So how much does it cost to build an affordable home? One definition is provided by English Partnerships and ODPM in their previous Design for Manufacture competition, a nationwide initiative whose first winners were announced at the end of 2005. It was launched in April 2005 by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, to address the major increases in construction costs in recent years. The houses had to demonstrate efficiency, quality and high performance for under £60K construction costs (excluding the cost of land). Of the 10 sites allocated for the competition, 2 are in greater London.

The first winning scheme to be announced for a project in the London area was within the Thames Gateway Growth area at Horn’s Cross on the site of the former Greenhithe Territorial Army Centre. The Consortium proposed 37 new dwellings on the 0.54 hectare site, 13 of which were in the £60K category. The proposed house-type married together space, light and flexible living in an innovative interpretation of the typical terraced house. The consortium achieved a large 88 sq m house within the £60,000 cost target. Each home is entered via an impressive double-height glazed galleried atrium space that creates a heart to the home and acts as both circulation space and light source. The consortium proposed to use two different systems for their construction – a volumetric light gauged steel frame, clad externally with either render-finished insulated OSB board or metal cladding and a timber-frame system that evolved from North American house construction.

Developer: Countryside Properties plc with Hyde Housing Association Ltd

Architect: PCKO

Main Supply Chain Partners: BUMA Free-dom SA The Homes Factory