It is understood that Ove Arup’s head of technology, John Miles, approached large housing associations, including North British Housing Corporation and Peabody Trust, after failing to interest private housebuilders.
Ove Arup associate John Lyle said the firm had discussed the system with both Peabody and North British, but denied that the strategy was dictated by the fact that private housebuilders had snubbed it.
He said: “We’ve been talking to housing associations because the system is applicable to both sectors. We are not merely targeting opportunities that exist within the private housing sector.”
But Lyle conceded that the most lucrative market for the system was with the private sector and that Ove Arup ideally wanted to focus on it.
Sources close to the project said the modules could be built on site for only £30/ft2. According to the sources, Ove Arup first courted the private sector as it was felt housing associations would not have enough volume to reap the cost savings of the system. After meeting a cool reception, the firm is now looking to social housing providers to launch a high-profile demonstration project.