Midland housing association, Accord Group, is expanding its activities with a move into construction.

The firm, which opened its own timber-frame home factory 12 months ago, is to build the houses it already designs and manufactures itself, through a new construction management team.

The move by Accord is expected to generate major cost savings by dispensing with the need for external agencies and contractors.

The new construction arm will be headed by Mike Stockle, who has 33 years of experience in the industry, with the first 22-home development being built in Wolverhampton.

The construction of the new homes, in the Bushbury area of the city, represents a first for a West Midlands housing association.

Chris Handy, group chief executive, said: “We are delighted to launch our own construction team which will enable us to erect the timber-framed homes that we are manufacturing in our LoCaL Homes factory.

“The savings we make from doing this will also ensure that we stay ahead of increasing costs and meet the challenge of building higher-quality homes with less government grant to do so.

“At a time when house-building in the UK has slumped to a 30-year low, it’s vital that we continue to build new homes and this will help us to do that by reducing costs.”

Welcoming the move, Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration and prosperity, said: “We want to see a range of new homes built in Wolverhampton and this exciting development helps achieve that.

“It is fantastic to see a developer such as Accord demonstrating its commitment and investing in our city.”

Mr Stockle added: “ The Bushbury development will be the first of many sites in which homes will be designed, constructed and erected by ourselves and once complete it will provide high-quality, low-carbon homes for local people.”