UK property developer Berkeley Group has been granted planning permission to build a manufacturing plant for the construction of modular homes. Located in in Ebbsfleet Garden City, Kent, the factory will have capacity to deliver up to 1,000 properties a year, complete with plumbing, electrics and internal finishing, including flooring and fittings.
Modular housebuilder NHouse is also setting up a factory in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire and claims that it can build a house in 20 days. The brainchild of award winning architect Richard Hywel Evans, the NHouse is marketed as a spacious, affordable and contemporary two storey, three-bedroom modular home. It can be made using off-site construction techniques and delivered and set up anywhere. Featuring more windows, higher ceilings and space than any other newly built home in its price range, NHouse is ecofriendly with low running costs. It features design led styling, lifestyle embedded technology and generous proportions.
A drawing of Berkeley Group’s manufacturing plant for the construction of modular homes, which will have capacity to deliver up to 1,000 properties a year.
These advances come in the wake of moves by other developers, including Legal and General and Urban Splash, to launch prefab home divisions, largely prompted by skills shortages in the construction sector caused by an ageing workforce and the departure of skilled overseas workers due to Brexit.
Meanwhile a recent report in The Times newspaper indicated overseas expertise was being harnessed to drive new building methodologies, exemplified by The China National Building Material Company’s recent move to partner with the housing association Your Housing Group and developer Welink Group in a £2.5 billion venture. The move will see the construction of 25,000 modular homes over the next five years in Yorkshire, the northwest and the Midlands.
More than 15,000 homes are currently built offsite each year in the UK. The UK government wants to raise the figure to 100,000 a year by 2020.■