McAvoy Group turns its hand to housing in £6.2m scheme for Clanmil

Launching the £6.2m Joymount scheme in Carrickfergus are (from left) Eugene Lynch, managing director of the McAvoy Group; Clare McCarty, Clanmil Housing Group chief executive; and David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation. Photo: Brian Morrison
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE Dungannon-based McAvoy Group, which for half a century has specialised in off-site construction for schools, hospitals and commercial buildings, is to undertake its first-ever residential scheme.

It will manufacture 40 new homes on the site of the former Woodside's foodstore in Carrickfergus for the Clanmil Group in what will be the first social homes in Northern Ireland delivered using off-site construction.

And the Joymount scheme will enable families to move from the housing waiting list into new homes a year earlier than through traditional site-based construction.

The £6.2 million scheme, a mix of family houses and apartments for active older people, is being built by Clanmil with the assistance of £3.1 million grant support from the Department for Communities.

The new homes, each made up of a number of steel-framed modules, will be manufactured and fully fitted-out by McAvoy in its Lisburn factory before being craned into position on site.

The modules will be delivered to the Carrickfergus site complete with kitchens, bathrooms, windows, flooring and decorated walls, ready to be brought together to create modern, high quality homes.

The McAvoy modern method of construction will reduce the build time for the Carrickfergus development by 56 weeks compared to traditional site-based building methods, delivering 40 new homes in just nine months, and the first families will move in next spring.

Clanmil chief executive Clare McCarty said: “There are currently 24,000 households in desperate need of homes across Northern Ireland. We want to help get those families off the housing waiting list and into good homes as quickly as possible.

"The rising cost of building materials and a labour skills shortage in the construction industry, compounded by uncertainty due to Brexit, makes this extremely challenging using traditional methods. That's why we have been looking at alternative ways to deliver social homes.

“We see off-site construction as the future. It could completely revolutionise house-building and we are delighted to be partnering with McAvoy Group, a Northern Ireland company well known for its experience and expertise in modular construction for other sectors, on this, its first residential project.”

Eugene Lynch, managing director of the McAvoy Group, said: “It is fantastic to see such a progressive provider of social housing as Clanmil who are looking at more innovative ways of delivering high quality homes, more quickly to address the housing shortage in Northern Ireland.

“This scheme is the first to use our new modular housing solution and successfully demonstrates its application for apartments, detached and semi-detached homes.

"It also illustrates our capabilities as principal contractor. We are not just supplying building modules to a pre-prepared site but are responsible for the full range of services for Clanmil – from preparation and clearance of this brownfield site to design, manufacture, factory fitting out, building installation, landscaping and infrastructure. We look forward to creating a much needed and vibrant new community for this area.”

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