Hope Rise

Zero-carbon homes that are improving lives and local communities.

Last updated: 1st November 2021

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Innovation Lead: Debansu Das

Website:
zedpods.com/


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Summary

 The Hope Rise development has shown what's possible when manufacturing processes are combined with the latest low-carbon technology and materials to solve the affordable housing shortage. ZED PODS has reimagined social homes with Bristol City Council and built eleven sustainable, beautifully-designed apartments on top of a working car park. These net zero modular houses can be designed, produced and constructed in half the time of traditional builds and with minimal disruption to local communities. They now provide safe and sustainable spaces for young people and families who were at risk of homelessness.

Innovation type: Energy, Kit of parts, Offsite
Organisation type: Housebuilder, Innovative SME, Social housing provider

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Project pioneers

ZED PODS develops innovative, energy-positive modular homes that can be built on constrained sites, like car parks, flood zones, infills, garages, rooftops, or regeneration sites. It specialises in building these new homes above existing car parks whilst retaining the parking spaces underneath.

The problem

Providing enough affordable housing remains a fundamental issue for local authorities. Traditional builds with housing developers are not delivering the numbers needed to meet demand, seeing more and more people living in temporary accommodation. The UK is in urgent need of a new affordable housing solution that can also help deliver more energy efficient homes and be net zero by 2050.

Vision

Hope Rise is the first affordable, net-zero housing development of its kind in the UK. Built using offsite Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), the apartments sit above the Chalks Road car park near St George Park in Bristol. These 11 energy-efficient, self-contained homes have already become  permanent living spaces for young vulnerable people at risk of homelessness. The project was completed in December 2020 and residents moved in during January 2021. The schemes are permanent, long-lasting buildings with a 60-year BOPAS assurance and new build warranty. The development is also designed to increase tenant interaction and neighbourliness. These apartments are not just roofs over people's heads but well-designed, sustainable homes for people who need them the most.

Following an international Open Call, Hope Rise is among the 17 exemplary sustainable projects selected to feature in Build Better Now, a virtual reality (VR) online exhibition demonstrating the opportunities for tackling the Climate Emergency and limiting the environmental impact of the buildings and cities we inhabit. Build Better Now will act as a global call for climate action and is supported by a coalition of over 100 partner organisations from the built environment industry.

Key Insight

Mobilised by the shortage of social homes in Bristol, ZED PODS began designing affordable housing made of quality materials using offsite volumetric construction. Its aim was to create well-designed housing at the lowest cost and with the lowest possible carbon footprint and, in doing so, embed whole life value into the social housing market. It was a demo unit display at a trade exhibition that prompted Bristol City Council and Bristol YMCA to approach ZED PODS and discuss a possible partnership to try and solve challenges they were facing around building affordable housing in a constrained site - in this case above a local car park - for vulnerable young people leaving the care system who were at risk of homelessness.

First step

ZED PODS was chosen by Bristol City Council as the only provider which could deliver energy- efficient units and help them create a sustainable development in an affordable way. To demonstrate  confidence in its own product and design, ZED PODS undertook the planning process at its own risk and incurred all the costs for external consultants and time for its in-house design team. The success of the Hope Rise project also depended on engagement from the community and key stakeholders. So the newly formed collaboration of Bristol City Council, Bristol YMCA and ZED PODS used the Bristol Housing Festival to allow potential residents and members of the community to experience a full-size demo unit. The consultation helped to remove many myths about the quality of MMC and any local concerns resident had, such as the loss of parking spaces. The consultation process also resulted in a local street artist winning a competition to draw a mural at one of the gable ends of the development.

Barrier

Zed Pods has proven that using modern methods of contraction to develop constrained sites like car parks is simply possible and a better alternative to traditional building methods most commonly used in social housing. Modular housing like ZED PODS, uses offsite manufacturing processes, which helps keep the costs down and opens the way for more efficient, precise builds that last for the long term. Precision engineered homes create less waste, are more sustainable and meet the energy needs of residents.

Process innovation

ZED PODS use volumetric offsite manufacturing technology to create cost-effective, eco-friendly, affordable housing solutions. The modular homes are built offsite and then transported to the location where they are erected on steel frame stilts. Hope Rise used two build systems – Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and steel frames which is a rare combination in the MMC sector. Each apartment has its own independent structure with no structural  bridging elements between each other. This ensures the same robust party wall construction performance for acoustics and fire, as found in conventional timber frame construction. Using CLT however means 90% of the building work is completed in the factory and the precision cut  walls and floors are then transported flat packed to the site which is efficient and reduces carbon emissions. All modules must meet strict quality standards before leaving the factory. Using MMC in this way means that any problems or errors can be identified and corrected before the houses arrive at the worksite, and so defects are minimised. As part of sustainable construction, there is no use of toxic  materials, urea-based insulation systems. ZED PODS use low VOC paints and adhesives. Sites that are tricky to build on or constrained in spaces, like car parks, can lead to expensive, time-consuming builds. Added to that car parks are often vital community services and need to stay in operation. The use of MMC on the Hope Rise development meant that the homes could be built on the steel frames in around 5 days and the car park could stay operational with minimal disruption for  local people and businesses. The Hope Rise development was built using the latest renewable technologies. The homes have been optimised for energy efficiency, with PV panels to generate electricity in the day, quiet running heat pumps for low energy heating, controlled ventilation which recovers usable heat from inside the building whilst bringing in fresh air, triple glazing, LED lighting and energy efficient appliances. These  in-home measures are combined with onsite renewable energy generation in the form of photovoltaic  panels and solar assisted heat pumps.

