Work starts on first modular home bound for innovative research project

June 22nd, 2018 in Home Group News

Gateshead Innovation Village project team

A home destined for Tyne and Wear is being brought to life in a Yorkshire factory as work on an innovative housing research project gets underway.

Gateshead Innovation Village, a live research project led by Home Group, one of the UK’s biggest providers of homes for sale and affordable rent, will see a range of house designs take shape on the one site. Working with an external research partner, the scheme will allow Home Group and its partners to robustly compare and contrast modern methods of construction.

The project aims to highlight potential and viable solutions to the housing crisis in a bid to grow confidence in off-site builds within the sector.

ilke Homes, a British modular homes business specialising in the latest off-site manufacturing techniques, has started work on the first modular volumetric unit that will be delivered to the Gateshead site in just ten weeks’ time.

In contrast to the traditional ‘start on site’ launch, key stakeholders from Home Group, funding partner Homes England and development partner ENGIE, joined colleagues at ilke Homes for a sneak preview of its new factory where work has begun just this week,

Joy Whinnerah, Head of Delivery, Home Group said: “We’re all incredibly excited about this project as it will see a wide range of homes and construction methods being tried and tested together on the one site.

“Not only that, but we are really keen to understand what our customers like and don’t like about living in these types of homes. So we will be monitoring a range of aspects to check how these homes perform for the customers who live in them.”

As well as instilling confidence in the sector to build at scale using modern methods of construction, the project aims to tackle negative public perceptions based around modular homes.

Joy added: “We recently commissioned YouGov to carry out research into public perceptions of modular homes. We found that only around 50% of respondents said they would be happy to live in a modular home, however, almost 90% could not identify a modern modular product. This shows that whilst perceptions are low, they are not based on reality.”

With that in mind, Home Group is planning to use a wide range of communications tools and digital technologies to allow the public to go behind the scenes of modular builds and see with their own eyes what’s involved.

Bjorn Conway, CEO, ilke Homes said: “Visitors to Gateshead Innovation Village will be blown away by the high quality of our homes, which we will install in just one day. Using the latest offsite manufacturing techniques, we supply developers, local authorities and RPs with homes which are attractive, energy efficient and designed with real families in mind. We are proud to partner with Home Group to create sustainable communities, bringing additional housing capacity to help solve the housing crisis.”   

Andrew McIntosh, regional managing director for ENGIE, said: “Not only is this unique project creating a step change for the way in which people view modular homes, but it is allowing us the opportunity to upskill the next generation of industry trainees, apprentices and graduates on modern methods of construction. In doing this, we are not only supporting to change perceptions which could lead to the provision of more homes, but we are working to alleviate the skills crisis we face within the sector.”

Neil Graham, Head of Accelerated Delivery, Yorkshire, North East and The Humber, Homes England, said: “In addition to ilke Homes, Home Group is also working with Premier Modular, Xella UK and Icarus Light Steel Framing. There will also be six traditionally built, semi-detached homes on site. All homes will be for affordable rent and residents will have the opportunity to trial and test a wide range of smart technology products and green energy solutions.”

Photo credit: Tim Green

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2076 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 21st March 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Notes to editors

About Home Group Limited

  • Home Group is one of the UK’s largest providers of homes for sale and affordable rent, and a leader in long-term integrated housing, health and care. Our mission is “to build homes, independence and aspirations.”
  • We are a social enterprise and a charity (Charitable Community Benefit Society No. 22981R) with a turnover of over £350m.
  • Home Group was named Landlord of the Year (Registered Social) 2016 in Property Week’s RESI Awards, North East Contact Centre of the Year (u250 seats) at the National CCMA Awards and won Best Urban Regeneration Project at the 2017 First Time Buyer Awards.
  • We house more than 120,000 people a year in 55,000 homes across 200 local authority areas in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • We work with almost 30,000 vulnerable people through 500+ supported housing, justice and health services each year.

Find us on Twitter:

About Homes England

Homes England is the new housing delivery organisation that has been created to adopt a more commercial approach to respond to the long term housing challenges facing this country. The new, expanded agency will play a far bigger role in investing in supply and intervening in the market to help deliver 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade.

Homes England will act differently from its predecessor, bringing together money, land, expertise and planning and compulsory purchase powers to accelerate the supply of new homes and address affordability issues in areas of highest demand.

For more information visit: or follow us on Twitter.


ENGIE is a leading energy and services company focused on three key activities: production and supply of energy, facilities management and regeneration. Our 17,000 employees combine these capabilities for the benefit of individuals, businesses and communities throughout the UK & Ireland.

We enable customers to embrace a lower carbon, more efficient and increasingly digital world. Our customers benefit from our energy efficient and smart building solutions, the provision of effective and innovative services, the transformation of neighbourhoods through regeneration projects, and the supply of reliable, flexible and renewable energy.

ENGIE improves lives through better living and working environments. We help to balance performance with responsibility, enabling progress in a harmonious way.

Globally, the ENGIE Group employs 150,000 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €65 billion in 2017.

For further information, please visit

About ilke Homes

ilke Homes is a British modular homes business specialising in the latest off-site manufacturing techniques. With a focus on inspiring design, ilke Homes builds beautiful, energy-efficient homes with real families in mind, quickly and more efficiently than traditionally-built properties. In partnership with housing associations, developers and registered providers, ilke Homes is set up to operate at scale to deliver 2,000 modular homes a year from its Yorkshire factory, to tackle the UK’s chronic shortage of housing.

Find out more about ilke Homes at, on Twiter @ilkehomes or LinkedIn lkehomes