on a Bristol site.

All Partners include:

Totally Modular – @totallymodular on twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & Youtube.

MoBie –; @mobiehome (twitter); @mobiehomefutures (insta); MOBIE (LinkedIn)

Bristol Housing; twitter: @bristol_hf; @bristolhousingfestival on Insta and Facebook and Youtube.

Value Shift

Infill Works

University of West England

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular launch revolutionary ‘House iO’ design competition for students, which aims to tackle homelessness in Bristol.

Totally Modular have today announced the launch of their ‘House iO’ competition in collaboration with MOBIE, Value Shift, Infill Works, Bristol Housing Festival and Department of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of West England (UWE) Bristol.

The competition asks architectural students from UWE to form teams, to design a prefabricated housing scheme. Using Totally Modular’s system, solutions using sites allocated for housing in Bristol will aim to address particular conditions of homelessness in the city.

The weeklong competition runs from Monday 8th February and finishes Friday midday 12th February. The competition is sponsored by Totally Modular (a volumetric housing manufacturer), who is providing £500 of prize money for the winning team and a chance to visit the Totally Modular factory in the West Midlands.

The number of homeless people in Bristol is on the rise — by a shocking 128% over the past three years, according to statistics from Homeless Link. In order to drive forward change to help tackle this homelessness crisis head on, collaboration is key. This competition is hoping to highlight that modular methods of construction can help and alleviate both the housing and homeless crisis in the UK. The competition is a great opportunity to engage students in the issues of homelessness and land use and the surrounding issues but by focusing on solution finding and innovation.

Totally Modular’s motivations behind this revolutionary competition were to bring new entrants into the MMC arena & provide students with real life design case studies, whilst also increasing and highlighting the discussion around homelessness and its possible solutions.

Totally Modular’s concept of House iO utilises a common frame approach, maximising efficient design of the modules both internally and externally to create a cost effective design solution.


The House iO competition challenges the student’s to develop a proposal for housing that;  

  1. Responds to contemporary issues of homelessness by addressing the housing needs of new and emerging residents in the city;


  2. Uses an innovative ‘common frame’ volumetric approach that co-ordinates the manufacture of services Inside and structure and envelope Outside to create an efficient design solution.


  3. Provides housing on a real site in the city that has been identified as suitable for affordable housing &/or that can be built on for ‘meanwhile use’ – that is, demountable housing allowing future site redevelopment;


  4. Creates a safe, healthy and beautiful place for people to live in.   


The head judge Mark Southgate (Chief Executive, MoBIE) will announce the winners on Friday 12TH February – with a total of £500 in prize money to be won.

Mark’s expressed that MoBIE’s motivations for getting involved in this competition was because…

“Connecting young people to the built environment is vital, they are the future of housing and construction. This challenge asks them to think about the role of manufacturing in housing, homelessness, temporary ‘meanwhile’ use of sites and, above all, the importance of designing for people’s needs in home design. Giving students real life cases and sites to work with means they will better understand the needs of today’s housing industry and that they can see the range of career opportunities open to them upon graduation.  I can’t wait to see the amazing ideas and designs they create in this exciting challenge”


The brief of the competition will include expert input and judging from: 


Totally Modular on their inside/outside (‘House iO’) servicing/structural concept for prefabrication.
Judge – Ele George – Innovation Lead


MoBIE [Ministry of Building Innovation + Education] the education charity encouraging design innovation and advanced creative thinking in 21st century living.
Judge – Mark Southgate – Chief Executive. 


Values Shift who are specialist consultants in sustainable communities and homelessness.
Judge – Zoe Metcalfe – Director.


Bristol Housing Festival – a five year project, in partnership with Bristol City Council hosting an ongoing conversation in various forms to incubate and pilot new housing solutions.
Judge – Jessie Wilde – Deputy Project Director.


Infill Works- former UWE architecture student and founder of ‘Infill Works’ planning and architecture consultancy.
Judge – Oliver Sanger – Founder.


