An eye on RHPi | A regular blog from David Done, RHP’s Chief Executive

10th August 2017

Think you know modular housing? Think again... 

Last month we launched our new modular home product ‘LaunchPod’ – the first home to come out of Legal & General’s revolutionary new factory in Leeds.

This building method uses high quality materials and ensures faster construction, a more eco-friendly build and a marked development cost reduction compared with traditional builds.

The prototype of the 26sqm home sits proudly in the back garden of our offices, having arrived on the back of a lorry early one Sunday morning – a ‘mobile home’ of a different sort you could say.

A home for the forgotten

Two years ago when rent reductions were announced in the July 2015 budget, our world along with the rest of the sector, changed forever. The drive for the need to become more efficient coupled with the growing housing crisis meant we knew we had to start doing things differently, fast.

We changed how we did business and developed our digital only service RHPi. Designed to improve service whilst reduce costs RHPi is going to help us invest £250m in building new homes over the next 8 years.

These homes will continue to include those for social rent and shared ownership. But we knew to truly make a dent in the housing crisis there was another group of people we needed to target as well – the ‘intermediate market’.

We have a limited supply of all types of housing and people are priced out of the market. It’s not just keyworkers but a whole range of people earning between £20k and £45k who earn too much for social rented housing but not enough for shared ownership or privately rented homes. We’re losing a generation of Londoners who simply can’t afford to get a start in life and a place they can call home in the capital.

And that’s where LaunchPod comes in.

Small but perfectly formed

So why have we built the prototype? Firstly, the solution challenges space standards and we wanted to demonstrate that if a smaller space is well designed and well built, it can be an attractive place to call home. Secondly, we wanted to challenge some of the myths around modular housing and demonstrate that high quality new homes can be built in a factory and crucially help us deliver at scale.

As anticipated some have questioned the size – interestingly though challenges have been from people who haven’t seen the prototype yet. Visitors to the pod in fact have been overwhelmingly impressed with the clever use of space from our architects Wimshurst Pelleriti, with dedicated areas for cooking, eating, sleeping and work, as well as room to store essential items and to have visitors.

But for me the real proof that it’s a liveable space is the reaction from pretty much everyone who goes in it asking…’how do I get one?’

We’ve identified a number of sites where we think we can deliver our LaunchPod homes and are now working up full planning applications in the boroughs of Kingston and Richmond.

Watch this space (all 26sqm of it).

To find out more about LaunchPod check out this recent article in the Guardian.

David 

Back to News