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IKEA’s modular home offshoot names a U.K. manufacturer

Chip off the Old BoKlok

IKEA’s modular home offshoot names a U.K. manufacturer

Timber-framed modular BoKlock homes have been around for 20 years in Scandinavia. They’ll enter the UK market starting in 2021. (Courtesy BoKlok)

BoKlok UK, a modular home development company owned and operated in partnership between IKEA and Swedish construction giant Skanska, has at long last appointed a builder that will help to bring the first of the company’s hotly-anticipated prefab dwellings to market in the United Kingdom.

London-based modular homebuilding startup TopHat was selected for the five-year contract, which will see the company manufacture hundreds, potentially thousands, of affordable two- and three-bedroom dwellings for new housing developments across the U.K. Timber-framed BoKlok homes are energy-efficient, emphasize natural light, and, of course, come kitted out with IKEA fixtures.

Founded in 2016, TopHat is a relatively new player on the modular housing scene and made headlines last year when it secured a $92.5 million capital investment from Goldman Sachs. The firm was selected as the U.K. manufacturer of BoKlok homes due in part to its status as an industry leader in Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) technology. The fledgling company opened its state-of-the-art South Derbyshire manufacturing facility and commenced production in 2018, “away from challenges of muddy fields, wind and rain” presented by conventional homebuilding techniques, per a press release.

BoKlok has been active for two decades in Sweden, Finland, and Norway and has completed over 12,000 homes—all built in a factory in Estonia—during that time. Last year, the company branched out into modular housing designed specifically for aging populations as part of a scheme launched with Queen Sylvia of Sweden. The first British BoKlok homes are expected to hit the market during the second quarter of next year. Two hundred of these homes will be sold as part of an inaugural BoKlok-helmed housing development in Bristol. Additional development sites have been secured by the company in Worthing, a large seaside town in West Sussex, and in Peacehaven, a coastal town in East Sussex.

“We are delighted to be working with TopHat,” said Graeme Culliton, BoKlok UK managing director and country manager, in a statement. “We share the same ambition to bring innovation and sustainability to the UK housing market, which means attractive and good quality homes for people on average incomes.”

You can peek inside existing BoKlock homes, complete with interiors appear to be lifted straight from the pages of an IKEA catalog, as part of the company’s photo-driven “No Place Like Home” series.