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11 August 2017

Welsh housing innovator converts old ambulance station into new housing

Neil Barker, Head of Operations at WPA, explains how Welsh housing innovator, F1 Modular, has successfully converted an old ambulance site into shared accommodation blocks.

I’ve been massively impressed with my recent visit to the new housing scheme being built in England for Cherwell District Council.

The council has renovated an old ambulance station and converted the building into six shared accommodation blocks using off-site construction methods.

Design and delivery of the scheme is being completely managed by Welsh housing innovator F1 Modular, which developed 28 self-contained, fully finished units from its factory in Newtown, Powys.

F1 Modular use existing construction methods and materials and adapt them within a factory environment to deliver superior quality constructed buildings finished within a controlled environment to ISO9000. This construction method allows accuracy of cost and cost certainty, as well as significantly quicker delivery with minimal disruption to the local environment.

F1 Modular was awarded the project through an innovative off-site housing framework established by not-for-profit procurement specialist, LHC. The framework allows social landlords to engage directly with a pre-selected panel of off-site manufacturers and contractors in strict compliance with the Public Contracts Regulations. In Wales, the framework is available through the Welsh Procurement Alliance (WPA) and can be used by local authorities and housing associations in Wales to procure innovative housing solutions in accordance with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

I’m sure that there are lots of opportunities throughout Wales to convert disused small sites into quality housing schemes for people most in need. So far, most of the houses rolling out of F1’s factory have been bound for Scotland and England. WPA is working with Welsh social landlords to find suitable sites in Wales. We’ll be holding the next WPA meeting at F1’s factory on 15th November and would welcome social landlords to join us.