Above: A Premier Modular factory, photo by Yelo Architects
Factory built housing (or modular housing) refers to homes which are constructed off-site, usually bespoke made in specialist factories, and then delivered to site and assembled. Developers and house builders are investing more and more into this process and therefore modular construction is becoming much more commonplace.
Modular Housing has historically been associated with concerns with quality and longevity. The majority of these concerns stem from the reputation of pre-fab homes that were rapidly erected post-WWII to alleviate the housing crisis, and sacrificed quality for speed.
Nowadays strict quality control in modular factories has resulted in units that can meet the highest building standards. Presently modular construction is used for student housing, hospitals, one-off homes and large scale residential developments with no trade offs in terms of quality.
Why build homes in factories?
- Factory building homes offers large time savings. Factory construction is unaffected by the UK’s notorious climate and weather meaning less delays on site and issues with water damage - also resulting in potential massive cost savings. Research has shown that modular construction could potentially cut construction times in half [source].
- Faster build times means units can be rented or sold sooner resulting in a quicker return of investment.
- Factory building homes on a production line with a specialist team at each stage ensures that the homes are of superior quality due to repetition and expertise. This also minimises any defects and snagging that needs to be carried out.
- Factory built homes are often based on a particular build system of cassettes which form the structure of each module. As these modules are often the same the manufacturers can secure large quantities of the same materials at better prices, helping to lower the overall price.
- Factory built housing is very versatile and particularly well suited to projects that would be challenging to deliver in a traditional build method. A good example of this is rooftop developments as prefabricated modules can be craned into position in a matter of days - this minimises disruption if there are residents in the existing building. Certain systems can also offer major weight or structure benefits; for example factory built modules based on light gauge steel are often lighter than any traditional build method.
To summarise, the key benefits of prefabricated buildings are speed, quality, and cost certainty. These are all positives that apply to both smaller one-off builds and large scale developments, so if you have a potential project that could benefit by going modular get in touch with us.
Next week we’ll be exploring what makes a successful modular build and one of our own designs for terraced modular housing - here’s a little preview below!