Innovation Stations – Modular Homes on Trial at Gateshead Innovation Village

Innovation Stations – Modular Homes on Trial at Gateshead Innovation Village

30th October 2018

Here at Safety Fabrications we’ve been following the news on one of the latest new methods, off-site construction, with avid interest.  After all, this is a technique that will make the construction industry safer as it requires less work at height, one of the riskiest activities in the construction game.  Off-site construction brings with it other benefits, besides safety – we covered some of these benefits back in March of this year.  At the moment, there’s a live test underway of modern modular construction methods, another exciting development which affects our industry and will help building companies across the UK to play their part in helping the government to achieve its target of building 200,000 new homes every year in England.

The first two factory fabricated modular semi-detached homes are being built at Gateshead Innovation Village as part of a live research project led by Home Group.  Home Group is a social enterprise and charity with a turnover of $350 million and is one of the UK’s major providers of integrated housing, health and social care.  Gateshead Innovation Village is a live research project which aims to build a village from scratch using a mix of traditional and modular homes which boast smart technologies designed to increase energy efficiency. 

At the end of the project, the different modern construction techniques will be assessed on how they have performed and how they help to build a community, how they integrate with smart technology and energy efficient heating systems in order to ascertain what the housing of the future will look like. 

With a high demand for new housing, modular housing developments will speed up the construction process, making more new homes available quicker than ever before.  Gateshead Innovation Village is dedicated to finding out which of the modern construction methods will provide the most effective solution to Britain’s housing crisis. 

The modular homes which have already been installed at Gateshead Innovation Village were precision engineered and manufactured in a factory using cutting edge technologies.  They are all-electric, zero-carbon smart homes which boast the use of innovative features like smart-controlled solar PV systems, heat pumps, modern storage heaters and phase change thermal batteries.  The eventual residents will provide feedback which will determine ongoing product development to ensure that homes built are easy and pleasant to live in.

Residents will provide information on what the houses are like to live in, how they compare with traditionally built homes and how they stand up to time and weather conditions.  Eventually these homes will be available for sale or rent in a bid to help tackle the shortage of housing in the UK.  Home Group collaborates with NHS partners to provide integrated health, housing and social care which should relieve some of the pressures on the NHS.  Surplus turnover is re-invested into repairs, improvements and building more homes, so this is a sustainable building project that will, hopefully, impact the future of housing.