THE UK’s largest housebuilder has announced plans to increase its workforce and further invest in the Scottish timber frame company it acquired three years ago.

Barratt Developments said it plans significant new plant development at its Borders-based Oregon Timber Frame Limited, including the creation of around 40 new jobs.

It is also expected to invest £6 million into the extension of the plant’s existing manufacturing capacity, and the development of new offices.

Barratt said the plans form part of its long-term goal to increase its use of modern methods of construction offsite, while reducing its carbon footprint, both of which are enabled by timber frame technology.

It said timber frame construction is also a key element of Barratt’s strategy for addressing the skills challenge facing the industry. Since the 2019 acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, it has almost doubled output at the factory, and said it is now helping its supply chain.

Douglas McLeod, managing director for Barratt Developments Scotland, said: “When we acquired Oregon we knew we were investing in an excellent business with an experienced team, skilled workforce and high quality product."

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He continued: "It was always our intention to bolster this investment by increasing capacity at the site and creating new employment opportunities in Selkirk.

“Since acquisition, we’ve grown the workforce and we’re proud to have created 70 new roles, with more in the pipeline.”

He also said: “The investment represents our commitment and confidence in modern methods of construction.

"We have fully adopted timber frame construction throughout Scotland and, with the changing conditions in England, more homes will be built using modern methods of construction. A sustainable approach to materials will result in a reduced carbon footprint.”

HeraldScotland: 'We have fully adopted timber frame construction throughout Scotland' - Douglas McLeod'We have fully adopted timber frame construction throughout Scotland' - Douglas McLeod (Image: Barratt)

It has also brought a boost in a time of supply chain disruption.

“The acquisition of Oregon has allowed us to integrate the supply of the timber frames into our homes to meet our required delivery dates to enable our homes to be completed timeously for our customers,” said Mr McLeod. “We have benefited by using Oregon’s expert teams to further enhance the design of our new homes. It has also enabled us to deliver more homes quickly to our customers.”

The company, reported as Britain’s biggest builder of homes by turnover, has moved to help staff and customers against the backdrop of the financial squeeze.

“We have addressed the cost of living issue with all staff receiving a ‘cost of living supplement’ to assist them with the additional cost of heating their home and general costs of living,” Mr McLeod added. “As part of our drive to support key workers with the cost of living, they are entitled to a deposit contribution depending on the value of their homes."

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Since acquiring the firm, Barratt has increased the volume from 1,900 kits to over 3,600 kits a year. The 40 new roles are part of its commitment to expand and maintain a presence in Selkirk, it said. New roles planned 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. Work on the extension and new premises is set to start early next year.

Oregon was founded in 1998 and, prior to its acquisition, it was separately described as “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.