BSRIA in support of off-site build homes to address housing crisis

Published:  04 November, 2016

BSRIA is in support of a recent announcement that ‘volumetric off-site construction’ homes will be constructed to meet the housing crisis, as 1 million new homes are needed in the UK by 2020.

Unlike the post-war off-site builds of several decades ago, the new homes will reportedly be visually vibrant and eco-friendly. More importantly, they will be modern, spacious and offer increased thermal quality.

The homes will be built off-site in a factory then transported in the back of a lorry, and craned onto shallow foundations. Another main advantage is the economic viability: £50,000 per ‘cube’. As such, rents will be affordable rent at around £148 per week.

Lynne Ceeney, technical director at BSRIA, said: “Off-site manufacture is not a new method of construction, and many high-end homes such as those manufactured by HufHaus are popular and reliable. The move towards volume production of good quality, more affordable off-site manufactured homes is very welcome, with the associated increased rate in housing output offering an essential contribution to help young professionals, key workers and those starting their careers to get a foot on the housing ladder.

“It is good to see the industry taking steps towards off-site and advanced manufacturing techniques. As well as providing more housing, off-site manufacture can provide better working conditions for construction workers, shorter time on-site, and improved environmental performance in the construction process.”

Earlier in the year, Legal & General invested in a modular housing business, Legal & General Homes, and is planning to deliver around 3,000 homes a year from a leased mammoth warehouse in West Yorkshire. In the interim, Urban Splash has a target to deliver up to a 1,000 a year of its own modular ‘hoUSe’ product.

They join contractor Laing O’Rourke and architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and ZEDfactory in launching plans to deliver major off-site housing programmes.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners revealed plans in February to deliver up to 7,500 units a year of its off-site housing system, a version of which has been trialled at a 24-home project in Lewisham, South London. ZEDfactory is ready to deliver up to 5,000 zero carbon homes a year built on stilts above car parks. They are highly insulated timber frame pods while the roof is fitted with solar panels which provide 90 per cent of the unit’s energy.

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