Innovative housing solution launches in County Durham

Innovative housing solution launches in County Durham

A company that converts disused garage sites into affordable new homes has been hailed a success after delivering its first prototype in County Durham.

The company behind the concept, HUSK, aims to completely redefine, redesign and revitalise sites into much needed modern affordable one and two bedroom homes – in as little as 12 weeks.

The patent-pending concept sees offsite manufactured houses built and then transported onto site converting the existing garages into new affordable dwellings.

North East and Yorkshire-based Karbon Homes is the first housing association to trial the new innovation at three of its garage sites in County Durham. HUSK has converted unwanted lock-up garages into two-bedroomed homes.

The company’s portfolio includes five highly insulated house types providing solutions for a terrace of garages ranging from 50m² up to 70m² into a single space. Each airtight one or two-bedroom home includes a kitchen and bathroom, living and dining space, garden and driveway.

The shell of the garage is retained and the terrace of garages are then remodelled to create a single space and restructured to comply with building regulations.

The houses are built to laser-measured dimensions to fit precisely within the shell. The units are manufactured in two halves at the offsite fabricator and then transported to site on low loaders. A crane lowers in the contemporary design bungalow and the home is then joined together by skilled specialist contractors.

Russell Edwards, managing director for HUSK said, “The solution not only overcomes an array of planning issues but we can transform a former garage site within 12 weeks from start on site to completion.

“Our innovative patent-pending solution reuses brownfield sites that are previously undevelopable. It satisfies a number of local authority policies by reusing brownfield sites, increases the provision of affordable housing, omits the maintenance headache of looking after existing garage blocks and regenerates existing housing estates which meets the needs of the National Planning Policy Framework.

“At present, housing associations are demolishing infill garage sites as they are unable to be developed using traditional methods thus leaving a baron patch of land.

“The first homes have just been successfully delivered at three garage sites on behalf of Karbon Homes in County Durham and we are really pleased with the results. We are currently in discussions with a number of local authorities and housing providers across the country to explore how we can deliver a HUSK solution in their areas."

Michael Farr, development director at Karbon Homes, said: “Garage sites can be difficult to develop, so this is a really innovative solution which we were excited to explore. For a two-bedroom home, it’s a good size and the amount of insultation will ensure running costs are kept low. The residents who have moved into these new homes have been very complimentary.”