Sociology/A Modular Solution to the UK Housing Shortage term paper 41741

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Abstract

The housing policy report of UK reveals that the nation is confronted with problems associated with insufficient housing facilities. Housing shortage is becoming a major problem not only in UK but also in the entire world. The seriousness of the issue makes us understand that it is high time that we invent a solution for the housing shortage. Usage of modular buildings and offsite construction methods are found to be a solution to the housing shortage problems of UK. Proper implementation of these techniques is supposed to meet the government targets for housing in UK. Modular buildings and offsite construction methods offer lots of advantages compared to the traditional method of building construction. The system provides beautiful, innovative buildings that are delivered on time. The budget in also affordable for this system compared to its traditional counterpart. Modular construction involves pioneering, novel construction techniques with unlimited models, designs and layouts. Modular building construction companies have skilful workers with experience as well as expertise. Buildings are constructed using innovation techniques. Modular construction has turned out to be the best construction method for all customers regardless of the amount they plan to spend. There is no other choice other than modular construction for a quality and a cost conscious customer who wants to build a new house. Superior building materials, the state-of-the-art technology, and excellent craftsmen make the modular house, the best. Modular construction technique is found to be meeting the most crucial agendas of construction like sustainability, waste minimisation, quality and process integration. Because of the advent of modular technology, more and more buildings are being constructed which otherwise would never be possible with the outdated construction methodology. New structures are rising up in air (over the existing buildings) which was never even dreamt of previously. Several housing facilities are being made available to key workers and general public. More and more key workers are retained within the main areas of the cities. Modular techniques, especially the 3-D modular building construction method has created more ‘available space’. Space between the buildings and the vacant air above the buildings are getting converted into beautifully constructed buildings. Nobody would have ever imagined such an option to solve housing problems, before the advent of 3-D modular building construction. Offsite construction specialists are ruling the field by starting innovative projects. Thus these construction techniques help to meet the government targets for housing in the UK.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION 3

LITERATURE REVIEW 5

METHODOLOGY 8

ARGUMENT AND EVIDENCE 9

CONCLUSIONS 24

RECOMMENDATION 24

REFERENCES 26

NOTES 27

APPENDICES 28

BIBLIOGRAPHY 32

Introduction

UK is under the problem of unavailability of enough housing facilities for its residents. It is essential for all the offices to maintain at least the major employees within the premises of the cities. The housing shortage is not permitting to maintain this essential group to reside within the premises of the city. In order to retain such quality worker staff within the key areas, it is essential to offer them the best residence facilities. Key workers are specific groups providing essential services in public and private sectors. Key worker staff includes employees from local government offices (social care workers and teachers), staff of health care department (midwives and nurses), law enforcement and emergency service staff (police, fire staff), jail staff and so forth. High quality key workers are mandatory for the improvement of the quality of the society. In many of the major cities of UK, even the most major employees are devoid of proper housing facilities within the city. This makes them struggle. The aggravated housing shortage is making the nation loose the services of people as they are unable to find residence within the city. Various associations like Winchester Council and Swaythling Housing Society have taken initiatives for solving the housing shortage in UK. They have taken new steps for proving key workers with affordable houses within the premises of the city.

Many people wish to have an own house. But for many of the city residents in UK, this would be a distant dream. The price of a land property is very high that people cannot afford it unless they have a high income. Middle and low income people are found to be devoid of own house since they cannot afford it. Such households are also found to be not eligible for assistance (that would meet their requirement) and therefore will not be included in the housing need list. Another problem is the unavailability of affordable house reasonably near to the work place. Employees with medium or low salary cannot afford a mortgage of three and half or more from their salary. Purchasing a decent home is not possible without a significant mortgage from the salary. Families with a single earner (having medium or low salary) can never think of an own house since a mortgage from that salary will make it insufficient for other important needs. United Kingdom saw a significant growth in employment opportunities as a result of the improvement in its economy. But an equivalent improvement did not appear in the housing sector in the nation. People are not able to find a residence close to their office. House prices in UK increased and demand has crossed supply thereby making a significant proportion of employees deprived of convenient residence. Seventeen percent of employees have to travel more than 20 kilometres to reach their work place. This affordability problem creates serious housing problems in UK affecting other key departments too. Social housing supply is very limited and the demand is found to be very high. There will be long housing waiting list (with less resources), with several families in temporary residence waiting for a permanent residence.

