Can modular housing solve the housing crisis?
The UK Government has targeted housebuilders to build one million homes by 2020. It is a target that looks increasingly distant despite consensus across the political divide and an acceptance by the industry that strides need to be made.
The pace of turnaround for new homes is hotting up. According to Government figures some 217,000 were delivered to the market in 2017 – an increase on the previous year and the highest rate for a decade.
But the Government cannot afford to let that rate drop. If the housebuilding sector is to make real in- roads into delivering affordable, quality housing to all UK citizens then that rate has to be the norm rather than the exception it is currently.
Which is easier said than done. Housebuilders are battling against a perfect storm of an uncertain economy, skills shortages and planning hold-ups. The uncertain economy will fix itself in time but the planning hold-ups and skills shortages may take a while longer. But fixed they must be.
The tough target of one million new homes by 2020 will remain little more than wishful thinking unless the sector, the money-men and the general public change their minds on Modern Methods of Construction.
At present the UK housing sector is rife with public misconception. It is proving difficult for MMC to shake off the association with post-war concrete prefabs and the cold, damp low-rise homes they provided.