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Inside the late 1950s, over a decade following the war and not long after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked with a house-building programme the like that we have now never seen before or since.

There was suddenly a desire for over a quarter of your million new homes annually as new towns were designed to replace the existing slums and families sought more space to accommodate the infant boom. To satisfy this, large numbers of houses were built-in factories and after that assembled on location.

These prefabricated house came to be as closely associated with the next few years as Billy Bremner or perhaps the Beatles. In reality, this is actually something of any exaggeration, given that they never comprised a lot more than 15% of the latest builds in an era where high rises were a greater game changer.

During the early 1970s, prefabs suddenly went away from style, with higher rises not far behind. The necessity for such speedy building had reduced. Insurance firms had begun refusing to insure them because it became clear there were numerous problems with the construction techniques that they can would not last nearly given that people had hoped. Suddenly new homes comprised blocks and bricks and were between two and four storeys in height.

Yet whisper it, pre-fabrication is creating a comeback – though nowadays it is always called off-site construction. If the momentum keeps increasing, it will almost certainly come to dominate house building throughout the UK and maybe elsewhere in a fashion that 06dexspky happened inside the 1950s and 1960s.

Scotland continues to be at the forefront. Partly this is as a result of timber frame housing, which is much more extensive north of the border. Timber frames became popular in Aberdeenshire inside the 1980s to meet the nascent oil and gas industry, then gradually spread to other parts of Scotland.

From the early 2000s, framing companies began merging with some other players including insulators and gradually took good thing about their new strength in depth to go into building kit houses offsite. By the pre-recession peak of 2007, off-site new build had grown from under 10% of all new Scottish houses to between 25% and 30%.

By that year, the entire quantity of new houses being built in the united kingdom was around 200,000. This fell to just over 110,000 as demand collapsed. After a couple of lean years it really is on the up again (see image), fuelled through the UK Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

But the majority experts agree it is going to have to develop a lot more quickly if we are going to satisfy demand for future years. The United Kingdom Government estimates that people must build 260,000 houses every year in England and Wales between 2015 and 2031 and 35,000 each year in Scotland.

Housing booms past and future. Edinburgh Napier

Not simply are these targets way before what we were building even through the pre-recession peak, there are various other pressures on construction:

replacing skilled workers who have left the marketplace sector through the recession and are not returning;

high average age in many lines of work, meaning increasing retirement rates;

considerable amounts of refurbishment to existing housing stock;

delays to utility connections on work sites;

planning delays;

pressure on prices and workers from demand from other sectors including oil and gas and major infrastructure works best for rail, road and power stations.

When building stops working

Many people assume that offsite is the answer. According to case studies by Build Offsite, the sector body, the savings add a 10% to 15% decrease in the expense of building; and a 40% decline in vehicle movements.

It may also help with builders’ mounting energy performance requirements. House building has become put under the microscope in recent times to understand where improvements can be produced – by way of example one recent research area continues to be improving buildings’ external insulated fabric.

Off-site manufacturing assists with this as it gives builders additional control over each stage of your construction process. Additionally, it means you can reduce waste and get better control over the types of waste being generated, while implementing techniques favored by other sectors like just-in-time delivery.

To employ this potential, steel warehouse such as Kingspan, CCG and Stewart Milne happen to be investing heavily in facilities in the recession years.

Inspired by the lean construction designs of car manufacturers including Ford and Toyota, plants have emerged or expanded in places like Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, Derby and Motherwell. Off-site now comprises between 15% and 20% of house building in England and Wales, having moved beyond timber frames to varied many other materials; during Scotland it is actually now over 50%.

CCG’s offsite factory near Glasgow. Edinburgh Napier University

With the aid of the likes of the future Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, that can bring together academics and researchers from 11 universities, these manufacturers are developing increasingly advanced assembly techniques which will include smart technology, intelligent membranes and in many cases nanotech. To reflect these technologies and systems some believe the the off-site sector may change its name to Advanced Construction.

The proportion of off-site construction is only going to keep growing. Chances are that by 2017, more than 70% of brand new Scottish homes will probably be built in this way, while all of those other UK will demonstrate exactly the same upward momentum. A few of the prefab homes will also be attracting interest from China, Europe, Brazil and Russia, where this segment has yet to take off.

Having got off-site construction so wrong the very first time around, now promises to be really different. Simply do the building industry a favour: don’t call it prefab.

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