New wave of 'prefabs' to sprout up across Britain

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BRITAIN-ECONOMY-HOUSING-CONSTRUCTION

Ministers are planning a new wave of prefabricated homes in a drive to solve Britain's housing crisis, it has been reported.

More than 100,000 pre-packed "modular" homes could be constructed as the Government looks at ways to meet its target to provide one million new homes by 2020, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

A Government white paper due out next month will include measures to encourage banks to lend to firms which construct the homes off-site before delivering them to their final destination, the newspaper said.

The initiative recalls the reconstruction drive which followed the Second World War as ready-made homes - dubbed "prefabs" - sprung up across the country as the government sought to house families bombed out of their homes by the Germans.

While the prefab nickname of the 1940s homes was often a byword for poor quality, improvements in technology mean that such concerns are no longer an issue.

Ministers were said to have been impressed the fact that some of the new generation of prefabs could be put up on site in as little as 48 hours, as well as the potential cost advantages.

The Sunday Telegraph quoted a Government source as saying: "The first and most obvious advantage is speeding up the building of housing. There is pretty good evidence that if you did it at scale it is cheaper."

Ministers are understood to be considering a range of offsite construction methods made possible by modern materials and manufacturing techniques.

Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell said: "Offsite construction could provide a huge opportunity to increase housing supply and we want to see more innovation like this emulated across the housebuilding sector.

"The £3 billion 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."