One of the UK’s largest housing associations is in talks with a contractor and materials supplier with a view to building 5,000 zero-carbon homes a year.

David Cowans, chief executive of Places for People (PfP), which manages 60,000 homes, said he was in talks with a construction company “in the pure contracting way” and a “supply-chain supplier” over a joint venture.

He refused to say which firms were being lined up but a spokesperson said it would be announced in spring. Cowans said PfP’s had committed itself to expanding the organisation to build 5,000 homes a year by 2016, compared with 1,700 now.