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Pre-Fabs for the 21st Century

We are delighted to have been recently involved in a unique housing development project that could be the future model for providing low cost social housing in the UK.

St Hilda’s is a social housing scheme in Cross Green, Leeds, comprising of seven new build 2 and 3 bedroom houses. Nothing unusual in that you may say but these dwellings were ‘built’ in just 3 days, using off site manufactured frame panels and assembled on site using traditional construction methods.

Osco Homes, based in Manchester, is currently attracting a lot of media coverage with their revolutionary approach to house-building. Based on the concept of lean and mass customisation, the company is currently working with local social housing trusts to supply affordable housing to meet the growing demand.

In Leeds, the development, on behalf of the Together Housing Association, was assembled using pre-constructed panels made in their purpose designed factory, shipped to site ‘just in time’ and fitted into place using skilled operatives.

To complement the pre-assembled walls, floors, celling and even roofs, we were commissioned to supply our Stone-Coat heads and cills. Also, manufactured off site, in our South Yorkshire factory, our stone effect architectural mouldings are made from ultra-lightweight material yet coated with a unique material that looks like stone, feels like stone yet is much lighter than stone.

This provided a major advantage to the Osco Homes development, as we can manufacture almost any shape or profile without the weight issues of traditional cast-stone. The mouldings can be incorporated into the panelised system at the factory or easily fixed in place on site.

The panelised system comprising of all external walls, windows, floors, ceilings and roof enables each dwelling to be built in segments. These can then be easily transported and lifted into place quickly and with very little disruption to the adjoining properties.

Prior to all that, site preparation and ground works are undertaken using traditional methods as is the fitting out. The combination of factory produced pre-fabricated units and traditional construction methods are seen by many in the industry to be a potential answer to the current construction skill shortage and wasteful traditional methods, all of which increase the time and cost of current building projects.

Many in the industry believe that this low tech high, quality build method could revolutionise house building – especially in the social housing sector. And we agree. Not only could ‘prefabs for the 21st Century’ enable more homes to be built, more quickly but it could go some way to helping alleviate the current labour skills shortage.

Osco Homes, for example, has established a unit, for manufacturing their light gauge steel frames inside HMP Hindley in Wigan. Offenders are learning new skills that will help them obtain jobs and avoid re-offending. Some of them are currently employed with Osco Homes.

Watch how to build a house in 3 days:

For more information about our Stone – Coat products click here

For more information about Osco Homes click here: www.oscohomes.com