McCarthy Stone, the UK’s leading developer and manager of retirement communities, has confirmed that 40 new retirement developments will be built in full using modern methods of construction (MMC), with the business now aiming for 50% of its future retirement communities to be built in this way.
The announcement is part of McCarthy Stone’s commitment to building high-quality, energy-efficient, and affordable retirements communities. This drive supports the Government’s agenda to deliver more supportive housing for older people and provide greener and more affordable homeownership options, all of which are significantly undersupplied in the UK.
The MMC solution will be provided in partnership with Leeds-based Sigmat using its industry-leading, eco-friendly, and dynamic Light Gauge Steel Framing (LGSF) off-site structural solution. The landmark partnership was signed with Sigmat in December 2020 and the first joint scheme completed in 2021 at McCarthy Stone’s Hewson Court in Hexham, Northumbria.
McCarthy Stone and Sigmat have also this month been awarded an NHBC Accepts Accreditation for their unique apartment system using LGSF. This will enable fast-tracking of benefits for customers including improved environmental performance and reduced impact from construction work on communities.
The announcement will help McCarthy Stone fast-track the delivery of even more housing for older people. The business is one of the first retirement community developers to begin the delivery of housing built off-site, and the only one to be delivering it nationally at scale.
John Tonkiss, CEO of McCarthy Stone said: “MMC is game-changing. Sigmat’s unique solution will further increase our build quality, control our costs, and most importantly, build more energy-efficient and greener communities. This announcement paves the way to a more cost-efficient and sustainable future, and our long term aim is now to build 50% of all our new retirement communities in this way. The new NHBC accreditation also adds further assurance and certainty.”
McCarthy Stone’s MMC plan supports the Government’s Heat and Building Strategy to reduce carbon emissions, with each new retirement community built using MMC seeing an improvement in building performance, (fuel usage and thermal transmittance), in comparison to those built using traditional methods.
The announcement follows the successful opening of McCarthy Stone’s first MMC retirement community in Hexham, Northumberland which was opened by then Construction Minister, Ann-Marie Trevelyan MP last year. It reduced typical build times by 15%, and future schemes are expected to reduce by 25%.
Construction Minister Lee Rowley MP said: “I am pleased to see McCarthy Stone will be expanding their commitment to deliver more retirement housing using modern methods of construction. Their cleaner and cheaper construction method is helping the UK meet its net zero targets while also providing high-quality housing for our ageing population.”
Five new sites will start in 2022 using MMC, rising to 10 in 2023 and then 25 in 2024. From this point, the company aims for 50% of its sites to be built wholly using MMC, up from the company’s previous aim of 25%. The sites to start in 2022 include developments in Broadstairs, Stratford-on-Avon, Warminster and West Bridgford.
Paul Smith, Managing Director of Sigmat commented: “This is a hugely exciting collaboration for both McCarthy Stone and Sigmat. We are delighted to have been selected as McCarthy Stone's LGSF partner of choice on their journey to fully embrace MMC and the benefits it brings. By partnering with McCarthy Stone we are committed to setting new standards in delivering retirement living portfolios, providing NHBC-approved quality structures, manufactured offsite at our Leeds manufacturing facility for the UK retirement market."
NHBC Senior Technical Services Manager Richard Lankshear added: “We are delighted to welcome the McCarthy Stone MMC system to NHBC Accepts. McCarthy Stone are one of the first developers to obtain this certification in collaboration with the UK’s largest LGSF supplier and we know from feedback that once a product is given the NHBC Accepts green light that this creates confidence in the quality, long-term durability and traceability. We actively assess construction quality both on-site and off-site to verify that each product is suitable and acceptable to meet the standards set to obtain our ten-year NHBC Buildmark warranty.”
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