When we think of prefab housing, most people imagine the static trailer park caravans, that are home to over 200,000 people in the UK. However, prefab is an extremely flexible building technique that is completely customisable. Furthermore, your home can be constructed extremely quickly, some in as little as five hours. No wonder that trend setters in building and architecture are using this innovative technique. Why is this so important?
Housing for all
In London, The Peabody Trust commissioned large modular developments – Baron’s Place and Murray Place. Another company, Cube Housing Solutions began to offer Cub Homes. These innovative buildings can be delivered within 12 weeks of ordering and focused on style. They have a smart interior, with high ceilings and glazed fronts making them feel spacious and roomy. The homes start at £88,500 – a small price to pay, considering that the average cost of a flat in London is over £400,000. Innovative buildings like Cub homes could actually mean an end to the housing crisis in Britain, especially as financial arrangements for prefab homes have now been approved by the National House Building Council.
One of the biggest advantages of prefab homes is the lack of carbon footprint. Because the majority of the construction is in a factory, there is 90% less waste that building an ordinary house. Running costs for ventilation, heat and light are also extremely low, because the homes are so well insulated. A Welsh company called Affresol have gone one step further than this. Their prefabricated modular homes are made from four tonnes of recycled plastic that was originally destined for landfill. This kind of forward thinking is something that could change the landscape for affordable housing in Britain.
One of the ways that prefab really comes into its own, is for building modular homes and extensions. Ecospace are one of the many companies offering loft conversions, modular extensions and garden buildings, starting at around £10,000. They are far more affordable than adding bricks and mortar to your existing building. Instead of a granny annexe, you can by a self-contained small home for around £30,000. For growing families, being able to add a module when you need to, without having to relocate has enormous advantages – it helps communities to stay together.
Looking to the future
In Knaresborough, Yorkshire, two and three bedroom prefabricated homes are already being produced for the mass market. Run by Ilke Homes, they are aiming to make 2,000 a year. Another factory, run by Legal and General is producing 3,500 new homes a year. Developers are promising that they will be of a higher standard than those built by more traditional methods. This is just scratching the surface of what is possible as the housing industry moves forward.
Prefab housing can revolutionise the options available for low income families. They can be quickly made, constructed and most importantly, customised if changes come along. Prefab could really be the future.