“Our Broken Housing Market is one of the greatest barriers to progress”: that’s not Jeremy Corby or Bernie Sanders, or even some green haired social agitator…that’s the Conservative MP for Maidenhead, Theresa May (remember her). And to drive the message home for those with a short attention span, her Government even called its 2017 Housing Policy “Fixing our Broken Housing Market”: but no matter how clear the message, it was eventually overwhelmed by Brexit, and Brexit did for Theresa May too. The Policy Paper was consigned to the waste paper basket and a commitment to build 300,000 new homes every year by the middle of the decade died on its knees: last year fewer than 60,000 new affordable homes were built in Britain…But Modular Construction can fix all that.
The housing market is broken
Like her or loathe her (and plenty do both), Theresa May got that one right…the housing market is broken. Not just in the United Kingdom but across the globe, with rising levels of homelessness and housing need. So if it’s broken why aren’t we fixing it? Why are dinosaur developers still struggling with bricks in the mud, like a mediaeval crofter fumbling with wattle and daub?
Some of the of the key answers are in that discarded Policy Paper, so it’s worth fishing it out of the bin, and when you do, take a look at one section in particular: “Supporting Developers to build out more quickly”.
Skip over the unpalatable reference for a “strategic licensing of protected species” (basically allowing building on nature reserves, so tough luck on the ducks), that one can stay in the waste paper basket: focus instead on the all important key word: “quickly”. Construction has been doing anything but for years, with an overall slowdown of 15% in UK delivery rates in the decade up to 2018: a trend that is sadly reflected across the planet (www.ourworldindata.org).
A commitment to modular construction
That’s why Theresa May’s Government committed itself to Modular Construction: because it can produce affordable homes 30% faster than conventional technologies, maximising design efficiencies through production of basic components in a climate controlled environment (without sloshing about in the mud), as well as reducing the disruptions anyone who has ever set foot on a building site will be all too familiar with.
And it’s not just a question of speed of delivery. The average cost of building a traditional housing unit is £150,000, but by adopting modular technologies the bottom line spend is reduced by securing optimal delivery times and minimal labour costs.
The UK Policy Paper estimated that by prefabricating units offsite overall construction budgets could be reduced by as much as 25%. And they’re more environmentally friendly too…reducing waste levels by up to 50%, so that means less trucks chugging painfully to the landfill site as well. Modular buildings are better designed, better insulated and greener, reducing energy consumption by up to 20%.
History may look kindly yet on Theresa May…
Modulex® (www.modulexglobal.com) is the world’s largest steel modular building company. It was established by Red Ribbon (www.redribbon.co) to harness the full potential of fast evolving technologies and deliver at pace to meet the evolving needs of the community.
Especially in these testing times, we need to learn to make the most of what we already have: and when it comes to housing need across the Planet, that means Modular Construction.
We need to build better on pre COVID policies and do our best for the future…