Act of Faith

Prefab Comeback

Prefab housing suffers from bad stigma but building homes from premade parts can save time and costs.

Prefab  housing suffers from bad stigma due to the fact that some people saw the prefabs as ugly and characterless, and were afraid they would become slums – hardly the promised housing fit for heroes  following the second World War. However, building homes from pre-made parts can save time and money.  The term prefab or prefabrication often evokes thoughts of poor construction, substandard living conditions and a long-standing “temporary” solution.

Prefab dwellings are making a comeback driven by a lack of affordable housing, a rapidly growing economy and changing demographic trends.  

Methods Methods of Construction (Mmc) Offer Significant Potential to Minimise Construction Costs

The term ‘Modern Methods of Construction‘ refers to a collection of relatively new building construction techniques that aim to offer more advantages over traditional construction methods. Off-site construction (OSC) is a modern method of construction, based on off-site manufacturing of building elements.

With exponentially lower construction costs, quicker construction, reduced  labor costs and having the ability to achieve zero defects, MMC is gaining a lot of attention as the  potential answer to the UK’s housing crisis.

In a valiant attempt to strip away prefabricated housings’ bad rep are MMC with contemporary sleek designs, and constructed to withstand the test of time. MMC housing has the capability to deliver both quality and quantity housing to the tune of ‘ £50,000 per unit.

MMC units hold the promise of being extremely  energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. Many versions of MMC take into account how to utilise natural resources and reduce each unit’s carbon footprint. In addition, MMC also addresses environmental concerns by creating much less waste than a standard brick-and-mortar project. While it is plausible that a traditional build could hire a waste removal company who would have the ability to recycle up to 90 percent of the construction waste; with MMC projects, this will automatically happen.

M-house (pronounced “mouse
M-house (pronounced “mouse”)

There have already been a number of successful examples of MMC housing constructed in various parts of the United Kingdom. The M-house (pronounced “mouse”) is designed and constructed to last an upwards of 100 years. While Architect Alford Hall have created quality MMC apartment buildings proudly showcasing a patio and private entrance for each flat.

Architect Alford Hall
Architect Alford Hall
Compass House by AHMM
Compass House by AHMM

While many of the MMC homes  are still in their early years the upkeep and maintenance will be reduced by 50%  since the OSC  process lowers the risk of non-conformities.

MMC homes are being fabricated and designed to accommodate many different lifestyles, such as, two-story homes, tall six-story apartment buildings, single-family homes and log cabins are all available options for families looking at MMC.

While there is a plethora of design options available all MMC  OSC  projects have a common theme. The internal workings of the homes are fabricated off-site, while only the “outer skin” comes to fruition on-site. To even further streamline the process, it has been suggested that having a “catalog of pre-selected materials increases supplier relationships and makes the design process more streamlined.”

With the small sample available with progressive MMC systems, it is currently reasonable to conclude that using modern methods of construction to build homes can cost more than traditional home building procedures; due to the need for specialised MMC design consultants. However, outside of costs, MMC remains a faster home building method than traditional brick and block house building and is slowly  becoming a relevant front-runner to answer the  UK’s housing shortage.


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