Sigmat and McCarthy Stone agree major partnership to deliver new retirement communities using eco-friendly and dynamic modern method of construction

9th December 2020

Leeds-based Sigmat have agreed a major new partnership with McCarthy Stone, the UK’s leading developer and manager of retirement communities, to use Sigmat’s unique modern method of construction (MMC).

Following a detailed selection process, Sigmat secured the framework as the Partner of Choice based on the merits of its industry-leading, eco-friendly and dynamic Light Gauge Steel Framing (LGSF) off-site structural solution. The landmark deal will see Sigmat roll out its LGSF solution across five of McCarthy Stone’s sites in FY21, totalling more than 200 units. It is expected that this solution will become c.25% of McCarthy Stone’s total output within five years, equating to c.400 units a year. 

The partnership will see McCarthy Stone become one of the first national retirement community developers to back the Government’s agenda of increasing housing built off-site. McCarthy Stone is also one of only a handful of volume developers to make a major commitment to this type of manufacturing.

The plans have the potential to improve energy efficiency, compared with a traditional UK home and cut development times by up to half. The framework agreement will also help fast-track the delivery of housing for older people which, despite the rapidly ageing population, is currently undersupplied across the UK. 

McCarthy Stone is looking to increase its proportion of off-site development by embracing other parts of Sigmat’s innovative design elements, including its pre-glazed window options.

The key benefits of homes manufactured in the Sigmat Light Gauge Steel Frame system include:

  • Reduced build times, risks, and increased project management control
  • Construction times cut by up to 50% because work can be streamlined and employees can be more productive
  • Eco-friendly with high proportion of recycled materials
  • Dynamic and flexible application, ideal for the modern retirement market
  • Increased levels of build quality thanks to the consistency and control achieved in factories compared with working on construction sites 
  • Ongoing research and development
  • All homes backed by the same NHBC Build Mark warranty that traditional homes offer, ensuring they are fully mortgageable and insurable
  • Vital investment in UK productivity, innovation and skills by creating new employment that can tackle skills shortages in construction and engineering

John Tonkiss, CEO of McCarthy Stone, 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 move into off-site manufacturing is one of three key strands of McCarthy Stone’s new strategy, announced in September 2018, to leverage the long-term opportunities in the retirement community sector. They include:

  • Increasing customer choice by launching a range of multi-tenure options
  • Increasing flexibility by launching new care and support services to better support its customers
  • Increasing affordability by designing communities with new construction techniques such as off-site manufacturing. As part of this, new contemporary and open plan apartment types have also been developed to increase mass-market appeal.

Work has already started on the team’s first collaborative scheme in Hexham, Northumberland. The 48 apartment development is expected to be completed in September 2021.

Mark Eburne, CEO of Sigmat commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with McCarthy Stone to help them embrace modern methods of construction by providing Sigmat light gauge steel panelised structural frames, including floors and walls. The Sigmat team have started on-site for our first project together in Hexham, and we anticipate more projects to commence within the following 12 months. By partnering with McCarthy Stone we are committed to providing quality superstructures, manufactured off-site at our Leeds manufacturing facility for the UK retirement market.” 

Sigmat’s Chief Operating Officer Marcus Wood also commented: “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.”

Like this article? Subscribe to receive our weekly newsletter!