In the late 1950s, greater than a decade once the war and not long after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked with a house-building programme the like in which we have never seen before or since.
There is suddenly a requirement for more than a quarter of any million new homes every year as new towns were manufactured to replace that old slums and families sought more space to fit the infant boom. In order to meet this, a lot of houses were built in factories after which assembled on location.
These prefab house came to be as closely linked to the next couple of years as Billy Bremner or the Beatles. In fact, it was actually something of any exaggeration, since they never comprised a lot more than 15% newest builds within an era where the high rises were a bigger game changer.
In early 1970s, prefabs suddenly went out of style, with good rises not far behind. The demand for such speedy building had reduced. Insurance carriers had begun refusing to insure them because it became clear that there were numerous troubles with the construction techniques they would not last nearly provided that 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 making a comeback – though currently it will always be called off-site construction. In case the momentum keeps increasing, it will almost certainly come to dominate house building across the UK as well as elsewhere in a manner that 06dexspky happened from the 1950s and 1960s.
Scotland has been leading the way. Partly this is certainly due to timber frame housing, which is a lot more extensive north of the border. Timber frames became popular in Aberdeenshire inside the 1980s to fulfill the nascent oil and gas industry, and then gradually spread for some other areas of Scotland.
In the early 2000s, framing companies began merging with some other players including insulators and gradually took advantage of their new strength in depth to go into building kit houses offsite. From the pre-recession peak of 2007, off-site new build had grown from under 10% of new Scottish houses to between 25% and 30%.
By that year, the total quantity of new houses being built in the UK was around 200,000. That fell to just over 110,000 as demand collapsed. After several lean years it really is on the up again (see image), fuelled by the UK Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
But many experts agree it is going to have to develop far more quickly if we will satisfy demand in the future. Great Britain Government estimates that we should build 260,000 houses every year in England and Wales between 2015 and 2031 and 35,000 each year in Scotland.
Housing booms past and future. Edinburgh Napier
Not just are these targets way prior to everything we were building even in the pre-recession peak, there are numerous other pressures on construction:
replacing skilled workers who definitely have left the marketplace sector in the recession and are not returning;
high average age in certain lines of work, meaning increasing retirement rates;
considerable amounts of refurbishment to existing housing stock;
delays to utility connections on work sites;
pressure on prices and workers from demand off their sectors for example oil and gas and major infrastructure works best for rail, road and power stations.
When building stops working
Many people assume that offsite will be the answer. Based on case studies by Build Offsite, the sector body, the savings incorporate a 10% to 15% decline in the expense of building; and a 40% decrease in vehicle movements.
It can also help with builders’ mounting energy performance requirements. House building has been put underneath the microscope in recent years to find out where improvements can be created – as an example one recent research area continues to be improving buildings’ external insulated fabric.
Off-site manufacturing aids in this as it gives builders additional control over each stage from the construction process. In addition, it means it is possible to reduce waste and possess better power over the sorts of waste being generated, while implementing techniques popular with other sectors like just-in-time delivery.
To utilize this potential, steel structure warehouse for example Kingspan, CCG and Stewart Milne are already investing heavily in facilities through the recession years.
Inspired with the lean construction types of auto producers such as Ford and Toyota, plants have 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 varied other materials; when in Scotland it is now over 50%.
CCG’s offsite factory near Glasgow. Edinburgh Napier University
With the aid of the likes for the future Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, that can bring together academics and researchers from 11 universities, these manufacturers are developing increasingly advanced assembly techniques that will include smart technology, intelligent membranes and even 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, a lot more than 70% of brand new Scottish homes will probably be built in this manner, while the rest of the UK will show the identical upward momentum. A number of the prefabricated homes are also attracting interest from China, Europe, Brazil and Russia, where this segment has yet to adopt off.
Having got off-site construction so wrong the first time around, this period promises to be very different. Just do the building industry a favour: don’t call it prefab.