Affordable housing has become a major problem for government as housing crisis is getting worse year after year. Government considers ‘shared ownership’ as a solution for affordable housing crisis. Housing associations are providing residential units at shared ownership. However, in London in the year 2006, there was a housing demand of about 131,000 when the association could provide just 10,000 homes. Shared ownership thus cannot meet the aggravated housing demands of UK. Even though shared ownership could afford the housing requirements of thousands it is not practical enough to tackle the entire housing problems of UK. This increased housing shortage in UK demands a modular solution that would alleviate the housing shortages in UK. Different plans were discussed and numerous approaches were analysed that would solve the housing shortages. The technique of using modular buildings and offsite construction methods are proved to be a better method that would help crack UK housing problems.

Literature review

Several literature studies have mentioned about modular housing, its history, and its latest technological advances. The history of modular technology can be traced back to the middle of the twentieth century. However the improvements in trends, technology and design in the last few years have steeply increased the popularity of modular construction. Modular offsite construction is deemed as one of the most efficient construction method available on the market today. There is no doubt that modular homes are superior to the traditional stick-built homes. Factory-built homes are not new in UK. They were found in UK right from the closing years of the nineteenth century. The novel techniques of factory house building bega n progressing after the Second World War as the problem of housing shortage also began during that period (Latham, 1994)1.

According to The Architect James Pickard of Cartwright Pickard, (the architect of Murray Grove and Sixth Avenue) the most important benefit of modular construction is nothing but its speed. Modular construction projects are completed successfully in a less amount of time. It is much quicker compared to the conventional building project. It takes just half the time required by the old method and also has several advantages over the traditional method. An example of modular residential complex is Murray Grove in Hackney. Murray Grove is a giant housing entity with 30 flats. The example of Murray Grove proves that it is possible to save much time and resources by the usage of volumetric units. The building units of Murray Grove were assembled on the spot in just 10 days. Volumetric pods are the main feature of this great residential complex in London.

Modular construction technique works well as much of the work is done in the factory itself. In the conventional building techniques, much of these works were in the site itself and it took much time for the accessories to be ready. In the modular construction technique it would take less than three weeks as it just require the finished modules to be erected on the site. Conventional building process was a mess with frequent disruption of mortar and bricks which would delay the work. Since modular building construction is devoid of these troubles, it is found to be very much suitable for tight city Brownfield sites. Buildings that are build with modular construction is stronger as much of the parts were built in a factory and not on the site. The products of factory come after strict quality control and come out with quality. Moreover, these factories are highly specialised in their construction product and even guarantee their product. This feature is never available for the traditional building construction technique. Traditional building always had a list of defects which is not found in modular technique. The feedback of modular buildings is found to be good so far. The finished projects of Sixth Avenue and Yorkshire Housing brought excellent response. According to the residents, the quality of construction is extremely good and the defects are very less. Facilities that are built out of traditional techniques (even though it did not report much defects in the initial months) gradually produced several complaints).

According to Dickon Robinson (of the Peabody Trust) who had undertaken the project of Murray Grove, the Trust could successfully complete this block of 30 two-bedroom apartments, and are satisfied with the results. The project had has won nine design awards. Robinson says that 'It's a very beautiful building, built around an attractive courtyard, and people are very pleased with their accommodation’. This new venture could solve the housing problem of several families. Half of the residence portions are given for rent at the market rate and half were subsidised. Projects of this nature can reduce the housing problems of UK by at least ten percent. Buildings that are built through the traditional techniques are notorious for their impermanence unlike those built by modular building technique. Modular buildings are indeed a step-change in strength, facility, quality and durability, compared to the traditional buildings. Architect comments that 'It's a form of construction that builds high-quality homes. They last longer, perform better and are cheaper to run [than conventional buildings]'. Apart from this, modular buildings and offsite construction techniques are much beneficial to the Trusts and construction companies. Adam Preece, the development officer for the Peabody Trust in Hackney opines that the conventional construction ventures no longer brought any benefit to the trust as they always have frequent delays. The trust shows no interest in conventional construction projects as this would eventually affect the trust’s funding. Offsite construction projects are always welcomed as this module would completely eliminate all the delays and helps the trust to finish the project ahead of time without further problems and unnecessary expenditure. Traditional construction methods are no longer practical these days as it has become literally impossible to locate bricklayers and plasterers. There is great skills shortage and the whole quality is going down at a fast rate. The one and only solution to this problem is modular buildings and offsite construction methods. These techniques would finally attract more companies and Trusts into construction projects which would ultimately help government to meet its targets for housing in the UK (Egan, 1998) .

