Greencore Construction has been awarded Highly Commended in the Product Innovation category at this year’s Structural Timber Awards.
The awards, which took place on 10 October at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, saw the Oxford-based housebuilder recognised for its Biond Construction System, which Greencore uses to build all its homes.
The Biond system is an offsite, closed-panel timber frame construction process and incorporates high-performance, natural insulation materials to deliver low ongoing energy requirements for homeowners.
The system has been scrutinised, tested and improved by a three-year EU eco-innovation programme led by the University of Bath, which was completed in August 2016.
Ian Pritchett, managing director of Greencore Construction, says:
“During thermal performance testing, the Biond Construction System has shown that it can outperform brick and block construction by almost 400%. What’s more, we estimate that we’ve saved 420 tonnes of CO² through the use of natural materials in the 12 superstructures we built in 2016.
“We’re extremely proud to have been recognised for these achievements at this year’s Structural Timber Awards.”
A straight-talking new guide on the true cost of self-build projects has been published by Oxford-based housebuilder Greencore Construction.
Aimed at helping all aspiring self-builders who have already secured a plot of land, the guide sets out the five most important aspects of costing a project, provides a detailed breakdown of costs for a range of house sizes, and gives advice on how to achieve the holy grail of cost certainty through good design.
Ian Pritchett, managing director of Greencore Construction, says:
“We often get asked about how much it really costs to build a house. Not the under-estimated quote that most self-builders get at the start of a project to hook them in, but the real cost including good quality kitchens and bathrooms, external works like patio and planting, and everything else bar the curtains.
“Unfortunately, it’s common practice for many builders to underbid to win the project, but then make their money on costly alterations to the design later in the process. In contrast at Greencore, when a clear specification has been agreed, we can offer a fixed price guarantee on most of our projects.
“That’s why we are publishing the real costs for everyone to see. Once the design is done we can quote an accurate fixed price, and we strongly believe that having the right design from the beginning is the key to a successful self-build. Cost certainty is what all self-build customers want and deserve.”
Free advice for self-builders
The free guide also provides advice on procurement routes and project management, and on how to prioritise the most important elements of a building in the budgeting process.
A chart then provides typical build costs for a high performance, comfortable and sustainable home built to premium quality by Greencore in the Oxfordshire area. Costs are typically about £1,800 per square metre, which means about £180,000 for a typical 2-3 bed home, not including design fees and any abnormal site-specific costs.
Greencore Construction specialises in helping self-builders and small developers in Oxfordshire build high performance, low carbon buildings using natural materials. These homes are designed to provide better health at home, thanks to improved indoor air quality and living comfort, and significant environmental and energy-saving benefits.
Greencore Construction has signed a design and build contract to deliver three new eco homes at Marcham, near Abingdon, for local developer Oxford Advanced Living.
The three new homes will all be built using Greencore’s proprietary Biond system of offsite timber frame construction, and will target a negative carbon footprint and very low ongoing energy requirement.
Advanced technology for high energy efficiency
Due to go on sale early in 2018, the new homes at Walnut Mews on Mill Road, Marcham include a pair of three-bedroom semi-detached homes in grounds, plus a single two-bed house with a beautiful stone frontage on the former site of an old workshop.
The homes will all be built using Greencore’s proprietary Biond system of offsite timber frame construction, a highly environmentally sustainable system which has been tested and monitored in an international research project by the University of Bath.
They will feature high performance technologies and materials, designed to maximise health, comfort and economy for the homeowners.
Ian Pritchett, managing director of Greencore Construction, said:
“The Marcham site is just the first of several new eco home developments that we will be progressing over the next six months. Passivhaus design principles will allow us to build extremely low energy homes which we know are much in demand in Oxfordshire and which will fit sensitively into this historic village.”
Greencore specialises in helping small developers and self-builders in Oxfordshire build high performance, low carbon buildings using natural materials. These homes are designed to provide better health at home, thanks to improved indoor air quality and living comfort, and significant environmental and energy-saving benefits.