Zoe Metcalfe, from Value Shift sums up the competition by saying… ‘The pandemic has demonstrated the need to create homes that nurture, fifteen-minute neighbourhoods that are cohesive, healthy and sustainable.  At a time where we are facing the climate and housing crisis more individuals and families face homelessness, threat of eviction, substandard living conditions, rough sleeping.’

This collaboration between an innovative manufacturer, Totally Modular, and an outstanding university, creates a unique opportunity to innovate and link academic study to pathways to delivery.


All Partners include: 

Totally Modular – @totallymodular on twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & Youtube 

MoBie –; @mobiehome (twitter); @mobiehomefutures (insta); MOBIE (LinkedIn)  

Bristol Housing Festival –; twitter: @bristol_hf; @bristolhousingfestival on Insta and Facebook and Youtube.   

Value Shift  

Infill Works  

University of West England 

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular appointed on the Welsh Procurement Alliance – Housing Construction South and Mid Wales DPS

Totally Modular are excited to announce that they have been appointed on the WPA – Housing Construction South and Mid Wales (HCSWa) DPS.  WPA’s OJEU compliant Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for Housing Construction is an open market solution designed to provide buyers with access to a pool of pre-qualified contractors.

The DPS was developed following consultation with Welsh Government and the Councils and Housing Associations across South and Mid Wales to provide additional procurement options.

Totally Modular, are a manufacturer of residential housing solutions that can achieve carbon zero build standards which meet the need for future proof affordable houses. The homes are manufactured on a production line and commence the process as a robust hybrid steel structure which are then fully assembled and constructed within a controlled factory environment and can achieve a completion state of up to 95% before transportation to site for final erection.

There are copious benefits of this DPS –

Time saving – Quick and easy access to approved suppliers

Compliance –  Ensures procurement is compliant with U.K. public sector procurement rules

Quality and value – Only suppliers who offer quality and value are pre-qualified with the right qualifications, experience and financial standing to deliver your project

Local delivery – Offers the opportunity to engage with local suppliers supporting the wider Government aim of working with local businesses for economic growth

The Scope of the DPS includes:

Multi-dwelling accommodation (such as student residences and care facilities)

The development of community buildings which are integral to residential developments

The refurbishment of dwellings as part of a new build development and the re-development of buildings from non-residential to residential usages

And the scope also provides for land purchase and development financing (amongst other commissioning options).

Totally Modular offer a range of housing solutions; houses, apartments, airspace and emergency accommodation, achieving a minimum EPC rating of A+ being within the top 1% of all housing developments in the UK for energy efficiency. The homes can be delivered as a full turnkey solution from design all the way to delivery. These homes can provide higher quality solutions with lower risk and greater speed, cost-effectiveness and consistency.

Get in touch today to find out more about solutions.

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular wins the Offsite Award

Totally Modular successfully won the ‘Offsite Award’ at the Constructing Excellence West Awards last week for our Littlethorpe Development with Citizen Housing.

Following the win, as a result we have now been put forward for the Constructing Excellence national ‘Offsite Award’, with the ceremony taking place in January 2021.

We were also finalists for two other awards on the day…

Constructing Excellence Midlands – Innovation Award – Finalist

Constructing Excellence Midlands – Digital Award – Adoption of BIM within Affordable Housing – Finalist

This means our Littlethorpe Development has achieved the following…

Constructing Excellence Midlands – Offsite Award – WINNER

Constructing Excellence Midlands – Innovation Award – Finalist

Constructing Excellence Midlands – Digital Award – Adoption of BIM within Affordable Housing – Finalist

Constructing Excellence – National Offsite Award – Finalist

Inside Housing Development Award – Best Approach to Modular Construction – Finalist

Offsite Awards – Social Housing Project of the Year – Finalist

Our partnership with Citizen Housing have transformed a redundant infill site in Coventry into…

– 2 bedroom & 3 bedroom home

– A+ EPC Rated – compared to the national average of a D rating.

– The houses were installed onsite in less than 48 hours

– No gas, all electric central heating – goodbye dirty energy!

– The running costs for the 1st year of the 3 bedroom home of 5 occupants achieved only £1.48p a day.

