Building Live: Housebuilder boss says first modular prototype will be produced by February

Crest Nicholson plans to build up to 2,000 modular homes a year, its chief executive Stephen Stone has revealed.

Speaking to Building editor Sarah Richardson at the Building Live conference in London, Stone revealed the housebuilder will build a prototype home in February, with a view to a wider roll-out within the next decade.

He said: “We think we can get to 1-2,000 [modular] homes a year. In 10 years’ time, most of the current workforce will retire, we’re not getting enough apprentices in… so we’re going to prepare ourselves for it.”

Stone said Crest Nicholson deliberately chose February for the prototype home “as it will be wet and cold and we want to see how it will operate in the UK.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Stone also revealed the housebuilder updated investors in the City last week with a new growth target. By 2019, Crest Nicholson is now targeting 30% growth and plans to increase its output from 3,000 to 4,000 homes a year.

Stone said the firm plans to embark on a recruitment drive to achieve its growth target and added: “Even with Brexit we’re feeling excited about investing in land and people.”

Commenting on Crest Nicholson’s succession plan after its chief financial officer became the company’s new chief operating officer this month, Stone said he has no plans to retire any time soon.

He said: “It’s a question of sharing my experience with someone else to bring them on in due course. It’s all part of succession in the medium-term. There’s life in the old dog yet!”