I’ve began to wonder recently if the housing crisis could be helped with modular type housing and whether this can help us to provide cheaper, faster housing in the UK.
Cheaply built affordable housing is in short supply in the UK, we all know that. Instead of swathes of concrete or tower blocks of flats should we be concentrating on housing that can be erected quickly and with less cost which can also be visually appealing?
Some Advantages That Could Help The Housing Crisis
Modular housing is built off site in a factory which specializes in modular construction, it’s important not to confuse modular housing with pre-fab or other kit form housing. Modular means that its built off site and then clipped together on site.This can be as plain single story dwellings or as small blocks of flats. ( Like the ones in Stoke Newington which was built for the Peabody Trust, in the picture at the top of this blog.) The usual things which delay a regular build ( and hence costing more money) are;
- delays caused by weather,
- contractor issues
- problems getting materials, or having them delivered
- Planning and ground clearance
With modular housing most of the above problems are negated because once a schedule is established, the home is usually completed in sections within the factory which means a very low risk of cost overruns or poor contractors. Add to that the minimal time taken to build and install a modular home then you can be on to a winning formula, particularly for sections of the UK where the housing crisis is rife.
Factory Assembled Precision
Because the homes are manufactured in climate controlled factories it also eliminates potential damage caused by weather and other factors. These can include mold on timber, cracks from a sudden frost or water damage in general. During the construction, factory built homes are inspected at multiple points within the process which creates a higher quality standard.
There is a common misconception that modular housing is not robust enough, but in truth if it’s often made to resist earthquakes and hurricanes and the rigors of transport.
Environmentally Friendly Building
Using standardized designs helps reduce waste of materials and changes can be accommodated without further waste. Factory assembly reduces the amount of traffic on the site further lowering the environmental impact of the building process. A point often missed or not talked about, is that modular housing is more energy efficient which has the knock on effect of being environmentally friendly and cheaper to maintain long term.
Costs Of Modular Home Building
The value of the land is half the usual cost of a self build property project, which is a major drawback. The few vacant plots available can be very expensive which is why some house-builders buy derelict property, & knock it down. One way to drive down costs further is for a group of friends to get together to build a whole row, or block. Easier said than done, perhaps. One way to do this would be to form a housing co-op
So, Can It help The Housing Crisis?
In reality there are may forms of modular housing which could greatly help the housing crisis. Remember, modular buildings can be custom built to a clients specifications and modern designs include multi-story units, multi-family, and entire apartment complexes. Maybe it’s time we ditched the negative stereotype commonly associated with mobile homes and look at them as a solution to the housing crisis. What do you think?