Greenwich Borough Council has asked offsite specialists to produce proposals on how a £50m modular housing plan could be delivered.
The local authority wants an offsite manufacturer to oversee the design, development, delivery and installation of new low-cost housing as part of regeneration plans in Greenwich.
A single firm will be awarded the contract to deliver the scheme, which the council said could last for 10 years.
Cast consultancy’s founding director Joe Thornton said the length of the scheme could attract a range of companies.
He said: “If the council want a lot of units quickly, then it’s going to have to go to one of the big guys like Vision or Caledonian or Elements Europe.
“But if it’s a more consistent volume year on year, then it’s a good opportunity for them to support one of the newer companies like Hatch.”
The council also wants any chosen provider to provide a “turnkey” service, managing design and build from contract inception to handover to the end-user.
Mr Thornton suggested this might be difficult to find in the current market.
“The turn key demand might be the challenging thing for them; are there people geared up who can deliver the whole thing?” He said.
“It might be that you end up getting more of a consortium or joint venture.”
The local authority will carry out a “soft market test” before it embarks on a full procurement programme, asking offsite specialists to propose how the plans could be carried out.
It then plans to meet with qualifying firms to discuss proposals.
The borough has set a deadline of 19 January for suppliers to register their interest and outline their capabilities via a survey.
Greenwich’s plan is part of a growing movement by the public sector to pursue offsite solutions.
In the Autumn Budget the government signalled its desire to see more offsite construction, stipulating that offsite solutions would be preferred on public projects from 2019.
This Budget announcement followed a cross-party call from London politicians for the government to pump more money into offsite manufacturing in order to tackle the housing crisis.
Private sector modular houses already have a presence in Greenwich, with Berkeley Group delivering 22 houses manufactured in the Midlands to the borough in June 2016.
Social housing providers are also exploring modular construction.
Last December, Your Housing Group agreed a £2.5bn joint venture with China National Building Material Company, a Chinese state-owned offsite manufacturer.
The JV plans to build six factories across the UK and deliver 25,000 modular homes a year.
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