Digital Innovation

BIM is at the core of ZED PODS design and build. Drawing on a grid-based methodology, the designs can be flexed around the site and the space, the user needs and potential impact to the local  environment. The assets created in BIM include documentation, graphical model and non-graphical assets. Graphical models are linked with schedules, contracts and reports to create a golden thread of data and information. This leads to higher quality documentation and better collaboration between project members, so that mistakes are reduced and duplication avoided. Using BIM this way saves time and money, reduces rework in complex projects, improves productivity, increases accuracy, helps teams make better decisions faster and improve the quality of  the final builds.

Whole life innovation

Despite sitting on top of a car park, the development itself will be car free with secure bicycle storage fitted in place as a direct response to community feedback, and the challenge of a sustainable transport future. ZED PODS is undertaking a post-occupancy study using fund from Innovate UK to substantiate the performance of the homes for residents and the local communities. The findings will not only benefit residents and end users, but other MMC manufacturers as well. The ongoing data capture will help deliver continual improvement in quality and cost, take learning through from one project to the next and provide best value for the client. While that research is underway, residents testimonials on the scheme show high level of satisfaction. One resident has fed back: "ZED PODS are not only a very practical way of trying to help tackle the housing crisis and giving more to communities. They give pride to the people that live  in them. I feel proud that the house I live in not only looks both breathtaking on the outside but beautiful on the inside."

Collaborators

ZED PODS led the development project. It made sure that contractors were local to the development and shared similar social values. Working with Bristol City Council, ZED PODS trialed the social value measurement matrix (TOMS) from its Social Value Policy. Bristol City Council and the Bristol Housing Festival helped with the public engagement drive, while Bristol YMCA helped to shape the community aspect of this development. The ZED PODS were developed and tested at the BRE in Watford.

  • BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials
  • Bristol City Council
  • Bristol Housing Festival
  • Bristol YMCA
  • ZED PODS

Lead support

Transforming Construction and Innovate UK is funding post-occupancy research to capture data on resident and community satisfaction, as well as sustainability and energy efficiency data as the homes are now lived in.

Long Term Vision

The Hope Rise development has created a real-world example of the benefits of MMC and offsite manufacturing, as well as carbon-reducing technologies. It has helped shine a light on a new way to design and build social housing that is quick, low-cost and sustainable - and importantly delivers well-designed homes that suit the needs of those living in them and the local communities that surround them. Judges at the _Inside Housing Development Awards 2019 _said: “This is a compelling idea. Itʼs an innovative model that provides affordable and low-carbon housing, and has the potential to be rolled out in numerous areas of the country.”

Human Stories

This development has residents, local communities and our environment at its heart. It has been designed with user-needs in mind, draws on low-carbon, energy-efficient technologies, and has been developed in consultation with local communities to minimise disruption and maximise benefits. It has helped house some of Bristol's most vulnerable young people and also provided employment and skills opportunities for local workers and businesses, including the recruitment of two community builders to look after the new residents. According to the Bristol Housing Festival: "This scheme will be truly innovative, a first for the city and of its kind in the UK. This innovative development will rethink existing land use in central Bristol and help solve the housing crisis, while at the same time providing beautiful, low carbon housing.” Sam Lindo, a resident said: “Itʼs very hard to get a house in Bristol, and these are beautiful. Young people are at risk of homelessness and the new residents are thrilled to have a place. If we use technology and land intelligently and provide one person with a house, then they can contribute to society in the future”. Another resident has said: “I have lived in a ZED PODS home for over a month now and I still have to stop to appreciate how nice of a house I have at such a young age. I was nervous about moving in so close to Christmas because of winter and most people I know when they first move in it's always cold. However, the homes are really warm and don't take long to heat up." Julia Clapp, Bristol YMCA chaplain, says: “Home for many of us is something we take for granted, but  itʼs not a given for everyone. The response from the Hope Rise residents has highlighted to me the need for more housing like this, housing that feels like home.”

Powerful Processes

The inception of the partnership between ZED PODS, Bristol City Council, Bristol YMCA and the Bristol Housing Festival gave momentum to the Hope Rise project and allowed future residents and communities to see a real life demonstration of the housing units. The development uses two build systems – Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and steel frames which is a rare combination in the MMC sector. Using CLT means 90% of the building work can be completed in the factory and the precision cut walls and floors are then transported flat packed to the site which is efficient and reduces carbon emissions. And all modules must meet strict quality standards before leaving the factory, so that defects are minimised. The use of MMC on the Hope Rise development meant that the homes could be built on the steel frames in around 5 days with minimal disruption for local people and businesses. The Hope Rise development was built using the latest renewable technologies such as PV panels, heat pumps, controlled ventilation, triple glazing, LED lighting and energy efficient appliances.