Modular building technique and offsite construction methods are widely used for all the recent housing undertakings. The Peabody Trust is given official approval to undertake a project from Yorkon, Raines Dairy, in Stoke Newington, north London. This project on its completion would make available several residential units for the public under the shared ownership scheme. There are sixty units in total out of which half will be given for rent and half would be open for sale. People have the chance to buy part of the equity, and can buy the balance over time (Egan, 1998).

Literature studies have compared traditional and modular building construction and have reported that the advantages of modular construction. The stability and superior strength of modular homes is making it more popular. Literature studies have examined various aspects of modular buildings, for example the part of transportation of modules. After the construction process in the factory, the modules are transported to the site. In order to manage the rigors of shipping, each modular home is made out of nearly thirty to thirty five percent more substances than a conventional stick-built home. Modular finished houses needs to be transported from the factory to the site. Because of this, the parts are strongly built so that it is never destroyed during the transportation. Moreover, in modular homes the parts, floors, ceilings and other parts are not nailed together. They are instead joined with a powerful adhesive. For example, drywall is typically joined with a powerful adhesive and then attached to the framing. This strong fastening improves the structural strength of the home as mentioned in the FEMA study on 1992's Hurricane Andrew. The study reported that "the module-to-module combination of units appears to have provided an inherently more rigid system that performed much better than conventional residential framing. (Egan, 1998)"

Methodology

A comparative study was conducted between traditional building construction and modular building construction. Feedbacks were collected from the customers. A through analysis was performed to know in what respects modular houses are better compared to the traditional ones. Construction clients were interviewed to know what all new benefits they are offering to their customers. The cost chart was studied to know what extra charges were incurred in both these construction methods. Building cost, transportation cost and all other expenses are analysed for concluding which construction method is the best.

Argument and evidence

According to the advocates of modular construction, this technique would solve the key-worker housing crisis. If more modular projects and more volume of buildings are completed, at least the key workers would find themselves residing within the premises of the city. A good implementation and more private undertakings would bring down the construction charges and make more housing facilities available for the public. This would also make the housing facilities more affordable as the prices would come much below the conventional building costs.

Three-dimensional modular construction method is found to be an effective solution for the housing shortage as it would help construct more housing facilities in a limited space. This novel technique is expected to bring an interesting twist on the issue of housing. Constructing townhouses piled in the air and constructing more buildings within the air premises of the existing buildings are under plan. This would help to build more housing facilities without demanding more land. As it is obvious that it is impossible to make more land available for housing in UK, the only possibility that remains is to use modular construction techniques to resolve the housing shortage problem. The modular construction methods would help to bring more new housing units within the city. In this type of building construction, typically the three-dimensional module, new buildings are constructed above the existing buildings itself. For example, the space above the existing buildings is skilfully used for constructing more buildings. Housing units can be built above the office buildings and this can provide for the housing facilities of the staff of that office. This would resolve the housing problems of many. The existing office buildings can also make room for commercial units and various other offices by utilising the space above the building. This would help to make more space available for housing facilities. Offices can have all its associated building and other entities in the same premise in the same building itself. This can make the remaining space available for constructing housing facilities. UK is ready to implement 3-D modular building construction method and the legislation is already passed. Apart from UK, Denmark, Australia, and Norway have started the 3-D modular building construction. Several projects are being completed that provide housing facilities for key workers and other general public. For example, ‘Raines Dairy’ would mitigate key worker housing problem as it is meant for people who have income up to £25,000 a year (mostly key workers).

Traditional building construction method involved section panelling system in which the parts were assembled on the spot (in the site). Parts are prepared in the site itself and were subjected to weather and other human disturbances. As a result of this, parts were not of good quality and this made the whole building weak and less durable. However, the construction of modular building is not like this. In modular building construction, all parts are constructed in factories; the whole room is built in the factory. The already constructed rooms are just placed in the site. In modular technique, the building is considered like any other product which is built in a factory. Getting the building constructed in a place is just like buying a car. Prefabricated house construction is widely used in Sweden for the last ten years. In Sweden it takes less than five days to construct a house. The method came to UK few years back and is extensively used nowadays. House-building in UK is found to be the most conventional type of construction compared to the models used by other countries. There is less choice for customers regarding houses in UK. Several customers are still using the traditional system of house building (Mawdesley et al 2001) .