For further details on Walnut Mews, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Greencore Construction was pleased to add its name to a list of signatories in response to the government’s Industrial Strategy consultation.
The letter was sent to government on behalf of a group of organisations, companies and individuals engaged in the UK bioeconomy.
Read the full letter to government below.
Dear Industrial Strategy Team,
This is a response to the government’s Industrial Strategy consultation from a group of organisations and individuals engaged in the UK bioeconomy.
In our view, development of a viable and competitive UK bioeconomy can contribute to a wide range of strategic Government objectives, bringing benefits to the economy, environment and society alike. These can be broadly summarised as:
• Improving economic competitiveness through the development of innovative high value added products, combining natural diversity with the UK’s world class science and technology base to generate new business and high skilled jobs
• Benefiting the environment and human health by helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change, cutting waste and pollution, helping biodiversity and contributing to resource efficiency, particularly by reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and encouraging circular economy friendly models.
• Producing wider social benefits by stimulating rural and urban economies, to establish globally competitive industries, providing improved employment opportunities and increased consumer choice.
We hope that Government takes account of the views from emerging technologies and new value chains and will take this opportunity to announce a series of commitments towards building a sustainable bioeconomy.
We call on you to take a lead in delivering the following general commitments:
1. Create a cross government bioeconomy team to reduce regulatory barriers (Pillar 10). This will require a holistic, forward thinking approach and will need to address areas of tension and conflict. It will also enable government to consider further the role low carbon renewable materials can play in meeting GHG reduction targets. We see the need for agreement across Government to address these key opportunities and priorities instead of the current fragmented approach.
2. Encourage inward investment in smart materials through tax benefits: (Pillar 6,7) as stated on page 15 of the green paper ‘we have not been as successful at commercialisation and development as we have been at basic research’. A review of the EIS , especially in the light of changes to state aid rules that will arise from Brexit, could make the UK as attractive to invest in as the USA. This will create an opportunity for the UK to accelerate development of smart materials from biobased feedstocks which are multi-functional and have viable end of life solutions.
3. Use our existing resources better by driving innovation (Pillars 1, 5, 8) Sustainable use of resources requires innovation and fresh approaches. Development of sustainable yet high value products and support for regional/ local bio based supply chains is needed.
For example, identification and development of new protein sources and products for the human and animal food chain will have the added benefit of improving health and wellness, creating new technologies and reducing reliance on less sustainable imported material. This will allow the sector to build on current expertise in agriculture, food, industrial biotechnology, processing, engineering, nutrition and consumer acceptability.
Innovation funding calls need to be wider and less specific to capture all areas of the bioeconomy. The recipients need to be more diverse as we are aiming for global products.
4. Support a government biobased procurement policy (Pillar 5). Government could stimulate market pull through reviewing procurement and introducing criteria like whole life cycle evaluation to assess the optimal end of life options for products used by government departments. It will also stimulate business models that will support the bioeconomy/circular economy (for example if different companies need to work together to be able to access each other’s waste streams).
Commitments such as these will not only send a clear message about the UK’s commitment to the bioeconomy at home, but will demonstrate the level of UK ambition to the Commonwealth and other future trading partners and inward investors.
List of signatories
A number of measures have been outlined in the government’s Housing White Paper which could make life easier for custom and self-builders, local authorities and developers.
The policy paper, which was released in February, sets out the government’s plans to reform the housing market and boost the supply of new homes in England. It highlights the simple fact that not enough homes are being built. It also suggests that greater opportunities should be given to those who are willing and able to make a difference.
PM Theresa May said: “We will diversify the housing market, opening it up to smaller builders and those who embrace innovative and efficient measures.”
However, a healthy dose of realism is also present in the paper. It states that the number of new homes registered by small builders is down from 44,000 in 2007 to just 18,000 in 2015 – a direct result of the credit crisis and the shrinkage in the population of small builders.
