McCarthy & Stone turns to steel frame systems to cut costs

CGI of McCarthy & Stone’s Hexham development, which is its first to use Sigmat’s light gauge steel framing

The deal will see Sigmat roll out its light gauge steel framing (LGSF) products across five McCarthy & Stone’s sites by the end of October 2021, totalling more than 200 units.

It is expected that by 2025 roughly a quarter of McCarthy & Stone’s developments will be built using LGSF, equating to approximately 400 units a year, the company said.

The adoption of LGSF represents part of the new strategy, announced in September 2018, of “increasing affordability by designing communities with new construction techniques such as off-site manufacturing” – another way of saying offering cheaper apartments for less well-off seniors to widen its market.

McCarthy & Stone said that using light gauge steel frames also had the potential to improve energy efficiency and cut development times by up to half.

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It said that it was looking to increase its proportion of off-site development by adopting other parts of Sigmat’s design elements, including its ready glazed window options.

McCarthy & Stone chief executive John Tonkiss said: “I am delighted that we are working with Sigmat who are one of the UK’s most innovative and quality driven manufacturers. Their team share our commitment to embracing MMC and can help us deliver high-quality retirement communities that push the boundaries of what consumers expect while cutting energy bills, waste and construction times. The government has prioritised off-site manufacturing in recognition that we need different solutions to the housing crisis. We are responding to this with a serious, long-term commitment that will be a win-win for investors, policy makers and, above all our customers.”

The first McCarthy & Stone development being supplied by Sigmat is in Hexham, Northumberland. This 48-apartment development is expected to be completed in September 2021.

Sigmat chief operating officer Marcus Wood said: “This is a hugely exciting collaboration for both McCarthy & Stone and Sigmat. We have been working closely with the team at McCarthy & Stone over the last two years and we are delighted to be selected to help support their push in modern method of construction over the next five years. The retirement living sector is one of many ideal applications of the Sigmat system due to the eco-friendly, flexible and dynamic nature. This investment in both the McCarthy & Stone build expertise, Sigmat modern method of construction and the partnering style will set new standards in delivering retirement living portfolios. Moving away from the more traditional ‘one off’ project construction methods and relationships into a more integrated and long-term solution across the portfolio making incremental improvements, lessons learnt and standardisation over time.”

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