Tuesday, February 6, 2018

British Modular Industry Continues to Ramp Up Production

One of Britain’s largest housebuilders hopes to start building factory-made homes this year with the aim that up to a quarter of its homes could eventually be prefabricated.

Berkeley Homes acquired a 160,000 sq ft site in Ebbsfleet, Kent, last year to build modular homes. The factory will eventually produce about 1,000 homes a year. Once built they can be installed in half a day. Berkeley builds about 4,000 homes a year. The company said last month that the use of modular construction was partly a response to the “skills crisis” facing the industry and to fears of a drop-off in the supply of workers from the EU.

If only large US tract builders would follow their lead. There is a drive towards new “preengineered” housing to help to relieve an acute housing shortage in some parts of Britain. England needs to build about 300,000 new houses a year to meet demand, according to a 2016 House of Lords report. Last year 217,000 homes were added in England, the first time in a decade that the figure had exceeded 200,000. A spokesman for Berkeley said: “Construction of the factory could begin [this year]. Our real driver is the quality we can achieve with modular housing.”

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