The government is planning to help tackle the UK’s housing crisis by making it easier for offsite home builders to finance their projects. The goal is to encourage the construction of up to 100,000 units over the next three years.
According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph, a white paper to be published next month will include measures to encourage banks to lend to the builders of offsite home – that is, those assembled on site using factory-made modules. It is hoped that this will speed up delivery and lead to savings through economies of scale.
Offsite construction could provide a huge opportunity to increase housing supply and we want to see more innovation like this emulated across the house building sector– Gavin Barwell, housing minister
The Department for Communities and Local Government is not expected to set a specific target, however, government sources said it was hoped that the change would result in more than 100,000 prefabs being built over this parliament, helping the government reach its one million homes target by 2020
Construction Manager, GCR’s sister publication, reports today that although a number of companies such as Laing O’Rourke and Legal & General have entered the offsite arena, the method has failed to gain much traction in the UK.
Gavin Barwell, the housing minister, said: "Offsite construction could provide a huge opportunity to increase housing supply and we want to see more innovation like this emulated across the house building sector."
"The £3bn Home Building Fund will help build more than 225,000 new homes and provide loans for small firms, custom builders, offsite construction and essential infrastructure, creating thousands of new jobs in the process."
The government is looking at two areas of potential support. First, providing direct funding to help firms build new prefabs and second, convincing risk-averse lenders to give out more loans.
Ministers have visited Accord Group, a housing association in the west midlands, which claims it can produce a three-bedroom house from scratch in a day in its factory.
Pocket, a London-based firm building affordable flats for first-time buyers, has also been visited by Barwell and communities secretary Sajid Javid.
Image: Despite years of state promotion, prefab housing has not been widely adopted in the UK (Construction Manager)