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The rise of modular housing

You may have seen recent reports about the Government’s plans for 100,000 modular homes to be built by 2020, in an effort to help alleviate the country’s housing crisis. This is welcome news and long overdue. We have been supplying modular building companies with our cladding systems for over 25 years and during this time have seen how many have been experimenting with modular home concepts. Whatever the reasons were for these not taking off in a significant way at the time, we have always thought the idea was a sound way of mass producing new housing in a short space of time.

Around 10 years ago, modular building companies began to manufacture and install adaption pods for local authorities and housing associations who were upgrading their existing housing stock. A brick slip finish was often required for these pods to create a contiguous finish with the original brick built houses and our X-Clad system was ideal. These pods were very successful and modular houses seem to be the obvious and natural progression from this.

Much criticism towards the Government’s plans has been based on the quality and design of prefabricated housing developments constructed after WW2. However, today’s modular dwellings bear no resemblance to the old style prefabs, which were a quick fix to the post-war housing crisis. Advances in design, building technology and manufacturing processes mean that quality, attractive, energy efficient homes can be constructed quickly and accurately. We have already been supplying a number of customers for this purpose for the past couple of years. Modular homes are being constructed around the country and, to the untrained eye, are largely indistinguishable from other traditionally built new homes.

Given the fact that the housing shortage (not to mention the skills shortage) is never out of the press for long, this is an opportunity to change our mindset about how houses may be built in the future. As advocates of modern and innovative building solutions, we welcome this news and believe there is a place for larger scale housing developments that use alternative construction methods.