Scottish-born homebuilders, Bancon Group, tackle the UK housing crisis through conscientious construction  

Established in 1975, Bancon Group is a leading UK-based home builder and contractor, known for its work in affordable housing and timber-frame construction. Offering innovative and efficient construction models, in-house expertise, and decades of industry know-how, Bancon Group has come to dominate the Scottish market, with its timber-frame operation now reaching construction sites across the UK. The company is split into four key divisions: private for sale, land-led affordable, retro-fit, and Deeside Timberframe. As Chief Executive Officer, Kevin McColgan, begins: “We build homes for the private sale market, 25 per cent of which contributes to the affordable housing scheme. Alongside that we operate Bancon Construction, through which we undertake large construction projects in the public and private sectors, and retrofit and land-led affordable sectors. Finally, we specialise in timber frame construction, which works collaboratively with both the private and the affordable housing operations.”  

Efficient solutions Bancon Group timber framed construction

Delivering quality affordable housing is central to Bancon Group’s mission. As Kevin reveals: “The affordable housing model is one that I’ve worked with in the past, and I’m very passionate about it. As a child, I grew up in a council property. It showed me how important affordable housing is to people across the UK, and it’s definitely something that has influenced my work as a contractor and homebuilder. I remember waking up on a winter morning to find ice on the inside of my window. It’s hard to believe now, but that’s the condition of a lot of council homes in England and Scotland.  

“Our work in the affordable housing sector is about helping people. Forget the financial model for a second and focus on what you can do for the community. As a successful homebuilding business, we have a moral obligation to do as much as we can. There’s a major shortage of quality affordable housing, and on top of that there’s very limited grant funding. There’s currently a £200 million shortfall in Scottish Government funding, so we’re facing an uphill battle.  

“We operate by purchasing land, both private for sale and affordable housing. We partner with the council, RSL, or housing association and deliver their requirements when it comes to housing needs. Bancon has a tremendous track record of building both smaller developments as well as new neighbourhoods running into the hundreds of homes. 

“That’s our current model, and it’s been quite successful. We’re currently working on an exciting project in Cloverhill, which is over 540 homes. At this point, affordable housing is part of our DNA. There’s no Bancon Group without these projects. In a lot of ways, it’s the most important work that we do.” 

The Cloverhill construction project marks a major milestone for the company, as Managing Director, Jamie Tosh, asserts: “The numbers on the Cloverhill project are significant, not just for us as a business but for the local community as well. We have an expert in-house team to deliver all the design and engineering work, bringing new developments through the planning and approvals process and delivering the homes of tomorrow. There’s a huge market for timber frame housing not just in Scotland but across the UK. The Cloverhill project demonstrates everything that’s great about using timber frame construction, especially how efficient it can be. When you’re trying to overcome a housing crisis, faster alternatives like timber could really be a lifeline.”  

“I agree,” says David Crawford, Managing Director at Deeside Timberframe. “At the moment, one of the problems England is facing as part of the housing crisis is not being able to build homes fast enough. There simply aren’t the resources or the trades to deliver the necessary speed through traditional construction models, but timber frames can.  

“The housing crisis is a real issue, and there’s often not enough attention drawn to it. I think it’s important for homebuilders in the private sector to see that they have a part to play. There’s lots of different ways to draw on business and revenue streams to support projects like ours. It’s all about cost certainty, value for money, program efficiency, and quality. Getting those things spot-on isn’t easy, but it’s certainly rewarding,” he continues.  

Socially conscious construction 

Keeping operations in-house puts Bancon Group in a strong strategic position, allowing the company to act as industry pioneers for more socially and environmentally conscious construction. “We’re in control of so many different parts of the process, which gives us a lot of freedom when it comes to the work we do. We’re timber frame experts, we own the land, and we have strong relationships with the end users. We don’t need to subcontract the work out to various other consultants, either, everything is in-house. We’ve developed our own way of doing things, by trying and testing different approaches over the years, and now we’re well established. It’s a competitive position to be in. A lot of other companies are still on that journey, but we’re doing it. We’re delivering it,” David asserts.  

It’s clear that Bancon Group is changing construction for the better. Looking forward to the future, David ruminates on what’s next for the business: “I think we’re going to be very busy in the next 12 months. We’ve got lots of projects in the pipeline, across all the different elements of the business. Additionally, we want to continue working on affordable and sustainable projects, staying true to the Bancon Group values. In the long-term, it would be great to see wider adoption of the timber frame model, in the UK and beyond,” he concludes.