A new report has called on the government and housebuilders to come together and pave the way to create more UK homes using modular construction.
Among the recommendations within the report are calls for government support – both financially through grants and subsidies for developers using modular technologies, and through planning policy incentives. It also calls for industry standards and warranties akin to traditional builds, something the authors say will ‘provide certainty and confidence’ not only for housebuilders, but for end users and for traditional lenders who are sometimes cautious of loaning on modular homes.
The answer, the report says, lies in systematic data capture and evidence collection by housebuilders to create a strong evidence base of the benefits of offsite housing construction and MMC – something which would help to combat customers’ mistrust, overcome risk aversion, and boost confidence among lenders.
Scott Black, Group Executive Director – Development at Places for People, said: “There are so many potential benefits to creating homes using modular technologies, but there are a host of current barriers and constraints that need addressing.
“Issues such as regulatory and approval barriers, skills shortages in the factories and a lack of cross-sector support are hindering the growth of modular construction – slowing down the take up. As an industry, we have the vision and the capabilities, but we need to pull together to address the barriers outlined in this report, and pave the way for a sustainable, modular future, one underpinned by an adequately skilled workforce who can drive the technology forward – helping establish it as a credible building practice for future consumers.”
Gemma Burgess, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research at The University of Cambridge, who co-authored the piece added: “Another important factor is the need for investment in the development of a different set of skills than those used on traditional sites.
“This can be achieved by equipping the industry’s labour force with the necessary tools – including digital literacy and the use of new software and knowledge in offsite manufacture. This will all go hand in hand with retraining schemes and education programmes in collaboration with national and local government, education providers, industry bodies and the housebuilding industry.”
The Deploying Modular Housing in the UK report can be read here https://placesforpeople.co.uk/news/publications