Fascinating Facts

Construction of ZED PODS is around 50% faster compared to traditional construction projects. 90% of the build is completed in the factory requiring minimal onsite work. The steel frame on a raised platform was installed in only 5 days for this Bristol project. CLT weighs 30% less and offers a similar reduction in the cost and carbon impact of the support structure and foundations. The homes show a 90% energy performance improvement over building regulations. The project achieved a net zero carbon rating in SAP, with as-designed and as-built SAP ratings exceeding 100 (A-rating). ZEDPODS exceed both the BOPAS and ISO 9001 requirements. Clients can call-off direct awards for ZED PODS designed solution and turnkey package delivery using the LHC NH2 procurement  framework  and NHS SBS framework. The project was shortlisted for an award by Dubai Trade Show, and enquiries are coming in from  Ireland to USA, from European countries to Australia. Following an international Open Call, Hope Rise is among the 17 exemplary sustainable projects selected to feature in Build Better Now, a virtual reality (VR) online exhibition demonstrating the opportunities for tackling the Climate Emergency and limiting the environmental impact of the buildings and cities we inhabit. Build Better Now will act as a global call for climate action and is supported by a coalition of over 100 partner organisations from the built environment industry.

Benefits

Active Energy
The Hope Rise development is built on the principle of a fabric-first approach combined with renewable technologies. Each self-contained home uses solar panels to generate renewable electricity in the day; quiet-running heat pumps; controlled Passive Haus-approved ventilation to remove stale air and recover at least 80% usable heat; and LED lighting. They also have super- insulated walls and roofs, and airtight construction (achieving 1.3 ACH50 pascals test pressure). The building fabric is further optimised using offsite fabrication including the efficient fitting of triple glazing and external walls, ceilings and floors to achieve high level of air tightness and low heat loss. The homes show a 90% improvement over building regulations.

Assurance
The project achieved a net zero carbon rating in SAP, with as-designed and as-built SAP ratings exceeding 100 (A-rating), and exceeded both the BOPAS and ISO 9001 requirements. All structural walls and components achieve 60-minutes fire ratings and comply with Part B of the building regulations and fire safety plan. Non-combustible fireproof soffit board is also used to prevent fire spreading from a car to the homes.

Cost
ZED PODS modular solution decouples land and building costs by building affordable homes on existing car parks, garages and hard standings. The Hope Rise development reduced land cost and meant Bristol City Council still has the option of receiving car park revenue. The early completion of the scheme means that the residents were able to move in quickly saving substantial money for the local authority to house them on alternate accommodations.

Diversity
Hope Rise has been designed to be inclusive in both its provision of homes for young vulnerable people from all sections of society, as well as improve tenant welfare and create strong neighbourhoods. The way in which these homes were allocated to tenants was fundamental to the vision for this new development, and for Bristol City Council as innovative an approach as the modular construction itself. This was the first time that Council housing in Bristol had been allocated to Community Builders (individuals recruited by the YMCA to a voluntary community-cohesion role). Last year several young local people were recruited to stay at Hope Rise and play the role of community builders to help the young residents in areas like team-leadership, communication, problem-solving and taking their first steps into independent living.

Investment
ZED PODS is receiving enquiries from Ireland to USA, from European countries to Australia. Following an international Open Call, Hope Rise is among the 17 exemplary sustainable projects selected to feature in Build Better Now, a virtual reality (VR) online exhibition demonstrating the opportunities for tackling the Climate Emergency and limiting the environmental impact of the buildings and cities we inhabit. Build Better Now will act as a global call for climate action and is supported by a coalition of over 100 partner organisations from the built environment industry.

Productivity
Rapid build process was achieved by undertaking substantial amount of the build in the factory requiring minimal onsite work. The foundations took 4 days, rather than weeks. Steel works for the raised platform was done in only 5 days for this Bristol project. Once the modules were delivered to site, the need for heavy construction vehicles is also minimised, meaning there was little disruption for local people. The scheme offers almost instant high-quality, ultra-low energy housing without the land and site issues  associated with conventional new builds or the onsite disruption. And 100% of the car parking spaces have been retained and can continue to be used by people visiting the nearby park and local shops. It's worth noting that the Covid-19 pandemic created many barriers to onsite and offsite works. Ground investigations initially had to be postponed as the two person rig did not comply with social  distancing. As a result, ZED PODS had to source a single person rig which was more costly, but meant the ground investigations could be complete. The overall cost impact was minor and the benefit of reducing further delays, while operating within the COVID-19 policy, was more beneficial to the project.

Regional Balance
ZED PODS led the development project and made sure that contractors were local to the development and shared similar social values.  

Time
The BIM-enabled design and MMC processes help reduce human errors at the design stage, minimising any need for rework later on. This design and manufacturing efficiency means the construction time was around 50% faster compared to traditional construction projects, saving weeks of disruption for local community.