August 15, 2007 Work has now begun on the first BoKlok "flat-pack housing" development at St James Village in Gateshead, UK. Previewed in Gizmag in May this year, the project aimed at delivering fast, affordable, energy efficient and stylish housing has just moved into its construction phase.
The housing system called "BoKlok" (pronounced Boo Clook) was developed by innovative furniture specialists IKEA and property company Live Smart @ Home in an effort to deliver fast, affordable housing. The stylish and efficient factory-fabricated family homes offer space and flexibility to low income families.
The Gateshead development team is currently preparing the UK site for the first BoKlok properties to be delivered and assembled in October or November this year. This includes clearing land and putting in the infrastructure needed to support a housing development, such as mains services and roads.
The first development phase will include 36 flats with a further 84 two and three-bedroom houses to follow. This is an exciting time for both potential residents and the companies involved in the project. "Starting work at St James brings the UK’s first-ever BoKlok properties even closer to becoming a reality", said Alan Prole, Managing Director of Live Smart @ Home. "We will be working as quickly as possible to get the site ready for the homes to come on site in the autumn with a view to the first properties being ready to move into in January 2008."
Not surprisingly there has been a lot of interest from those wanting to take up residence once development in complete. The properties are aimed at households earning between £15,000 and £35,000 per year and will be sold on an outright sale or shared ownership basis. These stylish timber designs are a far cry from the dreary council housing that has traditionally been the home of households in this wage bracket.
Prole believes that providing affordable homes is the "Holy Grail for local councils and housing providers - but it is still one of the most difficult things to achieve. We believe BoKlok could offer a new and viable solution to the problem of providing affordable homes and reinvigorating local communities."
The houses and flats which can be assembled in as little as a day are not only a blessing for councils and potential home buyers but the environment also. They meet and exceed all current UK building regulations, as well as being designed to have an excellent eco-homes rating.