IKEA's ingenious affordable housing system
By Loz Blain
April 15, 2007
April 16, 2007 Built in a quality-controlled factory, delivered and assembled in a day. The BoKlok (pronounced Boo Clook) housing concept, a partnership between property company Live Smart @ Home and Swedish furniture giant IKEA is only months away from bringing the average UK family a stylish, efficient and affordable housing option.
The first BoKlok site in the UK will be in Gateshead following the local council’s decision to sell the company a site at St James - opposite Gateshead International Stadium - and a planning application was recently approved.
Live Smart @ Home, which is part of leading non-profit affordable housing provider, Home Group, is planning to construct over 90 flats and houses to be marketed under the BoKlok brand. BoKlok - first pioneered in Scandinavia by furniture giant Ikea and construction firm Skanska - provides space-saving, functional homes offering good quality at a price which enables as many people as possible to afford a comfortable home.
The concept is based on customers’ real needs and wishes, a safe environment, roominess and access to green space. The state-of-the-art, Scandinavian-style timber framed properties will be primarily aimed at households earning between £15,000 and £35,000 a year and will be sold on an outright sale or shared ownership basis.
The BoKlok flats have a flexible open-plan layout, high ceilings and large windows, giving the apartments a light, airy and contemporary feel.
If planning permission is approved, it is expected work will start on site in early 2007 with the first flats being marketed in Ikea’s Gateshead store in the Autumn on 2007.
Alan Prole, Managing Director of Live Smart @ Home, said: “Receiving planning permission is a significant step in the process and it brings the UK’s first-ever BoKlok properties even closer to becoming a reality.
“We will now be looking to begin work on site at the earliest opportunity, with a view to marketing this unique and affordable properties to local people in the autumn.
"Using state-of-the-art construction methods, these homes will be like nothing else seen before in the UK and will play an important role in helping first-time buyers who have until now been unable to get on the property ladder due to the spiralling costs of buying a house.”
Councillor David Napier, Gateshead’s Cabinet member responsible for Housing, said: “This is an exciting development and one that makes an important contribution to the debate on affordable housing.
“These homes are cleverly designed, highly energy-efficient and they look fantastic, so I don’t think there will be any shortage of potential buyers in Gateshead.”
Ikea and Skanska started BoKlok, pronounced ‘Boo Clook’, in the mid-1990s to address the need for affordable properties in Sweden and to provide people with high quality properties at a low price.
BoKlok homes are very cleverly designed around factory processes that enable them to be far more efficiently constructed in quality-controlled conditions than would be possible through traditional construction methods.
They are constructed using a highly insulated closed panel system developed by Pace Timber Systems, of Milton Keynes, with a range of cladding systems.
They come with a host of additional features as standard, such as extra height rooms to give a feeling of space, wooden flooring throughout, fitted kitchens and free interior design advice from Ikea, as well as an Ikea furniture voucher.
The homes will be built by Live Smart @ Home using Milton Keynes-based construction managers Avebury International, and they meet and exceed all current UK building regulations, as well as being designed to be energy efficient.