Arthur investigates the implications that the revival of modular housing could have on the social housing sector.
Modular housing has been around for a very long time, it just used to be less high-tech and called pre-fab homes. But now, it is starting to make a comeback and in a big way. Modular homes are built in a controlled environment before being transported to their final location where they are put together by professionals. They take a fraction of the time a traditionally built house takes to be erected and, normally, cost a fraction of the price. Whilst the old ‘pre-fabs’ were looked at as a cheap, short-term solution to major housing issues, the new modular homes could be a long-term solution.
New modular houses are built to last. Due to the way it is constructed, modular housing able to contain many technological innovations. Modular homes are at the forefront of areas such as being green; they can be made with recycled goods rather than other raw materials; they can be extremely economic with the amount of energy they use due to insulation; they can be designed to be at one with their environment, due to the nature of the building. Modular housing also comes in all shapes and sizes, It could be a simple bungalow or or large tower block. The latter is currently being built in Plymouth, Devon, where a modular housing block is set to become the tallest building in the city.
In a world that appears to be ever-increasingly short of homes, driving up prices, meaning that even if houses become available, most of the population is priced out of owning them, modular housing could be a step in the right direction. One area that they may become very popular is with housing associations. Since their funding was cut by the government, housing associations have found it difficult to maintain the level of construction needed. Now, with the revival of modular housing, there is the potential for them to play catch up in a cost effective way.