Helping Solve the Housing Crisis

Tag: HouseiO

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