China’s largest building firm has agreed a £1.1bn deal with a UK energy firm to build thousands of zero-carbon affordable homes across the UK.
The deal will see China National Building Materials and WElink Energy initially commit £800m as part of a strategic framework that will see 8,000 affordable homes delivered in the next five years.
The houses will be built under the Barcelona Housing System (BHS), a system of offsite manufacturing pioneered by architects Cesar Martinell & Associates that develops affordable homes with zero water usage and zero waste.
The first 4,000 units are set to be delivered between 2016 and 2018; a further 4,000 units will follow, although a start date has not yet been given for the second tranche of work.
It is expected that the planned locations for the projects will be announced next week.
The developments will include roof-top solar panels as well as energy-from-waste facilities and storage technologies, among other low-carbon systems. There are also plans to build offsite factories near to the developments with the aim of boosting local employment.
The UK partnership between WElink and CNBM comes after the pair worked together to deliver more than 30,000 BHS homes in Spain, Croatia and Chile.
WElink is a renewable firm that specialises in the development, financing and construction of solar PV. CNBM is said to be the largest building group in China.
WElink CEO Barry O’Neill said: “Given the priority the UK government has placed on clean energy and affordable zero-carbon housing, we are proud to present this decisive solution for the UK.
“[With] the scalability of our BHS solution and the near zero-energy buildings that are constructed, in combination with the engineering, financial and strategic support of our Chinese partners, we believe we can expand rapidly to fulfil the appetite for the development of affordable housing in the UK”
CNBM chairman Song Zhiping said: “WElink has been our trusted partner for the last five years and we are delighted to sign this strategic framework as a milestone for our rapid expansion in the UK and internationally in renewable energy and affordable housing.”