Last Sunday, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, announced how grateful he is for the investment and support from Surrey-based entrepreneur Chris Baxter, being given to a Ukrainian business, building modular homes for his war-torn country.
At the Surrey unveiling of the UK’s first modular home built by HOMErs, its Ukrainian robotics-entrepreneur founders Alex Stepura and Oleg Pogonyshev, talked of how theydesigned and built the homes for staff – made homeless from war.
They used their robotics skills to create an entirely new way of house building that takes over 90% fewer man-hours to produce than a standard home on-site and uses three times less energy to manufacture. It is remarkably affordable and has both quality and sustainability at its core.
At the official UK launch in Surrey on Sunday, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, said: “It was a real pleasure to go to the HOMErs launch in Surrey and see the first of their modular houses assembled in Britain.
“HOMErs is a great example of the collaboration of Ukrainian ingenuity with British investment and support. We hope to help rehouse thousands of families in my country and it would not be possible without the support of our British investors and our British team. HOMErs is a true partnership between the Ukraine and Britain,” Prystaiko added.
HOMErs has built over 50 modular properties after donations from sponsors to house homeless families — from within Ukraine or abroad. One such donor was Patsy Baxter, 86, a widow from Tarporley near Chester, who gave £15,000 to HOMErs for a Ukrainian family of seven who were made homeless when a Russian bomb hit their house near the northern city of Chernihiv.
Patsy’s son – Surrey-based, Chris Baxter, who has had a long career in finance and private equity investment, heard of the firm and wanted to invest himself to help the company grow. Baxter is now the UK Director of HOMErs.
HOMErs is currently building around 40-50 new modules (around 10-15 houses) a month in Ukraine and plans to massively ramp up production to as much as 600 modules a month aftertheir new plant in Slovakia is opened in 2024.
HOMErs is now planning to also install their modular homes in the UK, Ireland and across Europe for a variety of uses including social and crisis needs, residential homes, garden offices and glamping facilities.
A basic grid connected and furnished three-module home sells for $18,000 (£14,500) at the factory gate and can be expanded for $6,000 (£4,800) per additional module/room. A fully energy independent model costs a few thousand dollars more for the solar panel and battery installation but pays for itself quickly.
The Kyiv School of Economics has estimated that the war has caused $311 billion (£250 billion) worth of damage to Ukraine. A total of 149,300 residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed, including 131,400 houses, 17,500 apartment buildings and 280 dormitories – worth a total of $55 billion (£44 billion).