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First phase of expansion at Oregon site begins – Scottish Business News

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THE first phase of expansion at Selkirk-based Oregon Timber Frame Limited (Oregon) is now underway, as part of a wider £24m investment by Barratt Developments PLC (‘Barratt’) following its acquisition of the plant.

Work has commenced on new office premises after the UK’s largest housebuilder announced plans in 2022 to increase its workforce and invest in plant development.

The 900m2 office block will accommodate up to 60 permanent staff members, approximately double the capacity of the current temporary block. Plans for a new training room, which will hold up to 20 people, have also been revealed as well as more meeting rooms and improved kitchen and welfare facilities over two floors.

The Oregon expansion, comprising two phases, will create over 70 new jobs in the Borders community. Phase one includes the development of the new office for its growing workforce, due to complete in 2025, while phase two will see the extension of the plant’s existing manufacturing capacity. 

The plans form part of Barratt’s long-term goal to increase its use of modern methods of construction off-site while reducing its carbon footprint, both of which are enabled by timber frame technology. Timber frame construction is also a key element of Barratt’s strategy for addressing the skills challenge facing the industry.

Douglas McLeod, Regional Managing Director for Barratt Developments Scotland, said: “Starting construction on phase one of this expansion is a fantastic milestone for us. Since acquiring Oregon five years ago, we’ve worked hard to bring our plans to fruition, so commencing work on the new office is one step closer to achieving our goals.

“The new block will double in capacity which aligns perfectly with our ambitions to create new employment opportunities in Selkirk. We’ve invested in a great business with a high quality product and look forward to rolling out both phases of the project.”

Building more homes off-site will help Barratt meet the 2025 Future Homes Standard, cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and minimise disruption to local communities, as part of its wider commitment to become carbon neutral in its operations by 2030.

By 2030, Barratt aims for at least 30% of its homes to be built using modern methods of construction. Using a timber frame system also enables Barratt to cut the build time on a development by an average of five weeks, compared to using traditional methods of construction. In FY 2023, Barratt built 3,200 of its 17,000 homes across the UK using timber frames from its two Oregon factories.

On completion of phase one, work will commence on phase two with the expansion of the north and south factories. The north factory will welcome 24 new factory operatives with two semi-automated open line panels and three extra floor benches. Meanwhile, the south factory will accommodate 26 new operatives with three extra floor benches and five spandrel benches.

Since acquiring the firm in June 2019, Barratt has increased the volume from 1900 kits to over 3600 kits per annum. The new roles are part of its commitment to expand and maintain a presence in Selkirk. New roles planned for the site include designers as well as technical and construction management positions. There are opportunities for both skilled and unskilled factory workers with pathways for training and development.

Oregon was established in 1998 and prior to its acquisition it was one of the UK’s largest timber frame manufacturers specialising in the design, manufacture and erection of high quality timber frame structures for the construction industry. It now manufactures kits solely for Barratt Developments’ Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes brands across the UK.

In addition to Selkirk, Barratt opened a new timber frame factory in the East Midlands following its purchase of Oregon. The 186,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Derby was part of a £45m investment, creating an additional 170 jobs locally after relocating from its base in Burton-upon-Trent.

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