North West social enterprise Fusion21 develops innovative modular housing design

An ambitious North West-based national social enterprise is investing in an innovative modular house type that could have a major impact on the new homes market and the environment.

CoreHaus will significantly reduce construction times, build costs and have less impact on the environment than more traditional homes. The design offers the flexible combination of being part modular, with a standard, engineered core, that can then be configured to different sizes.

A specialist in public procurement for the built environment – with its head office located in Knowsley, Merseyside - Fusion21 is currently trialling CoreHaus at the Cathedral Gates housing development in the North East of England. Housebuilder Homes by Carlton is the company behind the scheme, a mix of 14 three and four-bed detached and semi-detached homes at Chilton, eight miles from Durham City.

CoreHaus is a joint-venture company between Fusion21 and Carlton & Co Group, the parent company of Homes by Carlton. It is hoped that once trialled and tested the CoreHaus designs will be rolled out nationally, offering a different approach to tackling the shortage of innovative, affordable housing in Britain. England has a shortage of around 3.91 million homes, according to research from Heriot-Watt University.

Dave Neilson, chief executive of Fusion21, said: “Currently 340,000 new homes are needed to be built each year to meet government targets. At current development rates these shortfalls will not be met. A transformational approach is required to ensure we can support this demand – and that’s where CoreHaus can help.

“Our unique construction method delivers faster build times and makes it economically viable for developers while greatly reducing environmental impacts.”

While different in the build stage, CoreHaus looks the same as the more traditionally built homes at Cathedral Gates. All properties are built to the same exacting standards, combining hand-built craftsmanship, character and high attention to detail.

Simon Walker, managing director at Homes by Carlton, said: “The CoreHaus looks no different to the traditional house types once fully built. Interiors can be the same and exteriors will use the same block and brick. It’s just a more modern way of building that should be kinder to the environment and have energy benefits for the homebuyer.

“CoreHaus homes are designed to make it easier and more cost-effective for developers to deliver environmentally efficient homes with a unique design and contemporary feel. They’re larger than many new three-bedroom homes on the market and we believe offer a higher standard of finish than many traditional house types being built elsewhere.”

The principles of the CoreHaus comprise a modular core including a pre-finished kitchen, downstairs toilet, staircase, bathroom and central heating system being manufactured offsite before being delivered to the development. This is then followed by the external walls and roof being constructed to reduce build time.

Assembled in factory-controlled conditions, this energy-efficient housing ‘pod’ can help reduce onsite construction time by 50%, increase flexibility in the design of the home and cut CO2 emissions.

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Abi Bentley-Cottam
Article by Abi Bentley-Cottam
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