FIVE hundred homes in east London are set to be built using timber frame construction methods under a £6 million deal.
Oxfordshire-based timber frame manufacturer Stewart Milne Timber Systems has teamed up with house builder Bellway Homes to develop a former oil refinery site on Harford Street in Stepney.
The massive scheme will see a range of homes, including apartments and houses built for key workers and, according to Stewart Milne sales director Christine Jones, is the UK's largest timber frame order.
She said: 'Apart from being the largest order for timber frame in the UK, it is also the largest for key worker accommodation.'
Housing associations will rent the homes, with some becoming available on a shared ownership basis.
The deal underlines the growing acceptance of timber frame construction methods.
Bellway revealed that it would be monitoring the Stepney site closely and could turn to timber frame for its future production.
A spokesman said: 'Timber frame construction has advanced to new levels in terms of technology and environmental considerations. Offsite production reduces builders' exposure to construction delays. The progress at Stepney could be our business template for the future.' The project is expected to take 18 months to complete.