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Watford Community Housing agrees contract with Elements Europe to deliver new affordable homes

Watford Community Housing has agreed a contract with specialist offsite manufacturer Elements Europe to help deliver 18 affordable homes at the former Northcotts complex in Watford.

Utilising innovative offsite manufacturing (OSM) techniques to build the new homes, construction is now under way. This marks a significant step towards the housing association’s target of 50% of all developments to use OSM by 2025.

More than 50 pre-assembled steel frame modules will be delivered to the site, to be fixed together using bespoke fixings. It is estimated that this unique construction process reduces construction time by around 30-50% – as it requires less on-site labour and is not affected by weather conditions – and it eliminates almost all on-site waste, which is a by-product of traditional construction.

In addition to the quicker build times and numerous environmental benefits, OSM homes are often more thermally efficient than the current Building Regulations require, ensuring easy-to-heat homes for future residents.

The 18 two-bedroom flats will be let for affordable rent and are scheduled for completion by March 2023.

Commenting on the recent developments, Tina Barnard, Chief Executive of Watford Community Housing said: “We’re thrilled to have appointed Elements Europe to help us deliver safe, energy-efficient homes that our customers can be proud of. Sustainability and affordability are vital to the future of the housing industry, as is the ability to build quickly. Our utilisation of OSM should reduce build times, minimise environmental impact and enable us to meet the spiralling demand for affordable homes.”

Simon Underwood CEO of Elements Europe added: “We are really excited to have secured this project with our forward-thinking client. Watford Community Housing is showing its leadership and commitment to the future by embracing a modular solution for this development from the outset. Leading a wider group of 20 housing providers – ‘The Hertfordshire Offsite Manufacturing Programme’ – this project will enable Watford Housing Community and Elements Europe to demonstrate all the benefits of this form of construction and the positive impact on the environment for many more to see. We look forward to further projects of this type over the next few years with the programme”.