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Robert Irving Burns

Prefabricated Homes: The Latest Solution to the Housing Shortage?

August 3, 2017    |   Panny Antoniou

As modular homes become more popular, they may prove to be a sustainable solution to London’s housing crisis.

In years gone by, prefabricated houses had a bad reputation. Associated with the massive building projects of the post-World War Two period, they were known for their undesirable appearance and the that most were originally envisioned as temporary accommodation. This perception is beginning to change now due to a wide variety of companies who are creating new, innovative, and very customisable accommodation from prefabricated parts. This form of construction has been envisaged by many of its advocates as a long term solution to London’s housing shortage, with trials of modular homes taking place in South-East London.

Living in an age where being environmentally friendly is regarded as being of utmost importance, prefabricated houses have a fraction of the carbon footprint of new buildings. This is because they are built almost entirely off site and result in a far more efficient use of resources. In addition to this, modular buildings are often much faster to construct, with one manufacturer claiming that they are able to go from enquiry to project completion in just 12 weeks.

Many critics of modular housing argue that the designs which can be created using modular pieces do not provide enough flexibility. This is because – much like a jigsaw – all the pieces must fit together for the design to work. However, as 3D printing technology becomes more advanced, there is a wider and wider array of different designs which people looking to build a new house may have.

Indeed, the primary obstacle which modular housing faces in the UK is the mistrust which the British public has of modular housing. This is primarily due to the bad experiences they have had with prefabricated homes built during the post-World War Two period. If these objections to modular housing can be overcome or allayed then there is no reason why modular housing cannot be the future of residential property in the UK.

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