Framespace Solutions, an offsite housing supplier, has announced plans to hire 150 more staff as it officially opens a new manufacturing facility in Longford. The company, which already employs 100 people, has invested €8m in the refurbishment of the former Cameron Willis engineering works in the midlands town, with support from Enterprise Ireland and Longford’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO).
The 120,000 sq ft facility will initially allow Framespace to deliver 550 residential units per year, with the company expecting adoption of offsite (or modular) housing to grow as housing completions rise to meet the Government’s ambitious social and affordable housing targets. Framespace plans to double output over 3 years, with a target output of c.1m sq ft by 2025, equating to in excess of 1,000 residential units.
Framespace plans to grow to over 250 staff over the next two years and is currently actively hiring for roles in design and engineering along with general operative and semi-skilled positions. Longford town has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and, consistent with its hiring strategy to date, Framespace plans to recruit as much as possible from the local area, providing continuous training and development.
The Framespace building system allows for the manufacture of high quality and environmentally sustainable buildings in a factory-controlled environment. Prefinished floor, wall, and roof panels are manufactured in the facility in Longford and then delivered to site where they can be assembled in a matter of hours. The system is certified for use in buildings up to 7 stories and can reduce onsite construction durations by as much as 40% when compared to more traditional building methods.
Framespace sees a large opportunity for growth in the Irish market given that offsite construction is less than 1% of total new residential units compared to the UK market where it consists of between 8% and 10%. With Ireland estimated to need 33,000 new homes per year out to 2030 to address the housing crisis, there is pressure to accelerate delivery, which Framespace is ideally positioned to address.
In addition to its speed, offsite housing construction benefits from a simplified supply chain and certainty of delivery. With all the major design and engineering inputs completed off-site there is a reduced dependency on ‘wet-trade’ labour and a reduction in programme delivery risk. Most importantly, Framespace provides an environmentally sustainable solution that dramatically reduces the waste produced in the construction process. All Framespace homes are design to meet NZEB and BCAR compliance.
Framespace has a strong pipeline of projects and is looking to partner with both Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) & Local Authorities as well as many private sector contractors and developers. It also has a strategic partnership with Tetrarch Capital’s housebuilding affiliate Tetrarch Homes, who are planning to use offsite housing to accelerate delivery of elements of their development pipeline.
Robert Troy TD, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, said: “Framespace is already a regionally significant company and a key stakeholder in the construction sector with strong export ambitions, and the news of its expansion in Longford is very welcome. Framespace Solutions will play a pivotal role in the delivery of the Government’s Housing for All strategy by providing a sustainable alternative to traditional forms of construction.
“Today’s announcement is hugely important to the midlands and national economy, and a testament to the vision of the Framespace team. No doubt they will continue to grow from strength to strength and I wish them every success with their impressive plans that will see the creation of 300 jobs over the next three years.”
Declan Murtagh, CEO of Framespace Solutions, said: “We all know Ireland has a housing crisis and offsite housing provides a solution that will help accelerate delivery of new homes as its adoption increases. We are proud to be opening the factory here in Longford today. The initial investment programme has provided us with the capacity to deliver over 500 new homes a year. During the next phase of our growth, we plan to add a further 150 people to our workforce with the aim of doubling our production levels by 2025. We are grateful to Enterprise Ireland, Longford County Council, the local community and our shareholders for their support and we look forward to growing our workforce here in Longford into the future.”
Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, who have invested in the company, said: “Enterprise Ireland recently launched the ‘Built To Innovate’ campaign, which is an initiative under the Government’s Housing For All plan. In that context the scope for rapid expansion of modular housing in Ireland is clear and Framespace has an excellent offering in this growing market. I would like to congratulate the company on their plans to boost employment in the Longford area and we are delighted to be here to celebrate today’s announcement.”