A window into modular homes

Three million new homes must be built in England over the next 20 years to solve its housing crisis, a report by housing charity Shelter says. Companies manufacturing new-builds in factories possess the ability to speed up the delivery of high-quality, sustainable new housing across the UK.

Ilke Homes, which manufactures up to 2,000 factory-built homes a year, turned to Euramax to provide energy-efficient windows and doors for its housing schemes.

Modular construction is the method of manufacturing parts of a building, also known as modules, off site in a controlled, factory environment. The modules are then transported to the construction site where they are assembled to form the final build.

Based in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, Ilke Homes manufactures up to 2,000 modular homes every year for local authorities, housing associations, developers and private investors. The company can produce a home in just 15 days, with four modules coming off the production line each day.

Ilke Homes’ goal is to deliver precision-engineered homes with minimal environmental impact, and has developed its own production process, which cuts waste by 90% and saves residents up to 50% in energy, with homes costing just £1 a day to heat.

The factory-controlled production environment eliminates factors that can often impede construction projects, such as disruption from weather conditions. Control also improves quality, and Ilke Homes’ modules undergo stringent quality checks at various stages along the production line to ensure the completed components reach their assembly site without defects.

To produce its homes to the highest quality and without delays, Ilke Homes needed to work with a reliable window and door manufacturer that could integrate into the production line.

Rachel Kaye, procurement manager at Ilke Homes, said: “We were eager to source a local supplier to help keep our carbon footprint low. That’s when we discovered Euramax, which already supplied its windows and doors to offsite construction projects.

“Euramax supplies PVCU windows and patio doors to seven of the nine house models we manufacture.

“While the window profiles are all similar, the final product we install always depends on customer requirements and house type. For instance, some of our schemes need acoustic or light reflecting glazing, whereas others require bespoke coloured window frames.”

In its first year of working with Ilke Homes, Euramax supplied windows and doors for 12 of its housing schemes. Each with different requirements.

“Safety is a critical factor, and our technical team works to meet the safety requirements for modular homes, which include ensuring each habitable room has a fire escape,” Richard Banks, commercial director at Euramax, said. “We also make certain that all window sizes and apertures, whether a top hung or drop window, remain the same.”

Euramax products are Secured by Design (SBD) certified, and the company ensures its delivery process reflects Ilke Homes’ requirements for quality control and carbon reduction.

“Euramax delivers all its products in stillages, which has numerous advantages for Ilke Homes,” Kaye said. “Firstly, the stillages protect the products during transportation, minimising the risk of damage. The stillages also eliminate unnecessary plastic waste, reducing our environmental impact.”

Euramax manufactures A rated double glazed windows and doors.

“Installing certified energy efficient products is vital for Ilke Homes as it allows us to produce homes that contribute to the reduction of emissions the built environment produces,” Kaye said. “While modular construction has a lower environmental impact than onsite construction, we must do all we can to encourage an eco-friendlier industry.”

To further boost the efficiency of deliveries and installation for Ilke Homes, Euramax provides module identification numbers (MINs) for each stillage. The identification numbers are specific to the windows and doors for each house and module type, ensuring that the products are installed without hassle.

With high outputs and an emphasis on delivering quality, communication between everyone in the modular supply chain is vital to success. From regular monthly meetings to consistent input from Euramax’s technical team, the communication between the two companies has allowed Ilke Homes to continue producing homes without fault.

Euramax has also delivered installation training to guide Ilke Homes’ assembly team on the factory floor.

“Ilke Homes are receptive, open and accommodating to ideas from Euramax,” Richard said. “This has made it easy for us to work together, developing specific products and constantly improving efficiency on both sides, which is what a partnership is all about.

“While the UK is boosting its efforts to increase modular construction, it’s evident more must be done to deliver sustainable, affordable housing. Euramax is invested in supporting Ilke Homes, and looks forward to continuing this partnership and helping meet this vital demand.”