The words of resident Mr Dair sum up the real value of the development…

“This has changed our lives”, as he and his family lived in temporary accommodation before landing the 2 bedroom home.

Robert Dodd’s Homes England said about the development –

“I have been to a number of modular sites but these are the most impressive I have seen”.

This successful pilot has now led to a contract to deliver 24 energy efficient homes across multiple infill sites across Coventry.

Pictured – The Dair family outside their new home.

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular awarded top ten spot in the Climate Champions Power List

We are thrilled to announce that Totally Modular has been recognised for its dedication to improving its environmental impact.

Our Innovation Lead, Ele George has been awarded tenth place in the Climate Champions Power List, which was announced at the Homes UK virtual event.

The Climate Champions Power List recognises individuals for their efforts, achievements and innovations in tackling the climate emergency and celebrates those who are driving positive change in the sector.

Ele George, Innovation Lead commented on her success by saying…

“I am so humbled to have been recognised for my hard work in bringing forward the agenda for sustainable construction, alongside some truly inspirational people. I hope this list will inspire others to step-up and join the likes of Totally Modular, who are trying to positively contribute to the sustainability of our planet. The problems we are facing can feel overwhelming, but we can all make a difference through creativity, collaboration and enthusiasm.”

See the full list of winners here ––power-list?utm_source=LinkedIn&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn&utm_content=Take+Control

Pictured – Ele George – Innovation Lead at Totally Modular

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular Awarded Place on £400m Modular Housing Framework

West Midlands based modular housing manufacturer Totally Modular, are excited to announce that they have been selected as a delivery partner on the Procure Plus ‘Offsite Manufacture and Construction of Housing’ Framework worth an estimated £400m. Procure Plus is a not-for-profit company that specialises in the procurement of goods and services related to both new build and repair and maintenance for a wide range of social housing.

The framework agreement provides for the design, off-site manufacture and construction of housing. Six suppliers have been selected for the framework; Totally Modular Ltd, M-AR Offsite, Impact Modular Ltd, Jan Snel UK Ltd, Melius Homes and OSCO Homes. 

Totally Modular, are a manufacturer of residential housing solutions that can achieve carbon zero build standards which meet the need for future proof affordable houses. The homes are manufactured on a production line and commence the process as a robust hybrid steel structure which are then fully assembled and constructed within a controlled factory environment and can achieve a completion state of up to 95% before transportation to site for final erection.

Pictured – A Totally Modular 2 Bedroom Home

The Procure Plus framework unlocks the much needed modern methods of construction (MMC) innovation which is vital to overcome the current housing crisis the UK is facing. Totally Modular are calling for any housing association or local authority tempted by this innovative, sustainable offering to start their MMC journey by engaging in this transformative framework. Procure Plus has said customers of the four-year agreement will be able to select from the chosen contractors’ standard house types, with a range of enhancements and variations. The Framework Objectives are to:

a) increase the adoption of offsite construction within the social housing sector.
b) promote the early involvement of the manufacturer in the development of the works.
c) facilitate collaboration between the relevant parties to deliver choice, innovation and efficiency.

John Connolly, Managing Director of Totally Modular commented on the success…

“As the delivery of modular homes is still in its infancy within the UK, organisations such as Procure Plus are fundamental in offering both local authorities and housing associations a methodology to contract with new innovative enterprises who have entered the residential housing sector whilst complying with OJEU regulations. We are delighted to have been selected as a delivery partner for Procure Plus as this framework will be key to ushering in an alternative to supplement traditional build. Thank you to my colleagues who participated in this process and well done to all successful parties who will deliver within this framework!”

Totally Modular offer a range of housing solutions; houses, apartments, airspace and emergency accommodation, achieving a minimum EPC rating of A+ being within the top 1% of all housing developments in the UK for energy efficiency. The homes can be delivered as a full turnkey solution from design all the way to delivery. These homes can provide higher quality solutions with lower risk and greater speed, cost-effectiveness and consistency.

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular awarded Bronze Award by the Armed Forces Covenant

We’re proud to have signed The Armed Forces Covenant. This shows our commitment to support the armed forces community and defence.

