The ongoing shortage of available housing in the UK has been a national concern for decades. The Government has vowed to deliver a million new homes by 2020, but with limited amounts of available land and a skilled labour shortage, both the Government and the homebuilding industry need to change how homes are built if that goal is to be attained.
The Lyons Review, which was updated last year, recommended supporting the expansion of modern off-site manufacturing (OSM), another term for factory built homes. In its recent White Paper, the Government revealed initiatives to support this undertaking. They include:
- The Home Builders’ Fund and Accelerated Construction Programme to encourage investors and create more opportunities to use OSM
- A joint working group with valuers, lenders, and the industry to make mortgages available for OSM properties
- Consideration of opportunities for OSM companies to acquire funding for growth
OSM is essentially a type of home built off-site in a factory instead of on-site using traditional methods. Some forms of constructions use modular elements such as bedrooms craned in steel frames and bathroom pods. Others are systems in which wall, floors, and ceilings arrive on-site flat-packed.
OSM housing is widely regarded as a solution to a widespread construction problem. The UK government has been attempting to encourage manufacturing since 2010 with substantial financial support and widespread praise, so the growing use of OSM helps it boost both manufacturing and housing supply.