The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has cut sod on its first housing development in nearly 25 years.
The scheme will see six semi-detached dwellings built at Sunningdale Gardens, North Belfast by construction company, GEDA
Part of a new build pilot, the six homes will be built using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and ultra-low energy building techniques, to Passive House standard.
NIHE Chief Executive, Grainia Long said: “We are excited to see work begin on these modern homes which we hope will offer a blueprint for the future of social housing.
“We are not just building new homes for our tenants for the first time in a generation. We are building future-proofed homes that will be constructed to a standard beyond that of current building regulations in Northern Ireland.
“Making sure our tenants have homes that are safe, warm and dry is always our priority and this pilot pairs that with our commitment to reaching net zero.
“The ultra-low energy building methods being used to construct these houses will mean that our tenants benefit from improved energy efficiency and a reduction in carbon emissions, lower heating bills, savings from reduced fuel costs and more comfortable homes.
“This pilot will also give us the opportunity to explore the practicalities of returning to building homes as part of the revitalisation of our organisation.”
Construction on site will begin immediately.
Ms Long added: “We are keen for work to get underway so that people on the waiting list can benefit from these additional homes.
“It is important for us, as the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland, to influence the future of social housing and reimagine what estates and housing developments could look like.
“This scheme will help us to investigate how Modern Methods of Construction can be utilised to deliver much needed homes within a faster timeframe, to a higher level of fabric performance and explore ways to drive down costs, in comparison with traditional construction methods.”
Construction Director for GEDA, Damian Murray, welcomed the partnership with NIHE and said: “Geda Construction, as prominent social housing builders, are delighted to be involved in this pilot scheme that builds on our long-standing eco credentials.
“Bringing Passive House standards to social housing helps tackle the fuel poverty crisis and aligns perfectly with our Net Zero ambitions. We are looking forward to working with the team at NIHE and our Passive associates, Nilan.Green in making the comfortable and economic attributes of Passive House living achievable for all.”
From the Department for Communities, Director of Social Housing Paul Price said: “We’re marking the start of this a significant, and welcome, development at Sunningdale Gardens for a number of reasons. Primarily, these homes will help address the need for quality housing which exists in our society. Alongside this, these homes will be built to energy efficiency standards at a time when tackling climate change is a key strand of government policy. So what is happening here won’t just provide accommodation for those in need, it will also be more fuel efficient for the residents and have less of an environmental impact overall.”