By being a forces friendly employer we can benefit from the wide range of unique skills and experiences that reservists and veterans can bring to Totally Modular. Reservists and veterans bring a variety of transferable skills and qualities to the civilian workplace, developed throughout their military careers.

We have been awarded the Bronze Award as part of the Employer Recognition Scheme which acknowledges that Totally Modular have provided exceptional support to the armed forces community and defence by going above and beyond our covenant pledges.

We are currently recruiting for the following positions:

  • Carpenter – Immediate Start
  • Dry Liner/Plasterer/ Renderer -Immediate Start
  • Painter/Decorator – Immediate Start
  • Offsite Construction Operative – Immediate Start

All the above jobs will be based at our factory in Cradley Heath, West Midlands. Hour rate will depend on skillset (£9.30 – £14.40)

If you would like a full job description or want register your interest. Please email

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular accredited members of the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

We are proud to announce that Totally Modular are now fully accredited members of the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme is a not-for-profit, independent organisation founded to raise standards in the construction industry.

Construction sites, companies and suppliers voluntarily register with the Scheme and agree to abide by the Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements.

Considerate constructors seek to improve the image of the construction industry by striving to promote and achieve best practice under the Code.

The assessor concluded following his visit to Totally Modular…

“The company demonstrates with many of its policies and procedures a commitment in line with the principles of considerate construction. This is underlined by the number of external accreditations and certifications achieved. The entire site presents a professional and positive initial external impression. Environmental issues are obviously to the fore with the vast majority of construction element being undertaken off site and it is good to see the carbon footprint of the company being calculated. I have no hesitation in recommending Totally Modular Ltd. for membership of the CCS.”

The Code of Considerate Practice applies to all registered sites, companies and suppliers regardless of size, type or location.

  1. Care about appearance
  2. Respect the community
  3. Protect the environment
  4. Secure everyone’s safety
  5. Value their workforce

Totally Modular News

Prime Minister Visit’s Totally Modular Home

Did you spot us during the Prime Ministers Build Build Build announcement recently?

We were thrilled to be at the forefront of such a vital announcement surrounding accelerated delivery of construction and plans to reduce unemployment rates. Highlighting to the Prime Minister the importance of MMC to drive forward innovation, digital integration and accelerated delivery. 

John Connolly our Managing Director commented…

“It was great to have the Prime Minister Boris Johnson come and show his support to the Black Country and choose to make such a vital announcement at such a step changing venue as Dudley College, with our 3 bedroom modular home as the back drop.

Both ourselves and Dudley College have similar aspirations and that is to drive innovation and digital integration into the construction industry which will allow for better quality homes, increased transparency in the build process and most importantly accelerated delivery. Whilst at the same time enhancing job creation and seek to reduce unemployment rates.”

Following the Prime Ministers visit to Dudley College and our 3 bed demonstrator home, we think now is great time to explain our fantastic partnership with Dudley College.

Dudley College are considered a national leader of training in MMC delivery, so it only seemed apt to form a strategic partnership with them, so both parties can collaborate together to drive job creation, upskill individuals and the drive MMC journey forward.

A stand-out feature of Dudley College is the four-storey high ‘hangar’ where our 3 bed demonstrator modular home lives. Students are taught the practical know-how required for fabricating and assembling the building using the latest available technologies. For example both electrical and carpentry skilled apprentices have practised their skills on this house, with the full electrical install being conducted by electrical apprentices.

We have identified that we need to bring in a complete unskilled workforce, and train individuals up into the skills associated with volumetric modular assembly.

For us to facilitate that, we have identified Dudley College as a training provider within 3 miles of the factory that are sat in a unique position that have both experience from a construction perspective from an onsite element but also cutting edge training programmes that supporting offsite technology from a technical perspective, incorporating design, green technologies and innovative products.

We have formed a collaboration to initiate a trail blazing apprenticeship scheme, that all of our apprentices will be sent to college for a formal NVQ, BTEC apprenticeship over a period of 2-3 years, where at the end of it, they will have a formal qualification for Volumetric Modular Assembly, either as a crafts person or as a technician. Which are transferable skills, which can be deployed throughout the UK and beyond