US-based modular building specialist, Volumetric Building Companies (VBC), has announced plans to expand to the UK and open an offsite manufacturing facility.
VBC says it is on track to become a $1bn (£840m) modular construction company over the next three years and is now targeting the UK build-to-rent, affordable housing, student accommodation, and hotel sectors.
This follows VBC’s merger with Polish modular manufacturer Polcom earlier this year to extend its reach into Europe, and strategic acquisitions which include purchasing the assets of bankrupt modular firm Katerra.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, VBC is one of the world’s largest modular businesses and focuses on steel-framed modular and timber construction technologies.
VBC uses a technology-enabled Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) approach to deliver offsite building solutions in half the time, it says.
The firm also manufactures components in-house, such as bathrooms and cabinets for kitchens and bedrooms, which gives it “complete control and security of supply for fixtures, fittings and finishes from design to manufacture, installation and handover.”
Andy Smith, UK director at VBC, elaborated: “Residential – both build-to-rent and affordable housing – is one of the fastest growing segments of the offsite sector, driven by the high cost of private rental, the lack of affordable housing, and changing demographics.
“There is a critical need to increase the housing stock in high density urban areas and to radically improve the productivity of UK construction.
“We now have a dedicated management team in place in the UK and there are plans to have an offsite manufacturing facility for VBC here, in addition to our existing and extensive modular production resources in mainland Europe.”
“Our aim in the next three years is to secure a strong order pipeline in our target sectors in the UK – student accommodation, build-to-rent, affordable housing, defence, custodial, and hotels – and to raise the profile of VBC here, ahead of our expansion into Western Europe.
“We’re are already in advanced discussions with a number of hotel groups, private developers, major contractors, and social housing providers.”
Vaughan Buckley, CEO at VBC, added: “VBC is set to become the leading provider of optimised, cost-effective, sustainable solutions for modular buildings around the world.
“We have tremendous capabilities in the engineering and delivery of advanced modular solutions and buildings which are fully finished and even furnished offsite.
“Having technology-led production facilities on multiple continents, we are now well placed to drive change, transform construction, and address the housing crisis in the UK, Europe, US, and globally.”
VBC now has over 500 employees and more than 1.25m sq.ft of manufacturing space in the US and Europe.
Image: VBC’s offsite factory in Europe (credit: VBC)
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