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Modular house builder secures council framework appointment

Lewes District Council has appointed Boutique Modern to a four-year framework agreement to deliver hundreds of council homes across the district and more widely in East and West Sussex. The announcement follows a competitive tendering process and establishes a framework that other councils in East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove can take advantage of.

Founded in 2009, Boutique Modern specialises in high-quality, sustainably built, affordable housing that is manufactured offsite at its factory in Newhaven before the completed homes are transported and installed on-site, reducing the impact on the environmental and build-time of developments, ensuring quality and certainty of cost.

With 46 employees, 21 of whom live in the Lewes district, Boutique Modern works closely with local employment and training organisations as well as having a developed local supply chain.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: "Building more council homes that are sustainable and so much cheaper and greener to run is at the top of our agenda, as well as our determination to use council resources to create jobs locally and to support the district's economy. This new framework is set to generate a multitude of employment and development opportunities for local people and local companies.

"There is no doubt that it is very significant milestone for the district, that I believe will define a new and exciting era of council house building."

Boutique Modern is currently the only certified B corporation in the UK modular construction industry - B corporations are businesses all over the world that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.

Dick Shone, Managing Director of Boutique Modern, said: "We're delighted to have won this contract from a very competitive field of established and well-respected companies. The framework allows local authorities across Sussex to radically reduce the time and cost of housing procurement and offers guaranteed service levels, best value pricing and faster project completion.

"We can now build on the great work we've already done over recent years and further accelerate delivery and improve the quality of affordable homes for residents in Sussex."

Framework agreements speed up the process for appointing a contractor and save significant costs by not repeatedly going through a lengthy tendering process. Additionally for Lewes District Council it underpins the Co-operative Alliance's determination to partner with local businesses that employ local people, support local supply chains and utilise modern methods of construction.

Councillor William Meyer, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "This is the latest of many steps taken by the Co-operative Alliance to find ways to help address the acute shortage of genuinely affordable council homes. "We currently have 129 council properties either moving through the planning process, under construction or recently completed with local families living in them, and the prospect that this agreement will accelerate the development of many more, is hugely exciting.

"Boutique Modern has demonstrated a real commitment and belief in the same values that underpin the council's focus on community wealth building and so I'm delighted we are partners on our mission to deliver more homes in the district."