Solving the UK Housing Problem: Is Modular the Answer?
It is a fact that in the UK there is an acute shortage of housing, like many other parts of the world. This can be attributed to many reasons but in the main it relates to people moving to larger towns and cities in search of employment opportunities, higher rents being charged and fewer properties being available. In essence, it boils down to the demand exceeding the available housing on offer.
The current housing situation in the UK
In the UK research by government and the current statistics indicate an acute shortage of housing that aggravates the numbers of so-called “Rough Sleepers” which in turn leads to huge sums of money being spent by local government to house these vulnerable families in temporary accommodation. During March 2017 a homelessness report was published by the UK’s National Audit Office indicating more than 77,240 households being housed in temporary accommodation in England at a cost about £1 billion per annum. These figures can only increase in future with policy decisions like Brexit possible increasing the need for more housing. The shortage of housing in the UK is further influenced by increased demand for housing within certain areas in the urban environment by economically active people who moved into the areas.
Stumbling blocks in the provision of housing
One of the biggest obstacles in the provision of adequate housing is the lack of available land within developed areas on which housing projects can take place. Secondly, there is a shortage of skilled people that can participate in the projects and also the high cost involved. Lastly, there is also the increased pressure that our existing construction methods place on the environment. Obtaining approval by the Planning Commission and permission to start with the development can also take quite a length of time.
Modular Housing Presents a Possible Solution
Worldwide there is a trend towards the building of more ecologically friendly houses and buildings in which the selection of materials and energy efficiency plays a vital role. Some of the world’s largest techno companies play a major role in pushing the boundaries on modular housing with research and plans for their own building needs. The construction game Lego also contributed to changing the paradigm with regard to the use of modular construction.
Modular housing with its different advantages makes it one of the most viable solutions to the problem of housing across England, it offers the following advantages;
The majority of components of the modular house can be manufactured off-site in a factory environment and transported to the construction site.
Lower wastage of materials during construction, a shorter construction time, and smaller foundations are needed.
Smaller carbon footprint during manufacturing with the possibility of recycling materials and repurposing of existing industrial and commercial buildings, the so-called brownfields.
The versatility of design and the possibility to design and manufacture buildings to comply with all planning commission requirements, high-quality finishing and the advantage of having a bespoke design.
One of the biggest benefits is the possibility to move the modular construction with relative ease to a new site or repurpose it for a new or permanent use.
The use of modular construction to create high-density apartment buildings with units being able to be stacked to form apartment buildings using different eco-friendly materials.
Smaller sites like garage stands can be very easily utilised for housing by building a modular house on it which will require smaller foundations and fewer excavations. The house can easily fit into any neighbourhood with its bespoke design.