Beat the Housing Crisis with Affordable, Eco Friendly Off-Site Construction

// the building envelope

We have all seen the reports on the on-going housing crisis. The prediction is that at least 200,000 new homes will need to be built year on year until 2020 to avert this situation.

Despite some upturn in house building output last year; many analysts believe the industry remains at least 100,000 houses a year short to meet demand. 76% of house builders themselves have said that 180,000 or less is achievable with only 6% saying that 200,000 could be achieved on a regular annual basis.

A number of house builders now state that skill shortage has overtaken planning and land availability as the biggest constraint on their businesses.  To answer this gap in the market Premier Modular Limited developed an innovative modular building system. This highly efficient light gauge steel frame based, factory engineered product is constructed by skilled assembly teams in the company’s 22 acre site in Yorkshire.

Director, David Harris, points out that the houses are assembled not by traditionally skilled tradesmen but rather by manufacturing and engineering trained factory operatives. This opens up the possibility of significantly contributing to the shortage without the need for finding more scarce traditional resource that is clearly not available in the UK.

These engineered and factory assembled products offer considerable advantages in many areas.
Firstly manufacturing housing in this manner offers significant time benefits. As the houses are manufactured on a flow line there is no risk of late delivery. Houses can be manufactured at a rate of twenty per week with no more than a four week construction time.

Modules are constructed to exacting quality levels in the controlled factory environment and with as much as 75% of the buildings manufactured offsite, the risk of accidents on site is greatly reduced.

Finally, as standard, the Premier housing product meets all 5 main elements to achieve a BRE Green Guide Rating of B or above and is designed to achieve a Code for Sustainable Housing Level 3 or above. The dwellings also meet the requirements of Life Time Homes.

Premier housing was designed from the outset as an affordable home and this is how it has been received in the market. Costs are obviously design and site dependent as this gives clients design flexibility but the project team will work with the client from day one to achieve value for money.

Running costs are also kept to a minimum as standard insulation values are 28% higher than building regulations, exceptional airtightness ratings can be achieved. Many other eco features are also available.

To complete the package Premier ensure houses are fully mortgageable by offering an insurance backed warranty package through Checkmate comparable to NHBC, which is accepted by 98.5% of lenders.

Premier is working on several housing projects across the UK and has just completed a sustainability driven project for a Housing Trust in Yorkshire; the drive from the Trust was to create the first Code-5 Social Housing in Hull. The houses were 3 bed, 5 person units and were designed to attain Level 5 in the Code for Sustainable Homes (CFSH) through the introduction of design initiatives which include:

  • Photovoltaic panels to generate electricity on site.
  • A communal rainwater harvesting tank.
  • Greywater recycled for flushing toilets.
  • Triple glazed windows & doors
  • Compliance with HCA size standards
  • Low energy light fittings to be installed throughout.
  • Restricted water usage per day, incorporating dual flush toilets and mixer taps/showers.
  • Using low embodied energy materials and improving efficiency through prefabricated construction
  • Compliance with Secure by Design.

In a market where an increased rate of build is required, building standards are increasing, sustainability is of growing importance, a reduction of accidents and incidents is expected despite the increase in activity and we have a diminishing pool of skilled tradesman, off-site construction can be the only answer.

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