A British expat who lives and works in France has claimed that a house building system developed by his company could help solve the affordable housing problem plaguing Scotland.
Stuart Phipp’s grandfather was born in Dallas, Moray, before the family moved south of the border, after which he was raised in Norfolk.
After completing his studies, he set out to explore Europe, eventually settling in France, where one of his jobs was to bridge the language gap to help British buyers find their dream property.
Today, 32 years later, he owns his own construction company in Brittany, specializing in social access to property.
This system allows first-time buyers to get out of social housing via a government loan, part of which is interest-free over a period of 25 years, much like a mortgage. The biggest difference is that if they are in financial difficulty, help can be offered before it becomes a much bigger problem.
However, it is the actual building concept that Phipp says could help solve the affordable housing shortage in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.
He told The National: “About two years ago I wanted to change our construction method to meet strict new regulations and went hunting all over France.
“I ended up joining a Cannes company which, like me, has 30 years of experience in the construction industry, and obtained authorization to sell their concept initially in Morbihan. [the administrative region of Brittany]. I now cover all of Brittany for the domestic market and all of France for foreign buyers.
“We recently launched a new concept ‘Pacific Houses’, where we deliver the house airtight and watertight at a fraction of the price of a traditional new build.
“The lack of good social housing in the UK is an ongoing debate and I thought our concept would be of interest to the relevant authorities.”
He said their factory was designed to produce a house every hour and could operate 24/7 if needed.
The houses are built around steel frames driven into piles. Their exterior is fiber cement cladding and a membrane guaranteed for 50 years. The polyurethane is then sprayed inside, between it and the inside of the plasterboard.
“They are made in such a way that the whole house is delivered at once, either by truck or by container,” said Phipp.
“Their roofs can be flat or sloped and with slate or tile.”
He said a four-bedroom house of this type typically costs around €40,000 (£33,200).
However, Phipp said the cost would be significantly reduced if a mass number was made.
Apart from the low initial cost, the houses are also helping the environment, as well as the pockets of the buyers, by using a heat pump for central heating and hot water, which is around €30 (£25 ) per month for a three to four bedroom home.
Phipp added: ‘We haven’t done a lot of marketing other than emailing various housing authorities in the UK, but we hope to go further and hopefully get the chance to present it to some of them. .”