Solving Britain’s housing crisis is not an easy nut to crack. But there are some organisations and businesses addressing the housing issue by looking to change how houses are built, with the growth of off-site construction. Modern modular housing is generating considerable interest among developers and policy experts, and there are now early signs of a UK off-site construction industry developing.
Speed, Precision and Energy Savings
Can quality houses be built more quickly? With demand vastly outstripping current supply, finding a way to make more homes available sooner is one way of easing the pressure of housing demand in the UK.
Now an increasing number of companies are adopting prefab homes as a construction model. Estimates suggest that these off-site houses can be built in around half the time of a traditionally constructed house.
High quality modular houses can also provide energy savings due to their precise, airtight construction, while still retaining an ability to be customised to keep a degree of individuality.
Offsetting these advantages are the imported nature of much of these modular kits. They lose on air miles what they gain in energy saving and the fact that off-site construction is still in its infancy when compared to traditional building industry.
Updating the Housing Image
Prefab homes are not, of course, a new concept, and their standing, dating from the 1950s to house people made homeless by the Blitz, is hardly prestigious. This means any new modular housing projects must work to improve the whole image of the business.
Traditional construction does not place such a premium on speed, but with the increased pressure on housing in the UK, there may be a cultural shift in favour of off-site construction.
The evidence is that the Government is interested in modular housing, and is willing to encourage banks to lend to small firms wanting to build houses off-site. Sources report a target of 100,000 being built during the term of the current 2017 Parliament.
In the not too distant future, could improved technology plus increased demand mean that modular housing will become both essential and desirable?