Inside the late 1950s, over a decade once the war and not long after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked on a house-building programme the like which we have now never seen before or since.
There was clearly suddenly a necessity for over a quarter of the million new homes each year as new towns were created to replace the old slums and families sought more space to support the infant boom. In order to meet this, numerous houses were built in factories and after that assembled on location.
These prefabricated house came to be as closely associated with the next few years as Billy Bremner or the Beatles. In reality, this is actually something of any exaggeration, since they never comprised over 15% of brand new builds in an era the location where the high rises were a greater game changer.
During the early 1970s, prefabs suddenly went out from style, with good rises not far behind. The demand for such speedy building had reduced. Insurance companies had begun refusing to insure them because it became clear there were a lot of issues with the building techniques which they would not last nearly as long as people had hoped. Suddenly new homes comprised blocks and bricks and were between two and four storeys in height.
Yet whisper it, pre-fabrication is setting up a comeback – though these days it is always generally known as off-site construction. When the momentum keeps increasing, it will arrived at dominate house building throughout the UK and maybe elsewhere in a fashion that 06dexspky happened from the 1950s and 1960s.
Scotland has been leading the way. Partly this is as a result of timber frame housing, which is far more extensive north of the border. Timber frames became popular in Aberdeenshire from the 1980s to fulfill the nascent oil and gas industry, then gradually spread to many other parts of Scotland.
Through the early 2000s, framing companies began merging with many other players including insulators and gradually took benefit of their new strength comprehensive to move into building kit houses offsite. With the pre-recession peak of 2007, off-site new build had grown from under 10% of all new Scottish houses to between 25% and 30%.
By that year, the total amount of new houses being built in the united kingdom was around 200,000. Then it fell to merely over 110,000 as demand collapsed. After a number of lean years it is actually about the up again (see image), fuelled by the UK Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
But a majority of experts agree it is going to have to develop considerably more quickly if we are going to satisfy demand for future years. Great Britain Government estimates we will need to build 260,000 houses each year in England and Wales between 2015 and 2031 and 35,000 each and every year in Scotland.
Housing booms past and future. Edinburgh Napier
Not simply are these targets way in front of whatever we were building even through the pre-recession peak, there are various other pressures on construction:
replacing skilled workers who have left the industry sector during the recession and so are not returning;
high average age in some lines of work, meaning increasing retirement rates;
a lot of refurbishment to existing housing stock;
delays to utility connections on work sites;
pressure on prices and workers from demand using their company sectors like oil and gas and major infrastructure works well with rail, road and power stations.
When building breaks down
Many people feel that offsite is definitely the answer. Based on case studies by Build Offsite, the sector body, the savings include a 10% to 15% decrease in the expense of building; plus a 40% decline in vehicle movements.
It also helps with builders’ mounting energy performance requirements. House building is put within the microscope in recent years to understand where improvements can be done – by way of example one recent research area continues to be improving buildings’ external insulated fabric.
Off-site manufacturing aids in this as it gives builders more control over each stage in the construction process. In addition, it means you are able to reduce waste and also have better power over the sorts of waste being generated, while implementing techniques favored by other sectors including just-in-time delivery.
To take advantage of this potential, steel workshop for example Kingspan, CCG and Stewart Milne happen to be investing heavily in facilities during the recession years.
Inspired from the lean construction models of car makers like Ford and Toyota, plants emerged or expanded in places like Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, Derby and Motherwell. Off-site now comprises between 15% and 20% of house building in England and Wales, having moved beyond timber frames to various other materials; whilst in Scotland it is now over 50%.
CCG’s offsite factory near Glasgow. Edinburgh Napier University
With the aid of the likes of the future Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, which brings together academics and researchers from 11 universities, these manufacturers are developing increasingly advanced assembly techniques that will include smart technology, intelligent membranes as well as nanotech. To mirror these technologies and systems some believe the the off-site sector may change its name to Advanced Construction.
The proportion of off-site construction will undoubtedly keep growing. It is likely that by 2017, greater than 70% of brand new Scottish homes will likely be built in this manner, while the other UK can have a similar upward momentum. Some of the prefab homes will also be attracting interest from China, Europe, Brazil and Russia, where this segment has yet to adopt off.
Having got off-site construction so wrong the very first time around, this time promises to be really different. Do the property industry a favour: don’t consider it prefab.