Ray O’Rourke to test new building system on his own mansion

Ray O’Rourke is planning to pilot a new prefabricated concrete panel building system on his own multi-million pound mansion in Essex. rayorourkeO’Rourke received planning after winning an appeal to knock down his existing £7m arts and craft home to replace it with a two-storey mansion with basement. The new home in the exclusive Essex village of Fryerning will be built from large concrete panels, a system produced at the firm’s factory in Steetley. The method is part of a programme of building research being undertaken with the University of Cambridge with the aim of providing bespoke designs that can be delivered at speed. So far the firm has used it to build schools and offices and O’Rourke is understood to be keen to use a similar approach in the housing market for one-off designs. A source told the Enquirer: “It is all really hush-hush at present, but plans are going ahead to start production for Ray’s new home.” The new house will be built to mimic the arts and crafts design of the existing building on the site, and will include plain clay tiles, green oak, timber external joinery and handcrafted decorative chimney stacks. His design also includes a basement with sauna, gym and cinema. Laing O’Rourke’s Explore Manufacturing facility is now producing more than £40m of pre-cast products a year, just five years after opening. The plan is to grow that to £150m within the next five years and planning consent has been sought for a further facility next to the current factory building.

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