Are prefabricated houses making a come back?
Author: Jonathan Whiting
Published: Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Prefabricated homes (or prefabs) were hugely popular in the UK after the Second World War. A housing shortage meant that these houses, bought cheaply and assembled quickly, were built all over the UK.
Whilst prefab homes remained popular in countries such as the US and Germany, they seem to have fallen out of popularity in Britain - until now.
We’ve seen a rise in the number of prefab homes being built across the UK, with reports of a number of planned new prefabricated housing developments for 2016 and beyond.
For example, in July 2016, a terraced block of 43 new prefabricated homes was built in New Islington, Manchester. The development, named ‘HoUSe’, was designed by British architects shedkm. The homes are proving so popular with residents that shedkm plans to build 800 of them in Tyne and Wear later this year.
Three reasons why prefab homes could make a comeback in the UK
1. Quick to build
Prefab homes consist of premade wooden frames that are fitted into place on site. Removing the need for traditional bricks and mortar, this means that a terraced house could be assembled in three to eight weeks!
So prefab homes could provide a quick solution to the housing shortage in the UK.
2. Relatively cheap to build and low maintenance costs
Costs for a prefabricated home vary widely, depending on the design and size of the build.
However, most industry experts would agree that designing and ordering prefabricated wooden frames to be fitted into place on-site tends to be much cheaper than designing and building a bespoke home through traditional building methods.
In terms of building or replacing housing estates with prefab homes, the cost is certainly cheaper – around £100,000 per house for the wooden frames ordered in for the Manchester development.
And the good news is that new prefab homes are built sustainably and designed to save energy, so should result in lower maintenance and energy costs for homeowners compared to older, less modern housing.
Prefab homes could also provide a solution to the shortage of cheap, affordable housing in the UK.
3. Flexibility and custom-built design!
Prefab homes are proving popular amongst people who want to design and build a bespoke home of their from scratch. Shows such as Grand Designs have introduced the British public to creating large builds this way, with homeowners creating their own designs then ordering the wooden frames in to be built on site.
And, even with large housing builds, such as the HoUSe development in Manchester, there’s flexibility in terms of design. Though each of the houses looks the same from the outside, the architects were able to give each homeowner flexibility in terms of the internal layout of their house. Residents were able to choose from a range of layouts and even specify how many bedrooms were built.
With all of these benefits, could we be about to see a rise in the number of prefab homes being built across the UK to rival that seen in the 1950’s? Watch this space!