In response, the government has again indicated strong support for the custom and self-build market, with a commitment to promote the National Custom and Self Build Association’s (NaCSBA) Right to Build portal.
Greencore Construction’s managing director, Ian Pritchett, commented: “Clearly this slow-down in housebuilding will take years to reverse. It’s not helped by the fact that many small builders have now retired and will not come back into the industry. Skills and experience have been lost and will not be replaced quickly.
“It’s vital that those involved in the custom build market do their bit to promote and support positive change. We have links to the Right to Build portal on Greencore’s website and are also exploring how best we can support self-builders and custom builders at development projects such as Graven Hill in Oxfordshire.”
The paper also suggests that support will be given to housing associations to encourage them to build more.
“This is great news for housing associations,” said Ian. “Greencore is keen to work with housing associations in Oxfordshire and the surrounding area to develop new sites in sustainable and cost-effective ways.”
Oxfordshire building firm, Greencore Construction, is hosting a free housebuilding workshop during Oxford Green Week in June.
Greencore will give no-obligation advice to self-builders and custom-builders during the workshop, which is being held at Oxford Brookes University between 1pm and 4pm on 21 June.Book your free place at the workshop
The workshop will cover the basics behind building your own dream home. From the plans and initial designs to the build phase through to completion, it will give you an honest insight into the time, effort and costs involved and tips on how to achieve your visions avoiding common mistakes.
The session is ideal for anyone who has thought about building their own home, but hasn’t done anything about it yet.
Anyone interested in attending the workshop is advised to book a ticket quickly as there are only 50 spaces available. Interested parties should be aware parking is not available on campus but is available at Thornhill Park and Ride. It is also possible to cycle (including by Oxonbike) or walk.
See behind the scenes at a self-build home
Following the workshop, Greencore will open the doors to one of its self-build properties in the local area. This rare opportunity will give visitors a real sense of what can be achieved through self-build. This house is in the final build stages and visitors will be able to hear about the process first-hand from those who have been involved.
Attendance at this part of the event is by invitation only, and for those who are serious about doing a self-build project. The number of visitors will be limited to just 10 people. If you’d like to take part in the open house event, please register your interest using the contact form below. A member of the Greencore team will be in touch with you shortly.
Register your interest in our open house event
2016 was a record year for the Oxfordshire firm, as demand for its build offsite, hemp-lime panelised homes continues to soar.
Martin Pike, Greencore’s chairman, said: “We made great progress in 2016. Our factory team built 12 superstructures, and we delivered and erected eight at various sites across Oxfordshire.
“This marks a significant increase in output compared with 2015 and shows how quickly the market for offsite, low-carbon house construction is growing.”
2016 also saw two of Greencore’s exemplar properties become home to delighted buyers.
Greencore home owner Dominic Newland said: “The comfort factor in our new home is just amazing. Even in November the house maintained a steady 23 degrees – without the heating on!”
He added: “The house is built to such a high standard. In fact, our surveyor said, ‘All houses should be built like this’.”
On the low-carbon benefits of Greencore’s output last year, Martin said: “Compared to building with traditional brick and block, we estimate that we’ve saved 420 tonnes of CO2 through the use of natural materials in the 12 superstructures we built last year.
“Of course, those units will also deliver CO2 savings in the region of 40 tons per year through their low energy requirements – a saving that will continue for many years to come.”
In 2016 Greencore also completed its collaborative research project with Bath University.
The project, which aims to gather data on the performance of hemp-lime panels compared with other forms of building materials, will have its findings published as part of a full report in summer 2017.
Greencore already has a strong pipeline for 2017 and is actively considering how best to scale up its activity.
On Greencore’s growing business, Martin said: “With a continuing housing shortage in Oxfordshire and across the UK, the need to improve energy performance, and the importance of reducing CO2 emissions, our business is well placed to deliver against the strong market demand.