H+H has officially opened its upgraded aircrete factory, giving it the capability to produce enough extra Celcon Blocks to build 5,000 houses a year.
The multi-million-pound upgrade – which happened in just four months – represents a “huge vote of confidence” in the UK by its Danish owners, and makes the factory the most advanced and efficient of its kind in Europe.
H+H employees joined customers, politicians – including housing minister James Brokenshire – and representatives of the German company that made the new machinery at the official opening on Friday. Local MP Tom Tugendhat unveiled a plaque before visitors were given a guided tour of the factory at Borough Green.
One of three factories in the UK owned by H+H, Borough Green opened its doors in 1992. The company decided to update it in 2016 and, in December of that year, began to ramp up production of Celcon Blocks ready for it shutting down.
Borough Green shut down on 21 December 2017 and the new equipment began to be installed on 2 January 2018. The first cake of aircrete was produced in the new factory on 13 March 2018, and the factory was fully operational on Friday.
Specialist project planner VA Consulting was brought in to help to plan and deliver the project, while German manufacturer WEHRHAHN designed, built and helped to install all of the new equipment.
Speaking at the factory on Friday, Calum Forsyth, Managing Director of H+H UK, said the official opening was a “real landmark” in the history of H+H in the UK.
The housebuilding market was volatile, which made long-term decision-making about investment difficult. “We are delighted that the board shares our positive view of the sector and is prepared to commit to this site,” he added.
He thanked everyone involved in the project, and paid tribute to the “exceptional work” of the 71-strong Borough Green team.
“It’s rare to find a project of this scale that runs to time and within budget. This is one of those rare occasions, and we have a sense of achievement and pride.”
Tugendhat said it was a “fantastic day” and welcomed H+H’s commitment to the factory, the local community and the UK as a whole.
“We’re not simply talking about jobs in the local area, we’re talking about the ability of people across the country to buy homes, to settle, to create communities, where they didn’t have the chance before. I’m very, very pleased that H+H have decided to invest here,” he said.