One of the UK’s biggest housing associations, Places for People, has announced a GBP100-million joint venture to deliver modular homes.

Billed as the largest deal yet for Britain’s modular housing sector, it heralds new and modern methods of construction, which could be emulated in South Africa. Places for People will buy 750 units from ilke Homes, including 500 for sites it already owns and 250 for new schemes to build affordable and market-priced housing.

David Cowans, chief executive of Places for People, says, “This is just the start for offsite manufacturing and as placemakers, we are going to invest even more in modular. We will implement efficient processes and new design techniques which not only raise the bar for the industry but crucially, give people across the country affordable homes to live in.

“Our partnership is about pioneering a new way of delivering homes and disrupting the market through making socially-responsible decisions and working with best-in-class partners to improve quality, speed up housing delivery and minimise environmental impact.”

Dave Sheridan, executive chairman at ilke Homes, says a mature modular market could create an ‘Uber moment for construction’ – after the ride-hailing app – by speeding up delivery and cutting costs.

Last July, Places for People was awarded a grant from Homes England to deliver 2 603 homes. The agency forged partnerships with eight housing associations in all.

Yorkshire-based ilke Homes was established by British builder Keepmoat Homes and uses the expertise of modular specialist Algeco Group.