Countryside revenue tops £1bn as completions soar
Essex-based Countryside Properties expects average home build times to be slashed from 14 weeks to 10 weeks when its new closed-panel timber frame factory in Warrington gets into full swing early next year.
The private house building and partnership homes business revealed the factory would provide up to 1,500 units a year as it reported a 27% jump in completions to nearly 4,300 homes in the year to September.
This strong uplift in volumes, mainly at the partnerships arm, saw revenue jump 20% to £1.23bn, driving pre-tax profit up 22% to £181m.
Ian Sutcliffe, group chief executive, said: “During 2018, we were able to use our own cash to make two important investments to accelerate our future growth – the purchase of Westleigh in April 2018 and the development of an offsite modular build factory, which will come on stream in 2019.
“The mixed-tenure model reduces our exposure to the private housing market which we expect will represent around one third of delivery in 2019. In addition, forward-funding of affordable and PRS homes helps to reduce our balance sheet risk while accelerating growth in sectors of high demand.”
For some years, Countryside has used an open-panel timber frame system in our Northern and Midlands regions to produce standard components offsite for around 40 per cent of our output.
From 2019, the new £6m facility in Warrington will take this further, producing more complete, wall and flooring systems with first-fix plumbing and electrical channels installed, windows in place and insulation sealed into the unit.
Sutcliffe said: “The new facility will ultimately produce around 1,500 units per year to serve the Partnerships division across the Midlands and the North West.
“We anticipate that this approach will allow us to take a building from foundations to completed property in around ten weeks from the current 12 to 14 weeks, increasing the number of homes our sites can deliver in a year.
“As well as significantly improving our operational efficiency, there are a number of other benefits including protection from site labour shortages, reduced waste and improved quality control.”
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