- Lord Fink is already the company’s main investor having ploughed more than £7m into the business
- Etopia will soon begin building a demonstration home at BRE’s Watford Innovation Park
- The firm has also just completed the superstructure of the first houses in London’s only modular commuter village in Corby, Northants
Modular house builder Project Etopia’s main investor Lord Stanley Fink has joined the firm’s board as its Chairman in a declaration of intent over the future of the company.
The move signals Lord Fink’s determination to help drive the developer forward with co-founder Joseph Daniels after the firm passed a number of key milestones in recent months. So far this year Project Etopia has:
- Begun marketing homes in its modular commuter village in Corby, Northamptonshire, where this month the superstructure of the first four houses were finished in just 34 days
- Secured agreement to build a demonstration home at BRE’s Watford Innovation Park later this year
- Opened a new factory in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, with a capacity to produce 2,000 panelised homes a year
- Expanded its top team to include Lord Fink’s son, Alex, as an adviser on the company’s board
Project Etopia is the only modular homes specialist in Britain to create turn-key properties that combine passive design, affordability, renewable energy generation, intelligent heating and cooling systems, and smart home technology.
The new hands-on role for former Conservative Party Treasurer Lord Fink — until recently Chairman of investment manager ISAM Europe — will help the company achieve its growth ambitions as an off-site construction specialist.
It comes as councils and Homes England increasingly turn to modular building to boost stock levels of quality homes at drastically lower cost than traditional bricks and mortar.
Project Etopia’s houses all incorporate smart technology, mechanical ventilation, heat recovery, air purification, daylight mimicry lighting, and solar power as standard.
They are ‘passively designed’ buildings, which means they need little heating or cooling by design. Project Etopia classifies its homes as ‘Energy +’ — the firm’s own standard in passive design, combining affordability, energy generation and specialist heating and cooling systems.
The company, with headquarters in Cambridge, was founded in 2015 by Essex-based entrepreneur Daniels, who recently returned from a trade mission to India where the government is attempting to build 10million affordable homes in urban areas by 2020 as part of its Global Housing Technology Challenge.
The potential for modular homes to ease the housing crisis at home also presents a significant opportunity for the company.
Home ownership among 25 to 34-year-olds earning between £22,200 and £30,600 collapsed from 65% in 1996 to just to 27% in 2016, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)1.
ONS data predicts that the UK population will increase by 3.6 million (5.5%) in the next 10 years, reaching 70 million by 2029 and threatening to make the imbalance between housing supply and demand even more critical.
Lord Stanley Fink, Chairman of Project Etopia, commented:
“This is an important moment for the company and it won’t be long before Project Etopia is moving the first Etopia families into its homes in Corby.
“I remain utterly convinced that off-site construction will prove to be a major part of the solution to the housing shortage in Britain. Etopia’s challenge will be to keep pace with demand and forge a path as a world leader in modern construction methods.
“By taking up the position of chairman I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure this team and this company fulfils its unique potential.”
Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, commented:
“Having the financial backing of Stanley was a coup and to now have him aboard as a fully-fledged executive is an opportunity no entrepreneur in their right mind would miss.
“The company has grown so rapidly that its internal operations are already far more complex than they were a year ago. Stanley’s experience of building and growing companies is going to prove invaluable to us as an executive team.”