A Rapid and Affordable Solution to the Homeless Crisis

2nd March, 2021

Based on extensive market research and optimising offsite construction, a new concept in volumetric modular homes aimed at rough sleepers has been developed and rigorously tested to help overcome a nationwide crisis.

As part of their landmark 20th anniversary celebrations, Hill Group pledged to give something back to the communities in which they operate. This pledge – known as Foundation 200 – will provide 200 modular homes for homeless people over the next four years and will be delivered through a partnership formed between Hill Group and Volumetric™. Foundation 200 will be backed with £12million to deliver the homes on small plots of land such as former garage sites across the south of England where the Hill Group operate.

Andy Hill, Chief Executive of Hill Group said: “Homelessness is a growing crisis which I feel very passionately about. After celebrating our 20th year of building homes at Hill, I want to give something back and create real opportunities for people who are living on the streets, to help turn their lives around. The whole business is taking huge pride in delivering these initiatives, and while we will not solve the problem today, we are taking a big step in the right direction which we hope others will follow.”

Designed and developed by Volumetric™ – a specialist manufacturer of custom-built homeless solutions – Modulhaus™ is a relocatable and robust one-person home that offers exceptional energy efficiency, outstanding functional performance and superior quality. Offering a safe, independent and innovative interim housing solution, Modulhaus™ accommodation units allow individuals to find the stability they need to secure a reliable income before making the transition to a permanent home.

The Challenge

Each Autumn, local authorities nationwide investigate the estimated homeless levels within their areas which are then reported to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). In December 2019, homelessness charity Shelter composed a thorough report of these findings which estimated that on any given night there were approximately 259,372 individuals homeless in England – this figure includes 4,677 rough sleepers and 254,695 living in temporary accommodation. At the same time, Boris Johnson revealed that the government is committing an additional £263million funding on top of the £100million budget already pledged to support local authorities and councils to meet the needs of people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the UK is likely to experience a significant spike in the number of homeless, as businesses and individuals are forced into financial strain due to the projected economic downturn. Modulhaus™ delivers a solution to meet the needs of interim homeless providers across the UK.

Changing Lives for the Better

Using offsite manufacturing techniques and volumetric modular technology, the individual interim need homes are developed to bespoke designs in the Volumetric™ advanced manufacturing facility, and are fully fitted out with kitchens, shower-rooms, bedrooms and living spaces, white goods and furnishings.

Modulhaus™ accommodation units are delivered to exceptional standards, fully equipped and futureproof for the Future Homes Standard and arrive 100% complete, ready for simple site connection and commissioning. This solution provides greater dignity and independence to the most vulnerable members of society whilst also relieving the burden of ongoing expenses associated with traditional temporary accommodation.

Energy Efficient

The futureproof energy strategy combines air source heat pumps (ASHP) and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) technology with factory-fitted low energy white goods and lighting. The airtight and super energy efficient volumetric modular units, reduce carbon emissions for the lifetime of the building and can cut ongoing energy costs to circa £5 per week – negating fuel poverty and meeting the guidelines outlined by the Future Homes Standard. Each Modulhaus™ unit significantly exceeds energy efficiency requirements under current AD L1A legislation.

Performance Assured

Manufactured to better than Building Regulations Part E standards for acoustic performance for walls and floors, these highly robust structures with Secured By Design windows and external doors offer safe and secure accommodation. Designed for ease of maintenance and operation, Modulhaus™ features minimal and straightforward controls and a card operated electric meter together with integrated cabling for broadband and TV connectivity. A simple to use operation and maintenance manual is provided with each module. With quality checks throughout the assembly process, the modules are delivered to site fully-tested and commissioned with a test plan linked to unique serial numbers.

Procurement Options

In addition to the 200 units gifted through Foundation 200 over the next five years, Modulhaus™ units can be purchased outright under a full turnkey package or can be supplied under a lease purchase arrangement or leased under a long-term agreement. All options are available with the choice of a fully-integrated routine and reactive maintenance service.

Complete Service

Volumetric™ adopts a partnership approach and works in close collaboration with the Foundation 200 team to meet individual briefs and budgets of councils, local authorities and third sector organisations. If the brief demands, Volumetric™ can provide a fixed cost for a complete design, manufacture and installation package including site surveys, foundation requirements, landscaping, incoming services and utilities, delivery to site, cranage installation and commissioning. An operation and maintenance checking service can be provided for the first 12 months of use, before handing over responsibility to the Modulhaus™ owners.

Full article can be viewed in the latest Offsite Magazine - click here to read issue 27!

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