Modular housing, however, has become popular in UK in the last few years. Hospitals, supermarkets, shopping complex, schools and housing complexes and flats are built using the modern modular construction technique. Off-site construction is found to be very effective for these buildings. Factories are having state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and specialise in manufacturing various building products. Modular construction offers earlier occupation, speed of response, less expense, quality guarantee, increased safety, design flexibility and high durability to the buildings. Moreover the building would be less disrupted and stronger in this construction method. Site safety and security is yet another feature. Modular construction companies are offering risk free construction, risk management and increased safety (with guarantee) and product warranty on new buildings. Investors can have a faster return on their investment as these innovative building projects are completed before the speculated time. Construction companies also provide complete project management and entire construction services like planning, design, fitting out, commissioning, and health and safety facilities. They do also share the projects with contractors, clients and design consultants. Another advantage of offsite construction and modular building is that it has design excellence as many of the finished have secured awards for its brilliant design. It offers unrivalled protection and structural warranty also. Modular buildings also offer fire safety for the building (some do have LPCB certification also). Modular buildings follow majority of the building regulations and building standards. Modular buildings companies also enables the evaluation of numerous options on energy usage, carbon emission, running cost and maintenance expense of the building for its entire life-cycle. Offsite building construction provides excellent site safety; according to the reports, modular and offsite building construction give an increased safety of 46% compared to the safety offered by traditional construction techniques. Several offsite construction companies have come up with attractive offers like lease finance packages which would help people to finance their building. They provide faster and easier financing arrangements and also give considerably lower set-up costs. All these advantages have encouraged people to use offsite construction technique for their buildings.

Modular building and offsite construction is found to be meeting the sustainability challenge, creating new structures that have negligible impact on the environment. Construction had become the most crucial sector of the present human activity. As far as construction is concerned, sustainability is the most important term. Government and the new legislations related to construction and housing is compelling the construction companies, clients, contractors, designers, and engineers to jump to a new construction approach that would bring no harm to the environment as well as the existing resources. Apart from this, the demands and complaints of the public, interests groups and pressure of political parties are also pushing the clients to adopt a more sustainable approach to building construction.

Increasing pollution, global warming, exhausting of natural resources, and the requirement to maintain a safe environment where people and their resources can thrive, are the reason why government is becoming strict in the case of construction policies and rules. Buildings that do not follow construction policies and pollution generating construction methods may harm the environment. Buildings should also be designed for high sustainability. The main objective of the construction should be the most minimal usage of energy which is possible by the intelligent usage of technology. Sustainability should be kept in mind throughout the construction of the building. Various factors would contribute to the quality of the construction, for example, economic factors, nature of the place, social factors, the internal environment and the quality of the construction site. All these factors are found in the best form for offsite construction method. All the safety and environmental demands are satisfied in the modular construction technique.

Construction companies and engineers are in real trouble as they are supposed to erect buildings that suit the environment where it is placed. Space limitation and the need for the compatibility of the new building (with the existing building) demand excellent designing capability. Excellent design and technique can only construct attractive, environment-friendly buildings that satisfy the practical needs of the occupiers. Constructing new building in this limited space has become a challenge to the construction companies. Appearance, material selection and orientation are crucial elements. The best building process is the process that consume less resources and that satisfy the long-term strategy of energy usage. Offsite construction technique is the only construction method that would meet the demands and requirements. It is the best sustainable method of creating high quality accommodation facilities. As a result of this, the whole hope is entrusted on modular building and offsite construction techniques to meet the government targets for housing in the UK (Sparksman et al, 1999)

The advantages associated with the offsite construction method are numerous. First of all offsite construction method is environment friendly. It can reduce carbon emissions and makes less pollution compared to the traditional way of construction. Government has taken plans and actions to make all the estate carbon neutral in the coming years. Carbon emission is a major contributor of pollution. Carbon emission is increasing in UK mainly because of inefficient buildings. Almost half of the emitted carbon is out of these low quality buildings. UK government however had planned to cut short this carbon emission rate by twenty percent by the year 2010 and by sixty percent by the year 2050. Thermal insulation of the building would be collapsed if there is air leakage in and out of it. Air leakage also would affect the energy efficiency of the whole building. Air leaking should be minimised to increase the energy efficiency as it would disturb the thermal insulation inside the building. Low air leakage would maintain a draught free and warm environment within the rooms. Low air leakage thus would help the building to be in good condition for long time. Air Leakage free building shall have minimum running costs, lower capital equipment expense and therefore carbon dioxide emissions.

