Construct a prototype building that will serve as a proof of concept and as a marketing suite to invite prospective leads to. Required a financial boost for construction and to scale business plans.
Successful funding was essential to fully realising the project’s potential, combined with targeted business planning support.
FAB-HAB Project is a business with a purpose and a profit in mind. A staggering 8 million homes in the UK are poor quality. Most homes are not as thermally efficient as they could be either. In fact our homes contribute almost a third of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Even though there is a drive for more sustainable and energy efficient homes, most builders still use relatively traditional materials and techniques.
However, the founders of the Howbery Park design and construction company FAB-HAB Project, are taking a completely different approach to housebuilding. Architectural designer Oliver Margison and sustainable construction specialist Kate Brown believe there is a better, flexible and more affordable way to design and build homes.
“We both disliked how traditional construction relied on carbon-heavy materials” said Kate Brown. “We have a what we describe as a digital ‘lego’ design for affordable construction which is net-zero in carbon emissions”.
The components are digitally designed and the cutting instructions can then be precisely cut and delivered to the building site as a large flat-pack. The whole structure can be assembled by any able-bodied person, even if they do not have traditional construction skills.
It is an idea the business hopes can help to democratise the housing market because it can appeal to a self-builder who wants to design their own space but without most of the worries involved. The system aims to deliver a high performance, net zero-carbon living space without the need for specialist technical solutions or specialised trades
“The one-to-one business help we had through eScalate was key to our business plan development.”
Director, FAB-HAB Project
With their ambition to create buildings which are better for society and the environment, FAB-HAB Project Ltd is committed to making a social and environmental impact. They came to OxLEP Business for help to understand how they could best become a ‘business with purpose’.
Oliver and Kate took advantage of the resources and help available through OxLEP Business and the eScalate programme. They followed up as suggestion and registered as a private limited company with social purpose. As soon as possible, they also aim to achieve B-Corp certification – by reaching high levels of environmental and social impact. They will commit a proportion of their profits towards tackling the many barriers to adequate housing.
They also had help creating a robust business plan to better steer their market access strategy and meet their non-financial objectives.
“The one-to-one business help we had through eScalate was key to our business plan development,” Kate explained. “And the eScalate grant has enabled us to build our prototype and test our innovations.”
FAB-HAB Project is now looking confidently forward. The prototype building is their office space and marketing suite and with the demand for flexible and affordable homes showing no sign of reducing, they hope to begin making the impact they dream of starting here in Oxfordshire.