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Japan’s biggest housebuilder invests £22m in Urban Splash’s modular arm


A major joint venture between Japan’s biggest housebuilder, the UK government and developer Urban Splash is set to deliver thousands of modular homes across the UK

Sekisui House, which is one of the world’s biggest housebuilders and a modular housing pioneer, is taking part in a £55 million investment in Urban Splash’s modular arm, House, in a deal announced this morning (14 May)

The venture has been described as ‘a significant boost’ to the UK’s modular housing industry which will speed up delivery of homes built using modern methods of construction (MMC).

Sekisui House has invested £22 million of new equity, with £30 million of equity and debt funding coming from the government’s Home Building Fund, administered through Homes England.

Noel McKee, founder of car dealer We Buy Any Car, has also made a sizeable investment in the new partnership and will take an incremental 5 per cent stake.

Sekisui House president Yoshihiro Nakai said the deal would help create ‘outstanding communities’ in the UK and building high-quality homes with short build times was one of the company’s ‘great strengths’.

He added: ‘Our technology and know-how can help resolve pressing social issues in the UK, and I want to see us play our part effective immediately. These operations can also help bring vitality to UK regions, and we will work to make the strongest connections with the local communities.’

Housing minister Kit Malthouse welcomed the arrival of the firm, saying: ‘Sekisui House bring with them a proven track record in harnessing the modern methods of construction that are transforming home-building.

‘Backed by government investment, today’s announcement will support our urgent mission to deliver more, better and faster home construction to ensure a new generation can realise the dream of home ownership.’

Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham said the developer had chosen Sekisui House because of its ‘unrivalled global experience in modular construction’ and shared values and philosophy that ‘we are making homes not units’.

He added: ‘We are incredibly excited about the accelerated production of much-needed homes and evolving traditional practices as we embrace the benefits of innovative offsite construction.’

Earlier this year Liverpool and London-based practice ShedKM unveiled its proposals for Urban Splash’s modular ‘kit of parts’ scheme in Manchester, due for completion this summer.


Readers' comments (6)

  • Hopefully they will have taken on board all the comments made in February, the last time this pre fab Town was featured in the Daily News? The small workspaces, pubs etc that are needed to create a vibrant and sustainable community.

    And does it have to be so grey and black? Call me old fashioned, but the villages of Cambridgeshire are a sandy colour, and suited to the northern light and freezing north winds?! The fences, decks and lawns provide a more suitable palette?

    We buy any house.com?

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  • "Government employs large company to solve problems instead of encouraging more self build / challenging local companies to step up" - everyone else does it effectively; smaller building companies are more agile and can change to the growing needs (inc environmental needs) of the market. What is this British obsession with employing huge companies to reap profits while not solving the problems?!?!

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  • Until the Modularists can produce attractive and varied buildings that are cheaper and quicker to erect than site assembled timber frame homes then it seems to me that a ton of money is going to be lost.

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  • Yes I agree we need to grow this sector but why go foreign when there are already UK based manufacturers? I hope Sekisui House will be investing in a UK based factory and will look to employing local labour and contributing to training and apprenticeships in the UK. Or have the government's HomesEngland and UrbanSplash overlooked this?

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Absolutely right on supporting smaller builders -that's what the Homes England's cashflow funding was supposed to be doing.

    If they aren't manufacturing in UK, why do they get internal funding. We need UK-owned businesses to grow -and then sell abroad.
    Sounds like typical government easily-seduced by foreign marketing. We've had that for decades, then they disappear when the taxation or interest rates change against them.

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  • Dismal !
    It might need a plot for the local Psychiatrist.........with space for the inevitable long queues...........
    Imagine that as a 3rd year design proposal...........I've seen better ripped of the studio wall !
    Appalling !

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