Field View Karm Homes

Karm Homes, a regional housebuilder specialising in affordable housing in Dorset and Hampshire, is currently developing two chalet bungalows in Charlton Marshall, near Blandford Forum. These rural three-bedroom homes will benefit from picturesque views of the surrounding countryside and are due to be finished by early summer.

Karm Homes has chosen to build these homes using the i-House system to speed up the build programme without compromising on quality. This Modern Method of Construction (MMC) was designed by H+H in collaboration with Roofspace Solutions to meet the increasing demand for speed of delivery within the housebuilding industry. 

The i-House system combines H+H Vertical Wall Panels (VWPs) with prefabricated floors and roofs, offering the complete watertight shell of a standard house design in just one week.

Vertical Wall Panels are storey-high panels of aircrete that are fabricated offsite and craned onto standard foundations. They are secured with fast-setting strong mortar, creating a 2mm airtight joint for a high-quality, time-efficient build with little site wastage. 

The panels offer all the benefits of aircrete which is highly thermally efficient: Vertical Wall Panels achieve a U-value of 0.17 W/m²K, meeting Passivhaus standards. Aircrete is also fire, moisture, and mould resistant and has a lifespan of over a hundred years, enabling the construction of durable, comfortable homes. 

Martin Keenes, Director of Karm Homes, is an advocate of the i-House solution, and feels the system is ideal for smaller housebuilders developing niche sites. He likes the convenience of working with one company that sources all the materials for the building envelope and assembles it on site. He also appreciates having complete design flexibility and where possible designs the floorplate of each home around the 600mm width of the Vertical Wall Panels to reduce cuts, wastage, and time.

Martin comments: “We have looked at other MMC systems, such as SIPs, but found them to be more expensive than the i-House masonry solution plus increased fire risk and insurance premiums associated with a timber build. We also prefer building with masonry as our customers expect the durability that comes with a masonry home.”

Karm Homes has not been afraid to seek out innovative housebuilding solutions and Martin finds it surprising that the H+H Vertical Wall Panels are not more widely used, commenting:

“We use local architects to design our houses. When we suggest H+H Vertical Wall Panels to them, they’re sometimes unaware of the option. However, once they’ve seen the system in action, they’re completely converted. We can’t understand why more companies are not using this solution.”