Ikea & Skanska's Housing Move To The UK Welcomed

A plan by Swedish home décor giant IKEA and construction wizard Skanska to bring their low cost sustainable offsite housing model to the UK has been welcomed by insulation specialist Actis. The company has built 11,000 homes so far in Sweden, Norway and Finland using sustainable offsite manufacturing methods, giving more people the opportunity to own a quality, sustainable home, at a lower price than the current market value.

Speaking at Housing 2019 in Manchester. BoKlok UK vice-president Henrik Johnnson stressed key factors to the success and sustainability of the future housing market are more housing choice, improved quality and increased efficiency. His aim is to create homes which suit the pockets of those on average incomes.

“Modern methods of construction can deliver on all of these, which is why investments in offsite solutions have increased significantly,” he said. “BoKlok homes are built using a smart, industrialised and efficient process that produces high-quality, environmentally sensitive housing at a low price,’ he explained. BoKlok has nothing to do with ‘flat-packs’, it is about completed quality homes manufactured offsite.”

Buying materials in large quantities enables the IKEA/Skanska marriage to benefit from economies of scale and it offers, in true Ikea style, a small selection of clean line designs which reduce upfront costs. Its one to four bedroom apartments and terraced houses are finished in white paint and plain tiles.  Its Swedish incarnations all benefit from solar panels.

“In Sweden, our calculations show that a BoKlok multifamily house generates half the carbon emissions compared to the average of a newly produced multi-family house,” added Henrik. “We will use the same means of production for the UK market and hence it is a reasonable to think that the result would be the same in the UK. Transportation of the modules is a very small part of the total emissions.

“In a world with finite resources we do as much as possible to minimise our impact on the environment, which is why we build in wood – the most climate neutral and natural building material. Building in a factory lowers our environmental impact, especially as we use timber frames. We recycle most of our leftover materials – less than 1% gets thrown away. And our carbon footprint is less than half that of normal building projects. All of this makes us more sustainable and more cost effective.

“Our housing areas are relatively small with leafy areas where people can meet in a natural way. They are always close to public transport, shops and other public amenities. We help our customers live more sustainably, whether that means saving energy and water or how they can find cleaning products without any harmful chemicals. Perhaps most important of all, we don’t build any unnecessary square metres. We create smart space, not showoff space. Every square metre we don’t
build reduces our environmental impact. Our goal is a low price with meaning. That’s something entirely different from building cheaply.

“We build most of our houses inside, which reduces the risk of weather damage. We build with care to show respect for the people who will move in and we build smart using natural and environmentally friendly materials. Because we’ve perfected our process we are one of the fastest companies in the industry. No one else can build and deliver a quality home, ready to move into as fast as us. As soon as we’ve found the right piece of land we don’t waste any time. This means less disruption for local residents and fewer risks for the builders.”

Actis Regional Sales Director Jemma Harris is particularly excited about the latest forward thinking offsite specialist. “We welcome initiatives aimed at addressing the housing crisis and the construction industry skills shortage while improving the environment. Here is another wonderful example of construction organisations being proactive, thinking outside the box and looking at new and innovative ways of creating the homes we need.”

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