Ex-Premier League star has grand designs

A former Premier League footballer is hoping to corner the property market after launching his own eco-friendly timber frame housing business.

Flitcraft_Eco_Build-4653Ex-Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers captain, Garry Flitcroft, has snapped up a 20,000 sqft factory on an eight acre site in St Michael’s near Garstang, which has become the home for Flitcraft EcoBuild timber frame specialists.

The company designs and manufactures self-build kit houses, using a timber frame system comprising injected structural insulated panels (SIPS).

Unlike traditional building methods, Flitcraft’s timber frame structures are precision engineered under factory conditions and then delivered directly to the site, where they are crane erected.

As well as being highly energy efficient and better for the environment, the timber frame houses are faster to build and more cost effective.

Flitcroft said: “I’ve always been interested in property. My dad was a builder so when I was 18 I bought four or five properties with my first signing on fee at Man City and things have snowballed from there.

“I’ve built up a large property portfolio over the last 25 years, consisting of residential and commercial property built in the traditional way. But this is completely different to anything I’ve done previously and I’m very excited about it. I really love the product and I think there’s massive potential for it going forwards.”

From beach huts to bespoke mansions fit for superstar footballers, Flitcraft’s four-strong design team can apply their timber frame system to suit any project, and virtually any budget.

Flitcroft said: “Predominantly we do bespoke projects and in those instances we are helping clients to build their dream homes. But there are any number of ways this system can be applied, even down to beach huts, log cabins and instant extensions.

“One of the biggest advantages of building this way, as opposed to traditional concrete blockwork, is the speed. With a traditional build it takes a lot longer to build a property because it’s a wet trade. You have to wait for all of the plaster and the mortar to dry out.

“Timber frame properties are made in factory conditions so the panels are then brought to the site and erected by crane, which means the speed of build is so much quicker."

The other big attraction of timber frame structures is their green credentials.

“This system is virtually zero carbon and because the houses are so well insulated, we estimate the annual heating cost for a typical four or five bedroom property could be as little as £500 per year.

“And obviously because timber is a product that can be re-grown, it’s a lot more sustainable than traditional blockwork where you have to dig out pits to produce all of the cement and all of the clay for bricks and block.”

Orders have already started to flood in to Flitcraft’s head office from as far afield as Scotland and the Isle of Man, and they have even had interest from clients in Switzerland.

Garry added: “The order book is looking strong, the factory is busy, so the future looks bright. We’ve got a state-of-the-art factory that is capable of doing £20m turnover per year. I firmly believe we are more than capable of hitting those targets. We’ve certainly got the staff to do it.

“We have four designers and a team of highly trained technical support staff on site who can take a project through from planning to designing the drawings, and then obviously the manufacture of the panels. We’ve got the capacity to put another press line in if we need to going forwards so there’s massive potential here. “We’ve got 25 staff at the moment but we could easily accommodate 50 staff here if we hit our targets going forwards.”