A new firm in Mansfield is set to revolutionise the way houses are being built in Britain - and there are hopes it could help resolve the area’s shortage of both homes and jobs.
SpineLock Living has launched a pioneering factory within which homes are set to be built, before being shipped to the site, and fixed in place.
But these are certainly not the much-maligned prefabricated structures that dominated the building trade after the war, nor is it a flat-pack home or a jazzy static caravan.
These new homes use methods that have been developed over several years and using exacting engineering techniques.
And because of that, the company is designing and producing two-storey two, three and four bedroom homes, all with domestic appliances installed prior to delivery to the site.
“Forget everything you’ve ever seen or heard about prefabricated structures, you could not be further from them if you tried,” explained SpineLock’s CEO, Derick Wilson.
“These look and feel like any other house.
“This has been five years to get to this point, now is the time to tell people it can be done.
“This is the only way to build, everything is engineered with attention to detail, and we have not cut a corner anywhere. It’s a quality product.
“Nothing we do here is rocket science, they are materials that have been used in the building industry for years, just put together differently.
“There’s nothing like this in the world. A lot of people do modular building, but it’s delivered on site as a kit, and we have gone that extra couple of steps.”
The technology is the brainchild of Derick, originally from Hucknall, who opened the factory on Crown Farm Park in November.
As an engineer, his principle is to construct the home in separate sections, before they are slotted together using panelised interlocking ‘cassette’ system, which has been developed over several years.
The sections are then assembled on site using a unique aluminium locking system, pulling the structure together and providing a solid backbone.
As well as providing the mod cons and top-of-the range fixtures and fittings, the exteriors of the houses can be finished in brick, stone or any other traditional look, meaning they replicate any other standard house.
In a world first, 18 detached homes are to be delivered in the coming months to ‘The Green’, the site of the bowling club on Westfield Lane, Mansfield, where planning permission has been granted.
With homes are being constructed indoors, there are no delays,and with the advanced methods in use, it will take just four weeks to build four homes - an unprecedented time scale for house building.
The costs of a three-bedroom home will be around £159,000 - standard price for that size - but the SpineLock home is 39 percent larger than standard homes being built today.
But just as impressive as the homes themselves, is their unparalleled energy efficiency.
Standard three-bedroom homes can cost up to £2,500 a year to supply gas and electricity, but Derick estimates that it will cost a maximum of £250 a year for a SpineLock home.
Each home includes an integrated rainwater harvesting system, roof-top solar panels, low-energy under floor heating, thermostat controls for each room, and high levels of insulation, courtesy of the precision design and engineering involved in the construction.
With interest in his innovative constructions gathering pace, Derick says that staff numbers at his factory are set to double in the coming weeks to 20, but hopes hundreds could be in place in the next 18 months, including apprenticeship opportunities for young people.
He added: “The UK housing industry is facing two major challenges over the next few years - to deliver enough affordable, quality housing to accommodate a growing population and to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, all in the midst of an economic crisis. To overcome these challenges a new way of designing and building houses is needed.
“We want to revolutionise the UK housing industry and demonstrate that innovative thinking, new technology and working closely with local authorities, businesses and communities can provide a practical solution to the UK housing crisis.”