Are 'Flat-Pack' Homes The Solution To The Housing Shortage?

“Flat-pack” houses could end Britain’s housing crisis which is pushing property prices beyond many first-time buyers’ reach, causing them to abandon hopes of home ownership.

Embracing “modular homes”, where large parts of a property are manufactured in factories and then transported to building sites for final assembly, would speed up house building, according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME).

In a new report the body argues that modular homes would help the UK build the 250,000 new homes needed each year for the next two decades as the population booms, compared with the current rate of about 120,000.

Dr Tim Fox, author of the IME study, called for the Government to support off-site construction technology with incentives, saying that as well as providing a greater number of homes because modular construction is faster, they also deliver more environmentally friendly properties.

More efficient, modern construction in factories rather than using bricks and mortar on site means modular homes use fewer resources to build and are more energy efficient once completed.

As well as delivering cheaper homes, flat-pack homes could also boost the country’s manufacturing and skills base, the IME added.

“The UK is in the middle of an acute housing crisis,” said Dr Fox. “The Government needs to demonstrate real ambition, leadership and innovation, not make small piecemeal changes, if it is going to solve the UK’s housing crisis. Overhauling the way the UK constructs homes could be the quickest and most effective way of doing this.”

He added that modular construction has moved on since post-war prefabricated homes and controversial “system-built” houses of the 1960s and 1970s.

Changing the way Britain build its homes won the support of the Home Builders Federation (HBF), which said Britain is a among the world's leaders in the modular construction.

“It is not just about making prefabs anymore,” said a HBF spokesman. “It’s manufacturing process that is very high quality and brings great advantages. Anything we can do to solve the housing crisis is needed and this is just one way of speeding up the construction process.” 


Chris Sellars
Solicitor, Executive Director, Head of Residential Property Services

Banner Jones Solicitors
24 Glumangate
Tel 01246 560560
Fax 01246 220390
Email: info@bannerjones.co.uk