Tests conducted for air permeability of the buildings reveal that modular buildings are having seventy percent better efficiency than the conventional construction. Moreover offsite construction is also proved to be more efficient compared to the site based construction. The steel-framed modular technique has good precision capacity which results in good efficiency, less carbon emission and reduced cost. Modular buildings are highly readymade with factory built products that meet quality-controlled standards. These buildings are made with well trained operatives and with the quality acquired by repeatability. In onsite construction method, the building materials get withered by rain and sun and therefore lose its quality. Materials when they are subjected to rain would shrink which would later affect the sustainability of the building. Modular buildings thus have good quality showing good performance and also follow the standards mentioned in the Buildings laws and regulations (showing environmental benefit).

Modular buildings use steel-framed design which reduces thermal bridge which would help the buildings to acquire heat. Moreover modular construction involves composite panel construction which helps the building to have non-breaking insulation throughout it. It would eliminate the possibility of loose-fill insulation. Modular buildings also have less risk of condensation which would save the building from loosing the thermal effectiveness. Yorkon building is designed with these facilities.

Modular building is proved as an environmentally efficient building process. The construction industry is attempting to significantly reduce the quantity of building material becoming waste. According to the estimates of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), building construction works use nearly 400m tones of raw materials in a year. Out of this 400m tones, 100 tonnes are wasted because of the use of conventional building construction system. The traditional building process which is filled with flaws and non-technical methods is very much prevalent in UK. Onsite building construction would thus make a good amount of building materials useless. Offsite and modular construction technique, however, would never waste the building materials as all the parts are brought from factories that deliver finished products. For offsite building construction, majority of the work is finished in a highly controlled factory environment. Moreover, factories allow waste separation and easy recycling of waste. Thus there happens a decrease in the raw material wastage compared to onsite building technique. Factories recycle nearly sixty percent of waste materials. They reduce waste and energy wastage and carry out recycling by properly separating raw materials like paper, timber, plastic, metals, polythene and plastic. Apart from this, offsite construction also involves the recycling of windows as well as door cut-outs. The process also attempts to reduce the quantity of energy and compressed air used in the construction process. The supporters of modular building say that up to sixty seven percent less energy is needed for offsite and modular construction technique, compared to the traditional building technique. Moreover, modular construction would make nearly ninety percent fewer vehicle movements to the construction site. As a result of this there are several environmental benefits and there also would never be less commotion in the site (no disruption from vehicles).

Modular construction method has adopted various new approaches for the sustainability of the building. Whole life costing and sustainability have become the most crucial factors. Construction clients are in the search of new innovative sustainability strategy for the structure and design of new modular building projects. For example, the modern building simulation software (which is used in the recent modular construction projects) will perform a comprehensive analysis at all the design stages of modular projects. This software will carefully review the influence of each and every specification decisions regarding energy consumption, running costs, energy usage and capital cost during various construction stages of the projects. This software would monitor all the stages of the process applying the most sustainable design strategy for the modular building project.

The innovative techniques used in the modular technology would enable the entire system to be value engineered for ensuring the energy efficiency, cost efficiency, environmental influence, sustainability and the total functionality of the modular building. This highly inventive software would also block the over-specification of certain aspects and also ensures the compliance of the whole building process with the new Building Regulations. The software would also measure the important variables like energy expense, total life costing, amount of carbon emissions, air quality, and cooling and heating costs. Monitoring these components would help to regulate all the processes thereby ensuring efficiency, sustainability and a pleasant internal environment. Modular specialist contractors are busy with more than one project at a time. Constructions clients choose systems and manufacturers for the project they handle. Customers just need to fill up the modular order form in the website of the construction company. Company will take care of the rest (see order form in Appendix A) Offsite construction is getting increased popularity year after year. More and more modular buildings are rising up in the air within short period of time.

A good sustainable approach would add much value to the building project. The innovative aspects of modular and offsite building technology is helping the construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors to accomplish quality, speed, efficiency and all the sustainability goals. Modular building is a type of construction in which buildings of any size (from 50 square feet to 50,000 square feet) would be produced offsite under highly quality factory environment. This building would then be transported to the construction site as three-dimensional parts and are assembled or installed to form a building. For the less complex buildings (for the temporary needs) like halls and classrooms about ninety percent of the work is completed in the manufacturing factory. This would keep the disruption to the minimum.

