Investor seeks delivery partners as it hires former Shard pre-construction director Ian Eggers

The first prototypes from investor Legal & General’s mammoth modular housing factory in Yorkshire are set to roll off the production line within weeks, Building has learned.

Two cross-laminated timber homes - one three-bed, the other five-bed - are set to be produced, each coming in ready-to-assemble sections like giant pieces of Ikea furniture.

One well-placed source told Building the prototypes could be produced as early as this month, but another gave a more cautious estimate of by the end of this year.

The prototypes are a key milestone in the investor’s plans to ultimately deliver around 3,000 low-cost modular homes a year to help solve the UK’s housing crisis.

The news comes after communities secretary Sajid Javid, speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham this week, trumpeted the potential of modular technology to help deliver one million homes by 2020.

It has also emerged that Ian Eggers, the former Mace director who led the company’s early work on the Shard, has joined Legal & General (L&G) to help lead delivery of its modular homes programme.

Eggers, who has the job title of integration director, is sounding out housing associations and housebuilders as potential delivery partners for modular homes arm L&G Homes.

In a comment piece for L&G written over the summer, Eggers wrote: “L&G Homes is keen to shake up the UK housing market. We hope that housing providers join us on the journey to build more and better homes.”

One industry source familiar with L&G Homes’ plans said: “L&G has two hats – it’s both an investor and on the other hand manufacturer of a product [a modular home]. It’s still working out the delivery bit, but the housebuilder could be the meat in the sandwich.”

Eggers led early work on the Shard at Mace, before a four-year spell at construction manager Rise. He left last May after Rise said there was “a basic divergence regarding the future direction of the business” with his fellow co-founders Bob White and Gareth Stapleton.

L&G bought a giant warehouse (pictured) in Selby, near Leeds, in spring this year and has been steadily fitting it out for production of modular homes.

The first units will go to L&G’s planned development in Crowthorne, Berkshire.

It has kept a low profile about L&G Homes’ progress, but it was recently reported in the Times newspaper that its modular housing plans had fallen six months behind. L&G had hoped to produce the first prototypes back in June.

Last month the Times cited delays to delivery and installation of manufacturing equipment and an over-ambitious timetable as reasons for the timetable slip.

L&G declined to comment.