It’s called Flex Space: adaptable real estate solutions for the home and workplace, addressing rapidly evolving changes in demand and product standards. No longer is it enough just to build a twelve story concrete block in the centre of town, hoping (praying perhaps) to fill it with residential and commercial tenants: because business owners don’t want (or need) those vast fields of space anymore, and those in housing need can’t wait two years for the monolith to be built up in a field of mud, steel and bricks. In the wake of COVID 19, office workers have become home workers, and there’s a worldwide shortage of affordable housing too. COVID has changed everything…
That’s why some of the world’s leading real estate companies are now re-formatting their platforms and services to embrace new technologies, staying on the front foot to add value and flexibility in these fast changing times.
According to a recent report from JLL (www.us.jll.com), 67% of decision makers in construction are either planning to, or already have, embraced Flex Space as part of their strategic objectives: so for sure, if ever innovative construction was a niche sector, it’s not a niche anymore. Optimising that crucial mix between asset efficiency and speed of delivery has become a priority.
Plug and Play Technology
The next step involves offering a more expansive and responsive product, so technology is predictably part of the equation: digital solutions that radically enhance standards by plugging directly into environmental systems, real time access to value added spaces and critical add ins, like life support systems in those new Nightingale Hospitals. It’s a “plug and play” operating model…and when it comes to Technology, Modular Construction is at the centre of everything: with an operating model that delivers space, people and technology at the core of the asset itself.
Sustainability and Durability
Modular Construction also typically re-uses 80% of its building components, fitting in perfectly with the demands of the Circular Economy (www.oecd.org): prolonging the useful lifespan of materials by combining modularity with durability and reducing embodied energy. A bio-composite exterior panel, for example, can reduce energy levels by up to 50% compared with conventional construction materials.
Speed of Delivery
And as for speed of delivery, modular buildings can be completed three times faster than their conventional counterparts: helping meet the needs of millions of people across the planet who are currently homeless or in housing need.
In their snappily titled report, “Build Homes, Build Jobs, Build Innovation”, Cast Consultancy concluded Modular Construction was flexed to deliver up to 75,000 new homes every year in the UK alone (www.cast-consultancy.com): Chief Executive Mark Farmer concluded that, unlike mud, steel and brick alternatives, Modular Technologies not only increase the pace of delivery in these unprecedented times, but also boost productivity, increase quality and significantly reduce carbon emissions. A Paper produced by Herriot Watt University found adoption of Modular technologies reduced emissions by 40% compared with conventional systems.
With COVID clearly in mind, Cast also drew attention to the significant additional benefits of offsite construction, which can be more readily adapted to the demands of lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures.
So all in all, as Mr Farmer said, Modular Construction is “the single biggest game changer when it comes to building more homes”: unsurprisingly the UK Government has taken up the theme and now plans a major new investment programme based on modular construction. The UK Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, is publically committed to Modular becoming “a significant part of our future housing investment plans”.
Who can blame him? Modular Technologies are all flexed and ready to go…
The world is changing beneath our feet; we need to make the most of what we have. Every passing day makes it clearer that when it comes to the future of global housing policy, Modular Construction has the answers: faster, sustainable and better adapted to the needs of our changing world.
We need to build better…we need to do the best for our future