Modular building construction would never be interrupted by problems like work stoppage, bad weather, work delays and unavailability of workers. This is one of the major reasons why more and more people are interested in modular offsite construction. No other construction method would finish a building as fast as modular construction. The works proceeds at a timely manner as the site work and the building construction (in the manufacturer’s plant) happens simultaneously. As far as modular buildings are concerned, relocation and expansion (which may happen in the future) is very easy and flexible and the designer can design the entire building to facilitate all this. Modular construction has become a highly economical alternative as the traditional method always involved huge expense.

Nowadays all houses use mass-produced, offsite factory built components (both modular as well as traditional). Windows, doors, floor joints, roof trusses, sheetrock, baseboard trim, bath cabinets and various other parts are made in factories. Manufacturer’s use repetitive assembly line technology and advanced and efficient automatic assembly equipments. Factories can produce well assembled components quickly without any manufacturing defect. They do also show great consistency in product quality no matter what they built a small cabin or an entire house. People who are engaged in building modular homes are specially trained for doing special tasks. They are not the experts of the entire part of the house; however, they can do a great job in their specialisation. As a result of this, each and every part of the modular home are the best. Modular construction factories have the best group of craftsmen; talented and experienced electricians, roofers, carpenters, plumbers and other workers.

One of the most important features of a modular home is its structural integrity. There are various factors that make a modular house superior in its quality. Modular factories use large powerful and highly sophisticated equipments. Precision control is possible as all the parts are assembled with jigs. Houses are built in the exact way they were designed; corner portions have square parts exactly built for it. In traditional house building, there is no special part for the corner part. The carpenters have to skilfully adjust the ordinary part to fit in the corner parts. Measurements are always intact in modular house building which makes the product perfect.

Offsite construction allows production of the building under climate controlled conditions. Offsite construction is free from drywall and insulation, moisture saturation in the material, cracking and damage of brittle materials, wall and door warping and various other weather-related problems. Moreover, modular construction uses only superior quality kiln dried lumber as the badly tied or fragmented or warped parts may collapse the delicately tuned assembly line jigs. As a result of this, only the superior materials (having tighter specifications) are used in modular homes.

Modular buildings have tighter construction. It is nothing but this tighter construction that improves the energy efficiency of the building. Hand packed insulation for the electrical joints and the caulking across the outer sheathing would stop the infiltration of hot air during summer season and cold air during the winter months. The manufacturers of the modular buildings are accredited companies that follow the specific quality standards. They ensure the superior quality of the materials as they are supposed to fulfil the standards set by the national, state and local building codes. Moreover, all the building plans need to be approved by a third-party inspection institution (which is state approved). The building plan is inspected to ensure that it satisfy the rigorous state construction standards. Traditional building however rarely undergoes this like building approvals and expert reviews. The construction processes that happen at the factories undergo quality check and inspections at different steps. Each and every stage require quality approval; from framing to final assembling. The traditional stick built houses never need all these quality approvals. In modular construction factories they have quality control stations that carefully check the quality and finishing of the workmanship. There are professional full-time quality control officers visiting each and every station with a big checklist to continuously check the quality and performance standards. Apart from this, a specially trained officer from the third party inspection agency would check the house as it moves down the line. Because of this need for several approvals, each and every stage is finished with hundred percent qualities and there never come up a further service work. These quality standards make the ready made modular house flawless and perfect.

In modular building, the manufacturers can easily customise the design (interior and exterior) as per the requirement of the customer. Numerous new designs and styles have come in interior and exterior design; open floor plans, vaulted and cathedral ceilings, central vacuum cleaners, reversed gables, whirlpool tubs, vertical cedar siding, bay and bow windows, curved stairways, sharply pitched roofs, skylights and angle bay towers and several other designs. Customers continuously add new features to this big list. In modular houses customers can make alteration in the setting even after placing the house in the foundation. They can further alter the balconies, sunrooms, porches, garages and many other parts. Customers can approach the modular manufactures to build houses according to their specific requirements. Factories can afford all kinds of designs.

