On the invitation to accompany Mike Wilkins and Rehan Rehman of ZEDPods , WS’s Louise Leaver and Ruby Giblin, (MMC enthusiasts!) visited the old Yellow pages factory in Knaresborough to meet with Dave Sheridan, the CEO of ilke Homes who set up the factory in 2018. Flush with a £30m grant from Homes England, to be payable in 2 tranches, ilke Homes are now equipped to increase yearly production of modular homes from 300 to 2,000 homes a year, and propel the construction industry into the 21st Century.
Kitted up with hard hats and sturdy boots expecting the full factory experience, Dave gave us the tour around a warm, well-lit, frankly enormous space, where up to 800 employees on shifts put together, (car assembly style), the various standardised bridge-friendly modules to load up and deliver by road throughout the country.
Dave explained that the grant funding has allowed them to spend some £2m on new equipment that will cut down production time, for example, from 2 days per wall to 17 minutes with all the obvious benefits. ilke Homes should see a substantial payback following this investment after some two and a half years with jobs for the 140 apprentices currently in training (with lego blocks and meccano to start!) and new orders to follow on from the 500 new homes currently in the pipeline. Having bombarded Dave with a multitude of questions raised by RPs and lenders around mortgageability, maintenance and longevity, we left Knaresborough with impressions of how different the factory was from our initial expectations, and how housing could soon be truly revolutionised.