JV North has created a task and finish group to explore how modern methods of construction (MMC) can deliver zero carbon homes while helping address the housing shortage.
Development staff from across the consortium are taking part in workshops looking at how factories can not only provide an offsite solution but also meet environmental aspirations.
They want modular homes to aim for sector-leading standards through intelligent design, by being heavily insulated and using recycled materials.
The task and finish group is also trying to identify a single provider the consortium can work with over several years to overcome habitual problems that are preventing more homes being built offsite.
JV North members Jigsaw, Torus, Trafford Housing Trust and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group have all completed modular projects.
Jigsaw (then New Charter Homes) delivered the first offsite scheme in social housing to receive grant funding.
Torus built a 33-home development in Naylorsfield Drive – the biggest single MMC scheme in the sector at the time – and is currently manufacturing 10 modular homes for land in St Helens.
Homes in Naylorsfield Drive, Liverpool being craned into place
More recently, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Trafford Housing Trust have used modular methods to build on small, awkward sites like disused garage plots.
The task and finish group’s workshops will see members look at these completed schemes and the industry as a whole to identify what was successful, what can be improved and seek solutions.
JV North Chairman and Chief Executive of Weaver Vale Housing Trust, Wayne Gales, said: “Our members have held a keen interest in modular housing for a number of years with many undertaking independent projects, all of which have been well received.
“What really excites our members’ boards is exploring how we can make new homes as eco-friendly as possible to both construct and live in.
“The main form of heat loss in homes comes from ventilation and draughts but with well sealed shells, the difference in tenants’ fuel bills will be significant.
“The importance of building sustainably is well known and we want to push this given 14 per cent of the total UK emissions come from energy use in the home.
“A greener focus could offset this and quickly too if we can get a group of like-minded organisations to offer manufacturers and supply chains continuity of programme.
“In addition to environmental considerations, our working group is also considering timescales, cost, quality, procurement, confidence and warranty issues to see what adjustments could be made to streamline the supply of new homes built in this way.
“For example, we’ll be looking at whether there are opportunities for JV North to partner a modular contractor in a more formal way.
“Through traditional construction we are already delivering the equivalent of an incredible 3.5 new homes every working day and so we want any alignment with a modular provider to enhance this further.”
JV North formed in 2007 to create economies of scale when bidding for government home building grant and procuring works.
The consortium is currently building over 4,500 homes in the 2016/21 Shared Ownership Affordable Homes Programme with members investing in the region of £500m supported by Homes England grant of £150m.