Modular pioneer set for administration

Beattie Passive, which created the UK’s first Passivhaus-certified build system, is set for administration after running into cashflow problems.

Work has stopped at the firm’s 10,800 square metre factory after parent company Beattie Passive Group Ltd and four related companies filed notices of intention to appoint an administrator on Friday (22 March).

Beattie Passive’s Norwich manufacturing facility, which employed nearly 50 people, had the capacity to build 200 homes per year and store up to 50 modules on site. The firm announced that staff would receive full pay.

In a statement, the company said it had been hit by a cashflow gap as a result of delays to its biggest housebuilding projects, despite a forward order book worth £4.5m. It also pointed to issues with the planning system and wider macroeconomic conditions.

The company and its advisers are exploring further fundraising options.

On Friday, founder Ron Beattie said: “Having explored all strategic options, it is with deep regret that we have today filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators and paused operations.

“My family and I founded this business 15 years ago to deliver the types of high-quality, energy-efficient homes our country so desperately needs, while creating highly skilled, green jobs within the local communities we operate.

“I want to express my sincere thanks to all of those who have helped Beattie Passive become the pioneering company it is today, and we will continue to explore all possible options as part of our strategic review.”

The modular specialist’s proprietary build system comprises a continuous insulation layer around a timber frame. As well as licensing out its system, Beattie Passive also worked as a contractor, including on a 78-home project for the homeless in Cardiff in conjunction with Wates Residential.

The firm made a pre-tax loss of £1.6m on a £3.8m turnover in the financial year ending 31 December 2022, according to financial accounts published in February.

The directors called the firm’s performance “very disappointing”, noting that a “very major” contract had been withdrawn at the last minute and another delayed for months.

They added that the disruption had drained the company’s working capital.

Auditors believed the firm would be able to continue in the coming financial year despite liabilities of £700,000, according to the accounts, which were signed off in December 2023.

Harlow Council confirmed to Construction News that Beattie Passive had been taken off its Arkwrights scheme, where the firm had begun work to build eight council homes, late last year.

The firm won spots on several high-value frameworks in 2023, including the Crown Commercial Service’s Offsite Construction Solutions Framework; Great Places Housing Group’s £2bn Off-site Homes Alliance Framework; and LHC’s £600m New Homes Framework.

It also offered a ‘flying factory’ concept, where staff would offer five weeks of hands-on training to contractors, developers and housing associations to set up their own facility capable of manufacturing Beattie Passive’s build system.

Stewart & Shields, RDS Build and Pure Haus are among the contractors who have delivered homes through the flying factory scheme.

The four related companies also on the brink of administration are: Beattive Passive Technical Ltd, Beattie Passive Operations Ltd, Beattie Passive Construction Services Ltd and Beattie Passive Build System Ltd.

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