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Funding spurs growth at North East Modular Housebuilder

Sarah Slaven (MD of Business Durham) with Scott Biddy (MD of Corehaus) at Salvus House, Durham.

An injection of grant funding is allowing an innovative modular housebuilder to accelerate UK expansion plans at a new manufacturing base in the North East.

CoreHaus has secured £50,000 from the County Durham Growth Fund to recruit a highly skilled team to start production in new premises of its unique modular homes which have already been successfully trialled in the region.

The company recently set up a manufacturing facility in a 20,000 sq ft unit on Jade Business Park, Murton, near Seaham. CoreHaus managing director Scott Bibby explained that the investment from the fund is an important boost to scale up plans.

The County Durham Growth Fund, overseen by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, is an £8.9m capital grant scheme providing funding to SMEs in County Durham to accelerate their growth.

Scott Bibby said: “This grant from Business Durham is important to us because it allows CoreHaus to scale up within a larger factory than we might otherwise have secured and enables us to manage more of the production within our own premises,” said Scott.

He added: “We are really grateful for the additional support from Business Durham and Durham County Council for helping us secure our new factory unit in County Durham. This larger unit will allow us to perform a greater scope of work including the assembly of steel frames that are central to our modular homes.”

The five-year plan will see CoreHaus producing around 1,000 modular homes a year, which will result in more than 100 people working across the business. These homes will be built using modern methods of construction (MMC) which will result in high quality homes, built faster, with engineered precision and expected lower energy bills.

Sarah Slaven, interim MD at Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, said: “I am delighted we have been able to support CoreHaus through County Durham Growth Fund. Encouraging businesses to move to the county is key to creating new opportunities for County Durham residents and is exactly what the fund was set up to do.

“Supporting innovative companies like CoreHaus in growing sectors of the economy will be crucial in creating jobs and securing economic growth in the future. We look forward to working with the team as they grow the business in County Durham.”

CoreHaus is a joint-venture company between Carlton & Co Group, the parent company behind North East based Homes by Carlton, and national social enterprise Fusion21, specialists in public procurement for the built environment.

In the last few months Scott Bibby has recruited a production manager, a production engineer along with five technicians. He is currently seeking to recruit apprentices and office staff.

Scott said: “There remains strong demand for new homes and we know the housing sector wants something that’s both affordable and incorporates high-quality design within a modular frame. We are already in discussions with several regional and national housing associations interested in working with our product.

“Our light gauge steel-frame system ensures that CoreHaus can be used in both urban and rural locations with elevation treatments tailored to suit each setting, providing almost unlimited design potential. The standardised modular core means the solution can be configured for homes of almost any size.”

The modular housing sector has been given a recent boost by national housing agency Homes England which is accelerating the delivery of local authority housing schemes, encouraging greater use of modern methods of construction.

Housing associations looking to sign lucrative ‘strategic partnership’ deals with Homes England to build large numbers of affordable homes will have to commit to using modern methods of construction to build out at least 25% of their pipeline.

Scott added: “Our production and designs draw on modern, technical skills and innovation. We have a real opportunity to break the current mould in housebuilding and construction.”