is modular construction going mainstream in 2017?

29/01/2019

Modular construction is nothing new. The process of building structures off-site before transporting and putting them together has been going on for about 20 years.

Randstad CPE managing director Owen Goodhead explains why the method has gathered momentum and could lead to more construction jobs.

"When I was young I used to love playing with Lego. The easiest thing to build was a bright red wall or a technicolor road but as my collection grew so too did my ambition. Soon I was constructing hotels, spacecraft and towers. All it took was my imagination...and a deep bucket of bricks!

Modular construction sees buildings constructed off-site

"I was reminded of the Danish company last week when thinking about the year ahead and the exciting developments in construction. In particular I thought of modular construction, a method that sees buildings constructed off-site, transported to their site where they are then put together.

"Forget images of cheap prefab because unlike my Lego buildings, modular ones are structurally sound, have great environmental performance, look the same as any other and can cut production times by 50%.

"Processes run concurrently and projects are built in controlled environments where the British weather can’t reach. Costs are therefore more predictable. Modular is impressive not only for its technological feats but also for its potential to stimulate house building in the UK. 

UK housing target is 1m by 2020

"We need one million new homes by 2020 with the government planning to build 200,000 a year up until then. We missed that target by 50,000 in 2015 and Whitehall is now looking at modular as a possible answer to the shortage and as well as a way to solve skills shortages in the construction labour market.

"Modular might account for a small number of new-builds but like Lego it’s about starting small and getting bigger.”