Legal & General given go-ahead for energy efficient modular homes drive

The modular housing arm of insurance giant Legal & General has been given planning permission to create more than 150 modular homes in Selby, North Yorkshire that will feature the highest EPC ratings for energy efficiency.

Legal & General given go-ahead for energy efficient modular homes drive

All homes are being designed to achieve EPC A ratings

Legal & General Modular Homes will build 154 homes at an eight-acre site on Portholme Road, Selby in North Yorkshire. The houses will be constructed offsite at Legal & General’s in Sherburn-in-Elmet factory and transported in large pieces to the site. This modular way of constructing offsite will help lower material use and waste, while streamlined construction processes will lower the carbon footprint of the project.

The company has ambitions to build 3,000 modular homes out of the factory annually by 2024. An additional 350 homes are expected to be created this year.

The development will consist of 76 one-and-two bedroom apartments and 78 two-and-three bedroom houses, with 30% consisting of affordable housing. All homes are being designed to achieve EPC A ratings, of which only 1% of all new builds achieve.

“Using modular construction, Legal & General will be able to deliver high-quality homes at a much faster rate than through traditional construction. In a post-Covid-19 crisis environment, the speed of delivery will be more important than ever before,” Legal & General Modular Homes’ chief executive Rosie Toogood said.

“Our journey to revolutionise the UK’s construction industry is well underway, and planning consent at Portholme Road, Selby is testament to this. This scheme, along with our proposals at Bonnington Walk in Bristol, will showcase the benefits of modular construction. Achieving planning permission for this Selby scheme is a fantastic milestone for the business, and a major achievement for the team, particularly set against the current backdrop.”

The company believes the modular manufacturing sector could be worth around £40bn and will help spur UK jobs while boosting the economy. The Selby site will provide up to 130 jobs, with a further 50 added through Legal & General recruits.

Legal & General Modular Homes will deliver a full development proposition from buying land, developing the product, achieving planning consent through to delivery.

Legislative assistance

The UK Government is aiming to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030. The Government will invest £170m in innovations which seek to enhance resource efficiency, improve energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions across the industry while shortening construction times, with ministers expecting this investment to be matched with £250m of private sector funding.

Such innovations to drive smart construction include offsite modular manufacturing techniques, AI-assisted digital design tools, new manufacturing technologies and smart building management systems.

Additionally, a long-term trajectory to improve energy performance standards – including upgrading private rented homes to EPC Band C – will also be developed, but only where “cost-effective and affordable”. All fuel-poor homes will be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) came into effect 1 April 2018, imposing new rules on both domestic and commercial properties within the private rental sector. Before the new legislation was introduced, research found that energy efficiency standards had fallen in almost one-fifth of commercial properties.

The new rules prohibit landlords from granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants if the property has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below band ‘E’. Research claims that 35,000 E-rated buildings could actually fall below the MEES threshold.

Matt Mace

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