Production of steel-framed modular homes is now underway at a County Durham factory that is promising more than 300 jobs.

The milestone – along with the announcement of initial contracts – has been marked by CoreHaus with an official opening of its 20,000 sq ft unit on Jade Business Park, Murton, near Seaham.

A five-year plan will see CoreHaus producing around 1,000 modular homes a year, which will result in more than 300 people working across the business.

The homes will be built using what are know as ‘modern methods of construction’ (MMC) which result in high quality homes, built faster, with engineered precision and expected lower energy bills.

Since moving into its first UK manufacturing facility in County Durham, CoreHaus has been recruiting while also securing new commercial contracts.

The company – now employing 12 people, has agreed to provide modular homes to regional housebuilder Homes by Carlton at its Thorpe Thewles site and a national social enterprise charity.

CoreHaus managing director Scott Bibby explained: “The housing market remains incredibly buoyant with demand continuing to outstrip supply. There’s some extremely positive collaboration going on in the industry which will increase market share and strengthen the reputation of MMC.

“We know the housing sector wants something that’s both affordable and incorporates high-quality design within a modular frame. We are already in discussions with several regional and national housing associations interested in working with our product.

“Our light gauge steel-frame system ensures that CoreHaus can be used in both urban and rural locations with elevation treatments tailored to suit each setting, providing almost unlimited design potential. The standardised modular core means the solution can be configured for homes of almost any size.”

CoreHaus is a joint-venture company between Carlton & Co Group, the parent company behind North East based Homes by Carlton, and national social enterprise Fusion21, specialists in public procurement for the built environment.

The modular housing sector has been given a recent boost by national housing agency Homes England which is accelerating the delivery of local authority housing schemes, encouraging greater use of modern methods of construction.

Housing associations looking to sign lucrative ‘strategic partnership’ deals with Homes England to build large numbers of affordable homes will have to commit to using modern methods of construction to build out at least 25% of their pipeline.

Scott added: “Our production and designs draw on modern, technical skills and innovation.

“We have a real opportunity here to break the current mould in housebuilding and construction and achieve our vision which is to transform new build housing delivery.”

CoreHaus has also received £50,000 in a support package from the County Durham Growth Fund, which is overseen by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council.