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Poll: Is modular construction the future of housing?

10/06/2019
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Modular housing is growing in popularity across UK cities, thanks to the relative inexpense and speed of construction.

But is it really the future of the housing construction industry? Have your say in these week's EngineeringPro poll.

ilke Homes installed 2 homes in Manchester within 48 hours - their Yorkshire factory currently produces 2,000 modular houses per year
(Image via ilke Homes)

Modular construction involves building houses offsite in factories - including fitting them out with internal fixtures. The modules usually make up individual floors of the building, which are then delivered to the site and assembled by crane.

The concept is similar to postwar style prefabrication, although developers stress that the new construction methods deliver much higher standards than the notoriously low-end, cramped, traditional builds. Modern modular housing uses new methods and materials to deliver quality in high volumes.

Derbyshire based company TopHat build modular houses within a controlled factory setting, allowing precise construction that isn't affected by factors such as the weather
(Image via TopHat)

Proponents of the system claim that developing the modules in dry, controlled factory environments ensures a more consistent, durable build that isn’t affected by weather during construction. With many modules being built in the same factory, there is less waste, more precision and lower energy usage as well.

It’s also more efficient - allowing houses to be built significantly quicker. A Yorkshire-based factory operated by ilke Homes can produce up to 2,000 houses per year - with aims to increase its capacity to 5,000.

To show off its capabilities, the same company recently installed two modular homes at the CIH Manchester Offsite Village in under 48 hours.

The economies of scale generated by building multiple houses in the same factory also dramatically reduces costs - a vital factor in the UK’s current housing climate.

Manchester-based company Urban Splash have multiple developments involving 2 and 3 storey modular townhouses
(Image via Urban Splash)

Companies like Legal & General (who set up their own factory outside Leeds, delivering 4,000 homes per year), Goldman Sachs (who recently invested £75 million into Derbyshire modular housing company TopHat) and Places for People (who announced a £100 million joint venture with ilke Homes) are banking on the trend for modular housing to continue.

But will the large initial costs of setting up volumetric module construction, the difficulties in introducing the new construction methods to a traditional market and the public perception of “prefabs” hold it back. Is modular construction really the future of housing, or is it just a passing trend?

Have your say

Will modular housing become an increasingly large part of the marketplace? Would you buy a prefabricated house or would you rely on more traditional construction methods? Vote in our poll at the top of this page, leave your comments below or join the conversation in the new EngineeringPro Community forum.

The results will be published along with the best comments on Monday 10th June and will be featured in next week’s EngineeringPro newsletter.

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Poll: Is modular construction the future of housing? - Time to read 3 min
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