Building better, bit by bit

Published: Tuesday, 16th February 2021

Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL) has launched a procurement process for contractors to help it deliver more than 2,500 high quality, sustainable homes across Oxfordshire in the next 10 years.

OCHL is Oxford City Council’s wholly-own housing company. This is the first stage in establishing a £1bn modular construction framework for its new housing schemes. This will play a vital role in ensuring all new homes built in the city are zero carbon by 2030.

Modular versus traditional

Modular construction can be a key driver in carbon footprint reduction in the development sector. It also generates efficiency and cost-savings for residents. What’s more, it also makes building sites quieter and less disruptive.

Streamlined and clean

Modular construction involves creating large components of buildings offsite in a factory. These sections are then transported to site where they are assembled. OCHL is insisting firms who tender take an environmental approach throughout all of their processes. This means incorporating eco-friendly building materials and practices will be standard across OCHL developments. Furthermore, modular construction’s streamlined design and efficient production reduce waste to landfill.

Quality assured

In the factory, every stage of production is subject to stringent quality checks and consistent standards are maintained. This means modular manufacturing uses far less energy than traditional builds onsite.

Flexible and reusable

Another benefit is that prefabricated sections are far easier to replace and disassemble. If a building has become obsolete or disused it can be relocated in sections to a different site. Modular parts can be saved so that they don’t go to waste meaning there’s less need for fresh raw materials.

Quicker and quieter

Without the need for building material deliveries and noisy on-site machinery modular construction sites are far less noisy. They also require less people. In addition to benefiting the local environment, this means sites are more harmonious with local communities.

Healthier, happier homes

Modular construction lends itself to innovations that actively improve the lives of occupants. OCHL is particularly interested in working with contractors with experience and expertise in achieving carbon reduction, Passivhaus and zero carbon energy standards. All of which create homes which are truly energy efficient, comfortable, healthy and at the same time affordable.

“Oxford is known globally as a pioneer and we are leading the way in creating affordable, sustainable, high quality homes for our community. Modular and frame construction buildings can significantly contribute to a more climate-responsible future. We are committed to developing new homes that respect the past and present of Oxford while improving its future by supporting our city's people and their environment.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery