Flat Pack Homes
There has been talk in the property industry for many years about finding more efficient ways of constructing housing in the UK, and modular homes have had some bad press over the years and haven’t been taken seriously enough by the industry or the market generally until fairly recently.
There has been the idea and general feeling that building homes off site, and assembling them on site, could mean the use of substandard materials and bad build quality, when in reality the opposite can be the case if tight factory controls are put in place, because building in a controlled environment creates consistency and speed that the building industry traditionally lacks.
Outside of the UK in the rest of Europe, modular homes have become widespread and in some locations have provided an answer to quicker build times, tighter cost controls for developers and sustainable use of materials as well as cost-effective homes for the end user.
In theory they can also provide cheaper unit prices or rents for the occupiers too.
Why then has the construction industry in the UK dragged its heel’s for so long, despite a drastic under supply of residential accomodation nationally, and is it time we woke up to the potential of modular construction and the benefits it can bring?
Legal and General announced recently that it will be creating warehouse of over 500,000 sq ft near Leeds which will become the biggest modular house building factory in the world.
This move shows the scale of the requirement and the confidence L&G have in the sector and in my opinion is excellent news as it forms a real basis for flat packed homes to take off, as others may follow suit.
The benefits of modular builds for large scale housing, and perhaps other areas of the property market such as office buildings, also include the added advantage of easy predictions for practical completion due to many of the trades not being weather dependent, which so often causes hugely expensive and frustrating delays for everyone.
Whether the true potential of modular is widely recognised and taken on by the industry remains to be seen, but L&G’s apparent confidence is a great start and might give it the credibility it needs to ensure the sector embraces what might turn out to be the only real method by which large scale housing can be delivered to the growing population of the United Kingdom.