Published: Tuesday, 9th February 2021

Leading modular housing firm TopHat has completed the delivery of 20 affordable homes for Medway Development Company, our development arm, in Chatham.

All 20 of the homes, which were delivered on White Road, will be made available for affordable rent and operated by mhs homes, a housing association.

The two-bedroom homes were manufactured along production lines at TopHat’s South Derbyshire factory. Once complete, the homes were transported to site and installed in a matter of days.

By taking the majority of the build stage offsite, TopHat was able to complete the scheme in half the time of traditional methods of construction, helping to speed up the delivery of much-needed affordable housing for the local community.

The use of TopHat’s innovative MMC solution has resulted in the 20 homes built having less embedded carbon than one traditionally built, masonry house.

Further, low-carbon technologies, such as solar panels, have been integrated into the design of the homes and will provide residents with clean, low-cost electricity. Due to high levels of airtightness, the homes will achieve at least a ‘B’ Energy Performance Certificate rating - making them more energy-efficient than 92 percent of new-builds in the UK.

TopHat’s patented technology enabled the company to work closely with us to tailor the design and finishes of the homes in order to meet local design requirements.

The technology deployed at the company’s factory allows homes to be customised, meaning it maintains quality and speed of delivery without having identical towns up and down the country. As a modular housebuilder, this is unique to TopHat and is a key point for clients, as it means they will be better able to placate any local opposition, secure planning and attract buyers.

TopHat delivered the homes under a turnkey construction contract, providing cost and time certainty to the client.  It’s due to these efficiencies that an increasing number of councils and housing associations are opting to deliver schemes using modern methods of construction (MMC).

Homes England has been championing modular housing as a solution to speeding up the delivery of affordable housing across the UK. Last year, the Government’s national housing agency announced that housing associations looking to sign deals under the new £11.5 billion Affordable Housing Programme will have to commit to using modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver at least a quarter of their pipelines.

O’Keefe Construction carried out groundworks, while CAST acted as the project manager on the scheme.

TopHat is supporting Medway’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2025.

Ensuring residents have a great choice of homes

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “I am pleased that these new affordable, modular homes have been completed. There is a huge demand for new houses in Medway and we remain committed to ensuring our residents have a great choice of both affordable and luxury homes. The White Road development showcases the triumphs of offsite manufacturing and it is pleasing that the homes have been built without producing significant carbon emissions. I wish residents all the best in their new homes.” 

Offsite construction has the ability to significantly cut emissions

Andrew Shepherd, managing director at TopHat, comments: “Through Homes England, the government has recognised the need to diversify the supply of new affordable housing for quite some time now. The scheme on White Road, delivered as part of our long-standing relationship with Medway Council, demonstrates the efficiencies our accredited method of delivery can afford clients - which span from developers, councils and housing associations. Climate change is an ever-present issue affecting much of Britain’s many industries. As a sector that contributes almost 40 percent to UK emissions, there is an urgent need for a step change in the way the built environment delivers homes. Offsite manufacturing provides the housebuilding industry with the ability to significantly cut emissions.”

Affordable homes for local people

Gemma Hancock, assistant director of development and sales at mhs, said: "We’re delighted to work with Medway Council and TopHat to provide these affordable homes for local people, making use of a previously disused area. This work contributes towards our overall objective to help end the housing crisis in north Kent and underlines our commitment to building sustainably. These fantastic modular homes were delivered from a factory, with the advantages of speed and quality control settings and will provide a warm home, with sustainable electric heating systems that use solar panels, for families to enjoy."

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