Housing levels are in crisis worldwide. In 2017, reports suggest that the number of people living in cities worldwide that were unable to afford safe and secure housing rose to 1.2 Billion. The need for affordable housing requires creative solutions. Can modular housing techniques offer this? Modular style construction has been in existence in varying formats for some time. Although before this style of construction has associations with temporary buildings that take little time to build, this is not so. Today modular style solutions are in every area of construction including hospitals, industrial premises, schools, and housing.
How is a modular building constructed?
The major difference in the construction technique of modular housing is the fabrication of individual sections in a well-equipped health and safety friendly industrial environment. The components being easily constructed at a later stage at site that the building is required.
What are the benefits of this style of construction?
- Since the components are in an industrial environment there are no delays or damage caused by harsh weather.
- The construction environment also allows the use of modern eco-friendly thermally beneficial materials.
- During fabrication of the services of the section water pipes and electrical cables are pre-installed ready for connection during building on site. This eliminates the problems of organizing the various trades at the proper times.
- The building construction is much easier and efficient since it takes little time to connect the modules to create a weather-tight building that is ready for completion.
With the industrial construction, lack of weather problems and no delay in trades having access to the modules the property takes half of the time to complete compared to conventional construction methods.
Does this type of conduction result in boring housing?
Although using industrial production techniques and despite standardization in the modules a high degree of bespoke developments is still available since it is building of the modules that make sure flexibility is possible. It is, in fact, possible that a higher level of individualization could be available at a lower cost. This form of construction is comparable to a children’s Meccano set. The set can build many items, with the only limitation being the number of each part in the box. This style of construction may sound complicated but companies are providing a one-stop solution that covers all aspects of the supply of modular housing.
Why do these benefits mean that more affordable housing will be available?
The simple answer to this question is that as Henry Ford discovered with his mass production techniques it is possible to produce large numbers at low-cost. Since fewer people are necessary for modular design cheaper products and a quicker build time creates a low unit cost. It is not possible to solve to the housing crisis purely by building more houses at a quicker rate. A higher level of affordable housing must form a part of the programme. Quality of the housing is also important as if the housing is not a long-lasting product then the housing problem will surface when the properties deteriorate beyond usefulness.