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Reflections on 2019; First factory homes are here…

With 2019 drawing to an end, our Head of Development and Sales, Paul Read, reflects on the year.

2019 has seen the fruits of two years of work for Magna working with our partners LHC, Complex Asset Management Solutions (CAMS) and Rollalong. The year has seen the delivery of our demonstration home as a proof of concept that factory production works for social landlords seeking really desirable homes built to consistent quality. 45 homes have already been manufactured under contracts developed by Michelmoores Solicitors.

To get to this stage we asked ourselves, does it make sense to move towards more factory based processes to build our homes?  We engaged with CAMS to make sure we had a clear business case on why, as a social landlord, we would want to manufacture homes. We could already see the sense in opening up a new supply route to start to tackle the challenges of climate change and the skills shortage, but what is the financial case? This work has been independently case studied and this was successfully used as part of the value for money business case with Homes England in securing a grant.

The design of these new homes reflect 10 years of resident feedback and input on what good looks like when it comes to building desirable homes. We partnered with Rollalong, who brought their 50 years of manufacturing knowhow and factory resources and translated those designs into a manufacturing environment. They already had NHBC accreditation but as we close 2019 they have BOPAS (The Build Offsite Property Assurance Scheme) for both the manufacturing and installation.

As a team, we have opened up the factory and our demonstration home to multiple clients and interested parties. They have seen first-hand the factory processes and quality control systems that enable the consistent delivery of quality that continues to elude on-site processes, where the widely reported ‘performance-gap’ between design performance and actual performance continue to be demonstrated. We have shared the case study and opened up, via LHC’s South West Procurement Alliance team, a client cluster opportunity to take the learning, procurement and contracts put in place to date to drive forwards on the two key drivers in any manufacturing process to secure repetition in design and volume.

So we now look forward to 2020 where we seek to work with other clients, as part of the client cluster, to take this baseline position and agree standards for the next iteration of the house designs, their route to carbon neutrality and to embed this as a pattern book that will be worked up with Local Planning Authorities to ensure the planning and manufacturing processes are as aligned as possible to enable this valuable source of additional homes to be delivered to the communities we are all a part of.

As a client cluster, the aim is to have 200 homes procured in 2020 and to deliver the first £1m efficiency saving that will be driven by productivity gains alone and help to offset some of the design development for any future homes standards we see to achieve as a collective of clients. 

Together, we will deliver the right homes, of the right quality, in the right place.




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