Customers who have started with the house building wants it be built as early as possible; especially those customers who have already sold their previous house. Everybody wants to avoid spending for a rented house in UK. In such a situation nobody would appreciate waiting for their stick built house which would be ready to live in only after one year or more. Modular houses however would be ready to live in before three to four months. The already constructed modular houses would be moved to the site in eight to nine weeks. The complete work will be finished may take another four to eight weeks. The time depends upon the size and the complexity (facilities) of the house. It may take few weeks for the on-site finish. Today’s anxious customers would never prefer to wait for one year for the traditional stick built house. For the traditional house making the craftsmen team will consist of three or four members who are always engaged in different simultaneous projects. These three or four people manage the whole show in the construction of the stick-built house. Apart from this they may also encounter delays happening because of no-show subcontractors, weather disturbances and delays resulting from material back orders. In modular housing, however, the craftsmen group will have a highly skilled 150-member crew who can finish the whole business within days. They are task specific, experienced and stay at the same site till they get the house ready to move in. Modular house construction is thus very much customer friendly and fast. Customers can easily approach the manufacturers to give their requirements and choices. They can also make alterations easily if they are not happy with the design. However the customer of a traditional stick built house will have great difficulty in altering the already built house. It is also very much expensive to make alteration in traditional stick built buildings.

Modular houses are less expensive to purchase compared to traditional stick built house. The construction of the house in the factory helps to control the cost. No resources would get damaged in the factor because of the controlled environment. Since the entire materials (raw materials and others) are purchased directly from the customer, they are available at reasonable costs. This bulk purchase does not include any hidden cost, any middlemen or mark-ups so that all unnecessary expenses can be avoided. Modular construction also has low assembly line wages and other wage expenses. Since the construction is within the premises of the company, there would never be any loss resulting from pilferage, vandalism and other theft. Modular construction does not include any individual contractors or engineers who would cheat the customer by bagging money. The whole work is entrusted with the modular construction company who never takes any miscellaneous charges. Moreover customer does not have any risk in this modular home building where the construction client manages the entire work. Customer just need to pay for the home finally and can step into his/he new house. A stick builder can never imagine building a house in such a simple, risk free, less expensive manner. He can reduce the expense only by using inferior building materials, other less expensive materials and by employing unskilled craftsmen who demand less money. This would finally produce low quality week buildings with low quality craftsmanship, service and poor construction and finishing. Overall construction time is much less for modular buildings as less labour is needed in the site. This would help the client with the construction cost and also reduce the number of days for which the customer is paying interest on his/her home construction loan.

In modular construction the total cost is known to the customer in advance. This is not possible in traditional construction as there is cost variations and market price fluctuations. How bad it will be if a customer makes estimation and the total cost goes much beyond which the customer cannot afford. In modular construction customer knows the total cost before construction. The modular construction clients offer prices that do not vary or fluctuate. Customers can safely adopt the modular construction and can approach the construction client to discuss the standard cost. Modular houses are almost ready when they are shipped from the manufacturer’s plant to the site and the customer is well aware of the cost even during the customising of the house. Price is guaranteed no matter what price increase the market undergoes. The total cost of the house is fixed, regardless of the cost increase of material or labour that the factory has to pay for. As far as customer is concerned there would never happen any unaffordable cost overruns since there is no chance of cost miscalculation. Yet another important advantage is that the customer gets all these things without sacrificing any amenities.

Modular construction companies have labourers with several years experience and dealing with similar assigning the year round within the same factory. Modular housing includes great design flexibility. It gives hundreds of options and design choices. Customers can choose the type and design of modular home which suits his requirement. Modular construction companies would give numerous kinds of house plans for the customers to choose from. Customers can choose everything right from the initial plan to the final decoration. They can even select the colours of carpet, vinyl and bath fixtures. Customers can also upgrade or modify the facilities whenever he wants. Modular technology presents endless possibility to the customers.

Many of the modular construction companies offer warrantee and various after sale services. If a customer later requires more space in his modular house he can easily do so. He can even change the entire configuration of his modular room. In a modular house all the panels can be assembled according to the customer’s choice and can also be interchanged when needed. With the help of the innovative non-progressive post design, individual panels can be moved or replaced without commoving the adjacent panels.

In modular buildings interior walls are lag-bolted to the exterior walls which make the construction very strong. Moreover, insulation and wires are installed within electrical outlet boxes ensuring great safety. The straps support the wall to the floor. As the construction is carried out in a factory, the manufacturer can fix better seals in all the electrical outlet and fixtures as they are able to touch all parts of the walls; they can access it from above, underneath and all sides. Manufacturers place several sealants in a modular house. Modular houses use brand name building products that everybody is familiar with. Both in-house personnel and an independent agency inspect all homes during and after construction to ensure that every home meets our high standards and code requirements.

