A housing association has clinched a deal with international partners to launch a £2.5 billion UK joint venture to manufacture and build thousands of modular, low-carbon homes a year.
Your Housing Group (YHG) announced the deal with WElink Group today, which also takes in partners Beijing-based China National Building Material Company (CNBM), its subsidiary China Triumph International Engineering Company Ltd (CTIEF), and Spanish firm Barcelona Housing Systems (BHS), which will provide the steel-framed, panel-based build system.
Under the deal, CNBM has committed to build six factories across the UK, creating jobs for over 1,000 people, to manufacture the components. The company will also provide the joint venture with the “industrial strength, financial support and leverage for additional investment in the UK”, according to YHG’s announcement.
“Through this joint venture we are leading the transformation of the housing market and are able to address the UK’s housing need head-on, creating an innovative platform to enable the increase in supply of new homes,” said Stephen Haigh, the new joint venture’s UK chief executive.
“Our announcement is very much about identifying new opportunities and assisting Government and other housing associations to achieve their housing aspirations as announced in the recent Autumn Statement, such as the £2.3bn infrastructure fund. It is also crucial that we work closely with local authorities to create mixed tenure communities to cement our development model as the solution to their house building and development needs.”
Brian Cronin, YHG’s chief executive, added: “YHG is committed to providing innovative solutions to address the availability crisis which affects the housing sector in the UK today. Therefore, as one of the UK’s largest housing associations, with over 20 years’ experience of housing management and operations, we are delighted to be part of this ground-breaking joint venture. This innovation in housing construction also creates new types of employment, develops new building skills, and nurtures apprenticeship opportunities which is good news for local people and businesses where we develop our housing and supply chains.”
The aim is achieve the delivery of 25,000 low-carbon homes a year by 2022, and make a serious contribution to the Government’s target of one million homes in the process.
The Government has certainly welcomed the deal. International Trade Minister, Greg Hands MP, said: “This is a clear endorsement of the UK’s attractiveness as a place for inward investment. This announcement has the potential to benefit local communities across the country, creating jobs, boosting local economies and creating homes.
“The Department for International Trade has worked closely with the consortium to highlight the strengths of the UK and played a fundamental role in bringing together the partners in this exciting joint venture.”
WElink Group was founded in 2007 and is today an international provider of renewable energy and low-carbon construction solutions. The company works in collaboration with CNBM and operates in nine companies, including the UK.
CNBM, meanwhile, is a state-owned but public traded Chinese company; a Fortune 500 enterprise with net assets said to be in excess of $85bn. It produces cement, lightweight building materials, glass fibre and fibre-reinforced plastic products and engineering service businesses around the world. Part of CNBM, China Triumph International Engineering Company Ltd (CTIEF) serves to internationalise the Chinese enterprise’s green technologies, including renewable and low-carbon modular housing.
“Our partnership comes at a time when the UK’s housing shortfall is only going to be addressed by radical innovation in building practices which opens the way for modular housing,” said Ajmal Rahman, chairman of WElink Group.
“This joint venture will give a significant kick-start to delivering the new homes people need across the UK which includes helping to address fuel poverty issues through our incorporated solar and energy efficient design – meaning our developments can be at least 75% off-grid. Overall, we are delighted by this deal and look forward to playing a significant part in the UK housing market for years to come.”
CNBM’s Chairman Peng added: “CNBM is the world’s leading construction materials company and with CTIEC have in house a Fortune 200 engineering group whose approach is to work with local providers and draw upon local expertise for our projects around the world. We are delighted to continue our investment in the UK through innovative housing design and construction methods which we see as world leading.
“However, the key to unlocking the opportunities to address the housing needs of the UK is through the development and delivery of an industrialisation strategy at significant scale. To this end, CNBM is also committing to six factories across the UK to deliver modern housing agreed in this deal on a national level.”
YHG and WElink say they are currently scouting for potential factory sites in Scotland, South Wales, North East, North West, Yorkshire and North Midlands, and the South East and South West.
Cesar Martinell, chairman of Barcelona Housing Systems, said: “Within our global opportunity, the UK represents a cornerstone market for our energy efficient modular housing solution and we are excited to be working with YHG to deliver a national solution for the British market.”