First grand designs get £60,000 go-ahead

The first successful bidders for the Government's Design For Manufacture competition have been announced.

Three groups - Barrat Developments plc, George Wimpey UK, and the SIXTYK Consortium - have been selected by English Partnerships to build their £60,000 homes on four publicly owned sites. They were chosen from a shortlist of six bidders revealed earlier this year (see related story).

The Design for Manufacture competition is part of the Government's attempts to build affordable homes in Sustainable Communities. The homes in the competition have to have a construction cost of £60,000 although the actual sale price will of course be much higher depending on the usual factors of demand and location.

Five hundred homes will be built on the first four competition sites, with 30% of them being the £60k designs. The remainder will be a mix of smaller and larger homes.

Announcing the first successful bidders, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said the competition was breaking new ground.

"We set the bar very high to ensure the winning bids are of the highest calibre in terms of design, cost efficiency and environmental standards. All the finalists have responded well to a very tough challenge, proving it is possible to design affordable, quality homes for £60,000," he said.

Some of the key features from the chosen homes include:
  • flexible floor plans and homes with no internal structural walls, making them more adaptable to owners needs;
  • Eco-Hats, or central lanterns built into the roves of homes to allow more natural light and to manage heat more effectively;
  • built-in surveillance to enable good views out onto the street from inside the home;
  • accessibility - enabling easy mobility around the house by wheelchair users or the flexibility to make changes such as the insertion of a lift.

    The preferred bidders for a further six sites are expected to be announced in January 2006, construction on the first four sites is expected in the Spring.

    By David Hopkins

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