In April a new National Living Wage will become effective; raising the minimum wage for workers 25 and older to £7.20 an hour, and eventually to £9 in five years’ time. While many rejoice, the care sector is at serious risk for a catastrophic collapse with the looming financial burden of increased labor costs. The raise in wages is estimated to cost an astounding £1bn by 2020.
Y-Cube Promises to Deliver Solutions for a Stressed Budget While Providing Comfortable Homes for the UK’s Rapidly Growing Elderly Community
Couple increased labor costs with a rapidly growing elderly population that is expected to double over the next 20 years, and the care sector has good reason to be petrified.
However, there is a cutting edge solution that will proactively cut costs, and provide a viable solution for the Residential Elderly Care (REC) in London and other United Kingdom cities. The revolutionary concept of the Y-Cube promises to deliver solutions for a stressed budget while still providing comfortable and versatile residence for the UK’s rapidly growing elderly community.
The Y-Cube was conceptualized with an innovate mindset from beginning to end. Over the last three years, AECOM’s civil and structural engineering team has been working closely with renowned Lord Richard Rogers and his team at Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners and the YMCA have worked tirelessly to bring the Y-Cube, studio-style units, to fruition.
The 26m2 units are self-contained. Each units showcases a double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, living room and kitchen. The communities will also feature communal rooms and external walkways linking all of the units and creating a social environment for tenants.
The Y-Cube Cuts Construction Costs by up to 50%
The Y-Cube directly addresses the issues of cost by cutting costs by up to 50 percent. As an example, a traditional 80-bed care facility costs an average of £8m to 12m, with the Y-Cube the cost would be between £4m to 6m. These substantial savings would significantly offset the increasing labour costs in 2016, which currently makes up 60 percent of the Care Sector’s budget.
Consequently, REC establishments are not the only ones feeling the pinch of rising costs. Elderly tenants are paying roughly £75,000 for their care. Many have pensions that fall short of covering all of the financial requirements for their care, and are being forced to utilize savings or sell their homes. The Y-Cube offers a solid and reasonable living option with around-the-clock care, and even further savings with the energy efficient fabric utilized within the interior of the home; around £7 per week for electric and heating.
The savings start with the volumetric construction system being manufactured off-site, in a factory, thus providing exceptionally lower construction costs while maintaining exceptional quality. This is also ideal for REC facilities needed in densely populated urban areas, drastically cutting down construction mess and noise.
The Y-Cube is completely finished inside and out, making it versatile and flexible in use. A single unit can stand alone, be stacked up to eight stories high or placed side-by-side without issue. Additionally, units can be relocated at any time and are durable in transition.
Housing providers are already considering its potential to be marketed as a starter home, temporary housing and student quarters. Since the units can be mortgaged, the units have also been hypothesized for two and three bed offerings.
The 36-unit Complex is Proof-of-Concept and has Been Widely Praised
Earlier this year the Y-Cube system came to realization at a Mitcham development by YMCA. The 36-unit complex is proof-of-concept and has been widely praised.
As reported by The Times and The Guardian, BBC News and CNN, the Y-Cube has been recognized at the 2015 Eddison Award in New York City; receiving the silver award in the Social Innovation category. The Y-Cube has also seen wide acceptance for the potential to be the Care Sector’s answer to the budget-crushing raise in National Living Wage.
About Dean Jones
Dean is an Associate in AECOM’s Programme Leadership Practice. Dean joined AECOM from Care UK, the UK’s largest independent provider of health and social care, where he was a Programme Manager and delivered a £250m investment growth programme over 2012/15 which increased Care Uk’s number of homes circa 33%. Dean was also Programme Manager for a £60m Suffolk programme to build ten new care homes and ten day clubs, bringing much needed additional nursing and specialist dementia care to the Suffolk community. The new homes and day clubs will eventually replace Suffolk County Council’s existing homes and well being centres which date mainly from the 1960s and 1970s.