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The competition

HOUSING

THE DESIGN for Manufacture Competition was launched in April 2005 by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. It was a challenge to the house-building sector to create sustainable, well-designed, goodquality homes at a construction cost of £60,000.

In total, the competition is set to create around 1,100 new homes over 10 sites.

On each site, a minimum of 30 per cent of the housing units will be built to a target cost of £60,000. The remainder are larger and smaller units that will be built at an equivalent cost-efficiency.

The sites are mix of sale and rental homes and around a third are for first-time buyers under a shared equity scheme.

A ll homes of £60,000 had to be designed with a minimum floor space of 76.5 sq m .

The competition brief included a requirement to achieve English Partnerships' policy standard of BREEAM EcoHomes 'Very Good', or an appropriate equivalent in the Code for Sustainable Buildings.

So far, six consortia have won nine sites. Just one site, Merton, is still in bidding phase.

SixtyK Consortium Sites: Renny Lodge, Newport Pagnall and Linton Hospital, Maidstone, Kent.

Lead member: Crest Nicholson Architect: Sheppard Robson RSLs: William Sutton and Town and Country HA Key supply chain partner: Kingspan Century The SixtyK Consortium showed off its £60,000 house prototype at the Building Centre in London last month. On show was an end-of-terrace house (see cover picture).

For the competition, Sheppa rd Robson has designed six varieties of three or two-bedroom houses for the £60,000 price tag, and a total of 35 types in all.

The house is constructed from Kingspan's TEK building system, which consists of structural insulated panels.

'It took three days to put the frame of the prototype together to make it watertight, ' says Sheppard Robson project director A lan Shingler.

Sustainability is a key feature of the design. The house is oriented so that northeast facing windows are pushed forward to get as much sun as possible, while those facing south are pulled back and covered with a balcony. A lantern at the heart of the house lets natural light flood from the upper to lower levels.

There is also a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system, which distributes warm air round the house in winter and cold air in the summer.

Barratt Developments plc Sites: Upton, Northampton Allerton Bywater, Leeds Lead member: Barratt Developments Architect: HTA RSL: Midsummer Housing Main supply chain partner: Advance Housing Advanced Housing, a joint venture between Barratt and modular specialist Terrapin, is manufacturing a steel-frame hybrid system using closed panel technology complete with windows, doors, first fix M&E services and internal lining. Bathroom and kitchen pods are also used.

The Countryside Consortium Site: Horns Cross, Dartford Lead member: Countryside Properties with Hyde Housing Association Architect: PCKO RSL: Hyde Housing Association Supply chain partners: BUMA, The Homes Factory Countryside is using two systems ? BUMA's volumetric light-gauge steel frame system, sourced from Poland, which can be erected in a day, and timber-frame system from the Homes Factory, which takes roughly two weeks to erect, but can be made watertight in roughly four days.

'One advantage of using the BUMA volumetric system, ' says PCKO director Andrew Ogorzalek, 'is that you can achieve a higher floor space for the same cost.

'The product is also considerably more robust. It has to be st rong enough to be lifted and transported.'

George Wimpey Site: Oxley Park, Milton Keynes Lead member: George Wimpey Architect: Richard Rogers Partnership RSL: Paradigm Housing Association Main supply chain partner: Wood Newton, Derby 'We're using an advanced timber-f rame system from Wood Newton, based in Derby, ' says Graeme Dodds, business development manager with George Wimpey.

'We've selected a closed panel system which has some windows installed, but no doors.

'Working with Richard Rogers Partnership has been really eye opening for both parties. They challenged our design principles. There was also the challenge of using different technologies.' The houses incorporate an 'eco-hat' which is craned onto the top of the house.

'At its most basic, it holds the M&E systems. At its most advanced, it incorporates things like photovoltaic panels.

We were told that this was one of the main reasons we won our bid, ' says Mr Dodds.

William Verry Sites: Former TA site, Aylesbury Vale and School Road, Hastings Lead member: William Verry Architects: make and Radley House RSL: to be announced Main supply chain partner: WeberHaus of Germany William Verry is using the WeberHaus panellised timber frame and walling system, which incorporates f loor and roof panels, in contrasting ways on its two plots.

The Hastings plot is on the side of a deep valley. Because it is surrounded by Victor ian terraces, Verry is building a mews-style development. At Aylesbury, the same system is being constructed into a terrace which curves like a snake, more in tune with the industrial landscape nearby. The shells can be erected and made watertight in a day, but the system does not use pods.

Persimmon (formerly Westbury Homes) Site: Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke Architect: Broadway Malyan RSL: Sovereign Housing Group Main supply chain partner: Space4 The site will be using Space4 advanced timber-frame panel system. Space4 is now a wholly owned susbsidiary of Persimmon, af ter it took over Westbury Homes last year.

'Our approach is different to volumetric methods, ' says Patrick Dormon, managing director of Space4. 'We build to order, but our system is not restricted to a couple of house types. We have a portfolio of designs and the houses look less conventional.'