Is it time that we started taking modular construction seriously?


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Modular construction is not a new term but, in the current climate, has become the buzzword to describe a whole range of methods relating to off-site fabrication, including component, and volumetric systems.

In early 2018, Trowers & Hamlins hosted a roundtable event aimed at exploring the issues around modular construction, entitled “Is Modular the Answer to the Housing Crisis?” The session was chaired by Mark Farmer, Founding Director and CEO of Cast and the author of “Modernise or Die” - the October 2016 Government review of the construction labour market model.

The session was attended by a number of the leading players in the modular and off-site fabrication sector, with representatives of some of the most active organisations in this arena, including The Berkeley Group, Legal & General and Swan Housing Association. Other attendees represented the hotel and leisure (Whitbread, TowerEight), senior living (Castleoak) and education sectors (Net Zero Buildings).

Renewed interest in modular and off-site fabrication has been prompted by the Government’s 2017 Budget aspiration that the UK delivers 300,000 new homes per year by 2020; a considerable challenge given the current level of delivery at around 217,000 homes per year. This has moved the issue to the top of the political agenda and prompted discussion about how the market can deliver this ambitious target in the most cost-effective and time-efficient manner.

Trowers’ roundtable event addressed issues that went wider than simply increasing supply in the housing market, including innovations in technology, how to maintain quality, requirements for financial investment, the potential for more high-performance buildings, including environmental sustainability, and the socio-economic impact of embracing modular construction.

To read the full report on modular construction, please click here.

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