Homes are where the heart is for Hector: our Dundonald Modular development inspires interest in construction for four-year-old who declares 63 homes complete


Diana MacLean, Hector and Jennifer Higgins

The first large-scale affordable modular housing development in Scotland has been completed within budget and one month ahead of schedule.

The ground-breaking £9.8million project was successfully delivered by Riverside Scotland and Connect Modular, part of The Wee House Group, and will provide 63 high-quality, low energy, affordable homes in Dundonald, South Ayrshire.

The development has helped to sustain 60 local jobs with the energy efficient new homes built offsite at Connect Modular’s manufacturing facility in Cumnock, Ayrshire.

And the homes have also helped to inspire the next generation of construction workers after Hector Hodge from Dundonald became fascinated by the scheme over the past year as he walked past the new housing development on his way to nursery.

The modular homes are 90% complete when they depart the factory with kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing and electrics installed, leading to a significantly shorter build programme and earlier occupancy.

In comparison to a traditional build project, fabrication under factory conditions improves quality, reduces waste, negates the impacts of adverse weather and allows for overlap of site preparation and build phases – a more efficient process all round.

The Dundonald development has given Hector a glimpse into the future of Scotland’s construction industry and led to him being made guest of honour at a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of this innovative housing development.

Aspiring builder, Hector was cheered on by his dad, David, managing director of Riverside Scotland, Diana MacLean and Jennifer Higgins, managing director of Connect Modular as he cut a ribbon to mark the completion of the innovative development ahead of schedule.

Hector cuts the ribbon declaring the project complete
Hector cuts the ribbon declaring the project complete

David said: “We live in the village and having a live building site on our doorstep has been a dream for Hector. A real highlight for Hector was seeing the modules arrive on a convoy of lorries and be craned into position. He was fascinated with the process! He is mad about diggers and it’s been a real joy to visit the site with him and watch him bond with the workers.

“We were honoured to be asked to officially open the new homes. It’s a lovely memory for Hector to look back on when he’s older, and possibly working in construction, having been so inspired by this development. These homes were much-needed in the village and its lovely to see new faces and welcome our new neighbours to the community.”

Jennifer Higgins, managing director at Connect Modular, said: “We are thrilled to hand over this *award-winning development ahead of schedule. Riverside Scotland’s willingness to embrace this evolution in construction on a large-scale project brings us a huge step closer to a housing stock that will achieve a Net Zero Scotland by 2045.

Trying out the playpark with ‘best friend’ and site manager Archie Stobbs

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to welcome Hector and David to the site throughout the project. It’s wonderful to see how inspired and interested Hector is in construction. He struck up a real friendship with our site manager, Archie Stobbs and his visits always brightened up our day. You never know, our youngest ever apprentice may join us for real some day!”

Riverside Scotland, part of The Riverside Group, manages 2,300 homes across Ayrshire with a programme to deliver 300 new homes over three years underway, increasing the size of its housing stock by 13%.

Riverside Scotland has made a strong commitment to providing homes for veterans at risk of homelessness at its two newest social housing developments by allocating more than 10% of new homes to support veteran households.

The Dundonald development is now home to ten military Veteran households – accounting for 16% of the affordable homes built in Dundonald after Riverside Scotland exceeded its targets.

Diana MacLean and Jennifer Higgins mark the end of the project – Scotland’s first large-scale affordable modular development

Diana MacLean, managing director of Riverside Scotland, said: “This nationally significant affordable housing scheme has raised the profile of offsite construction in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“While we are a smaller housing association we have big ambitions which we are able to achieve by being part of the wider Riverside Group.

“By providing high-quality, low energy homes at speed and scale we are helping to tackle climate change, prevent homelessness for our veteran community and help these residents to live in affordable, warm homes during the largest cost of living crisis our nation has faced for the past 40 years.

“We are delighted that Hector could help to cut the ribbon during the completion ceremony. He has become something of a site mascot, and it’s heartening to hear that local residents have embraced the development as an important project for Dundonald.”

The project was delivered with £4.65 million of grant funding through the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

*The development was highly commended in the Green Housing Category at The Herald Property Awards for Scotland 2022 and has been shortlisted in both the Working in Partnership Category & Excellence in Affordable Housing Category at The Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland Awards 2022.