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Modular off-site building could be the solution to the UK’s housing crisis, says IMechE

A new report has called on the Government to provide more incentives to encourage off-site construction and better quality homes in a bid to solve the UK’s housing crisis.
The UK House Building: Manufacturing Affordable Quality Homes report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers calls for the introduction of a comprehensive housing market reform programme aimed at growing the self-build sector, supported by UK-based off-site manufacturers, to supply at least 50% of market demand (125,000 homes a year in England) by 2030.

The report also recommends that the Government reverse policies which discourage the construction of quality, sustainable housing and that more work should be done to diversify UK house building, by opening up opportunities to self-builders, local authorities and housing associations.

Dr Tim Fox, lead author of the report and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The UK is in the middle of an acute housing crisis. Current annual construction levels are typically less than half of the estimated 250,000 new homes this country needs built every year through to at least the 2030s.

“The new Government needs to demonstrate real ambition, leadership and innovation, not make small piecemeal changes, if it is going to solve the UK’s housing crisis. Overhauling the way the UK constructs homes could be the quickest and most effective way of doing this.

“Off-site construction technologies have advanced greatly in recent years and can offer shorter build times, better quality, better energy efficiency, less waste, and lower costs for buyers.

“Government should also provide incentives to encourage self-builders, local authorities and housing associations to build more homes and introduce regulation to discourage builders from building small dwellings with poor energy efficiency and environmental performance.

“People living in the UK deserve affordable quality homes and it is about time that consumers had more say on the quality, design and size of their homes. Self-build is one very effective route to achieving this.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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