VIC – a unique innovation centre showcasing technologies of the future at its sector-leading MMC factory in Leicestershire

Vistry’s chief operating officer Earl Sibley and head of technical innovation Jack Brayshaw welcomed stakeholders including Homes England and the NHBC to the sector-leading timber frame facility to showcase the VIC’s innovative new technologies, as part of the roadmap to the company’s net zero journey, while illustrating the factory’s manufacturing capabilities. 

The VIC is a unique, sector-leading facility incorporating cutting-edge technologies that will be used to help meet the company’s net zero ambitions as well as the delivery of the Future Homes Standard coming into operation in 2025. 

Constructed using 18 different trades and 54 suppliers, the VIC features over 100 different products and smart technologies, providing visitors with the opportunity to witness all the different stages of construction and to learn about the wealth of progressive products the company is using both now and in the future to achieve carbon reduction on its roadmap to net zero by 2040. 

Relaunched in July 2023, Vistry Works is one of the largest timber frame construction facilities in the UK.

The 356,000 sq ft facility, combined with Vistry’s additional two factories in Warrington and Leicester, has the capacity to deliver over 7,000 homes per annum using pre-manufactured 2D structural systems (category 2), creating a strong strategic asset for the group to deliver MMC at scale.

The event provided an opportunity for guests to take a tour of the Vistry Works factory to see timber frame manufacturing at scale, before visiting the VIC. 

As well as delivering high-quality new homes more economically, efficiently and sustainably, Vistry Works will also contribute significant social value, boosting local job creation, with 17 of the site’s new starters living within a 10-mile radius (49% of the current workforce) and with plans to create an additional 60 new factory jobs in 2024.  

Vistry Works will deliver thousands of open panel frames for new homes at Vistry locations around the country, being built with partners including housing associations and local authorities.

Jack Brayshaw, head of technical innovation, Vistry Group, said: “The new Vistry Innovation Centre at our Vistry Works East Midlands facility is exceptional. It is providing us with the opportunity to implement and trial a whole host of innovative technologies as we gear up for the introduction of the Future Homes Standard and the journey to net zero. The event has been a chance to showcase the work we are doing in this area and to illustrate the combined impact of our production capacity and sustainable advances in tackling the ongoing demand for high-quality new homes.”

Earl Sibley, chief operating officer, Vistry Group, added: “The demand for high-quality new homes in the UK shows no sign of relenting and the investment Vistry has made in timber-frame manufacturing and the progressive, world-leading technologies we are showcasing in the VIC will enable us to deliver these homes more quickly and sustainably than traditional methods of construction. 

“We are delighted to have been able to invite our guests along to illustrate how our timber frame factory manufacturing capabilities are helping to address the chronic housing shortage while having a positive socio-economic impact on the local area.”

Councillor Richard Blunt, leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “It was fascinating to visit the Vistry facility and see the innovation there in action. Their work links with ours in two key ways – we need good quality homes in our country, and they are committed to the Future Homes Standard, and they are thinking about every possible way to make homes more energy efficient at every stage, which is absolutely the way forward and ties in well with our zero carbon ambitions for North West Leicestershire.”

Rhodri Williams, technical and sustainability director at the Home Builders Federation, said: “I was delighted to join Vistry Group at their brand new Innovation Centre in Leicestershire on behalf of the HBF. It was fantastic to see the size and scale of the new facility and learn of their ambitions for scaling up production of timber frame housing.  The Vistry Innovation Centre demonstrates first hand the ambition and capability of Vistry to respond to upcoming changes to standards and regulations such as the Future Homes Standard.  The facilities in the East Midlands are perfectly placed to respond to new government initiatives such as the Timber In Construction Roadmap where high quality standardized timber frame residential housing will play a critical role in delivering the governments environmental and housing targets.”

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