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housing associations launch £2bn modular framework.

Housing Associations looking to modular solutions say the framework is expected to last for at least 5 years. To kick start the search for modular construction solutions, specialists are invited to win places in the new £2bn scheme. The new Central Housing Investment Consortium (CHIC) deal has the option of being extended by a further two five year periods and will be responsible for around 700,000 homes delivered by a consortium of over 92 housing associations.

The organisation has put out a contract notice stating "CHIC is procuring three contracts for the manufacture, supply and erection of new modular (volumetric) homes with options for all site works." For two of the lots, the work will take a whole scheme 'turnkey' approach including all associated construction works. For the third lot, the site work will be optional.

Modular in a time of crisis

In February, LHC, a joint committee of local authorities across the UK, appointed several firms to deliver a £30m off-site housing framework covering all areas of project management from preparation and land assembly to design and construction. Modular has been one of the winners in the construction sector, with off-site construction largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing regulations. 

The crisis has prompted an upsurge in interest in modern methods of construction (MMC) with Savill predicting that modular homes will surge in popularity over the next ten years. Usage of MMC in beating the UK's housing crisis is predicted to rise from 8% to 20% in a decade.

With big names including BoKlok and Legal & General entering the space in the UK, the availability of high quality homes that satisfy net-zero targets is becoming a real possibility. L&G has recently committed to making all of its homes net zero by 2030 as part of the government's drive to 'build back better'.

A £2bn scheme

The CHIC framework currently covers 3 lots including the manufacture of modular housing, bungalows and flats. Lot one includes an option to provide full site services for small schemes, while lot two requires firms to demonstrate proven capability in providing all schemes with full site construction services. Between them, these lots are worth £875m.

Lot three also includes an option for full site services. Worth £1.2bn it covers the manufacture of everything from modular high rise structures to individual room pods and houses. Firms will only be awarded a place on one lot but can bid for up to two. Successful companies will also be required to have their own pre-existing manufacturing base.
However, CHIC has already made it clear that it can support any company struggling to meet demand, and state "Where demand under the contract supports increased capacity, CHIC or other consortia, will work with the company to establish manufacturing capacity geographically suited to that demand."

Initial projects are expected to take place across Wales and southern England. Future projects may require companies to work across England, Scotland and Wales.
Interested MMC businesses will need to register their intent by 31 July.

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