Permits are not always required for a modular house. As far as traditional houses are concerned permits are mandatory. Modular house do not need this approval as it is made up of small rooms assembled within the plant. Factory assembled rooms do not need this special permit. Traditional house construction is often delayed as it needs to wait for the permit from the local building department. .

In modular construction there involves zero architectural or engineering fees. The design and the engineering service are included in the package of the construction company. Customers can choose from the design samples of the company. Companies have standard building template which is revealed to the customer. Modular houses are pre-engineered and is accordance with the building codes. Customers will get thousands of designs and sample buildings to choose from. This service provided by the modular construction company eliminates the need of an outside designer or engineer. Traditional house builder however require engineers and designers who demand heavy payment for their service.

The climate of UK does not provide a good working condition for construction and is also not good for the workforce who works in the site. Rain, wind, cold, and snow would affect the health of the workers. This would affect the work and brings delays. Factory based construction, however, gives better, safer, and high quality working environment and are never influenced by the climate. This would finally bring out the building in a better quality. In modular buildings, electrical and water connections are fully connected and tested before leaving the manufacturer’s plant. Buildings that are made by off-site fabrication do not require much work. Modular manufacturers are able to submit their product with less flaws an are therefore delighted in their satisfied customers.

Traditional stick built buildings make 70 million tonnes of waste materials in a year in UK. Thirteen percent of the total material goes into waste. Factories have excellent waste management program. No material goes waste in a construction factory. Waste metals, gypsum, insulation and several other things are recycled. Offsite Fabrication Company has products like gypsum and timber sheets that are prepared in the required size so that there would not be any waste from off cuts. Construction Company also sent the waste materials back to their source for recycling. In a modular building factory, all the parts are designed in exact size and shape as it is in a car factory.

Another advantage of factory based construction is that it ensures healthy and safe working environment for workers. On site construction work is notorious for accidents and problems. Accidents at the construction work on site make casualties and even fatalities. Because of the health and safety requirements off-site manufacturing techniques are preferred in UK. In a factory based environment the works happen at a controlled and comfortable factory conditions that have set healthy and comfortable working conditions. Safety actions are easily applicable in a factory environment. Factories also can afford the service of doctors and first aid and other health aid even if there happens a small accident. Since on site scaffolding is a matter of concern, several offsite manufacturers have eliminated scaffolding by combining claddings in the plant itself. Offsite constructions also do not require heavy lifting equipments unlike traditional construction where such equipments are needed to place the prefabricated components in the site. Heavy lifting equipments cause heavy commotion, accidents and trouble in the site. They require careful management.

Modular houses exhibit excellent thermal and acoustic performance because of high quality supervision and workmanship. All elements, especially air barriers and insulation materials need to be properly installed. Modular manufacturers have trained operatives who are well trained, checked and supervised. There are no chances for wrongly fitted air barriers and bad insulation. Manufacturing factories are well established in certain places and their employees are trained at company expense.

Another important feature of modular building is that it can be taken to a different location if the customer wants it to be. A modular hotel in UK was taken to a different location as the hotel was not profitable in the first location. Modular buildings allow the modules to be potentially dismantled so that the modules can be used in different location. Moreover, the materials used in modular buildings (steel, timber and other materials) can be extracted when the module becomes useless.

Conclusions

Modular technology is altering the whole face of the cities. Several new modular buildings appear within a short period of time as it takes less than five days to construct a new modular building. Hundreds of new housing complexes are constructed in the cities. All these are supposed to alleviate the housing shortage problems of UK. A traditional construction engineer can never imagine a 3-D modular building above an existing building. Modular technology however would make everything possible. It can skilfully utilise the limited space and can complete the project with fewer resources. Thus the modular construction method has numerous potential advantages which make it far advantageous over the conventional on site building technique. Modular technology has highly revolutionised the construction sector. The construction sector has become very busy with thousands of projects in the city itself. Most of the modular projects are housing buildings. Huge housing projects with hundreds of units are finished within few days, and are kept open for sale and rent. Increasing number of key workers is now able to find residence within the city and near to their workplace. More and more houseless people are now able to locate a place for safe living. Housing shortage is also gradually diminishing from the cities of UK.

Recommendation

According to government estimations, UK requires nearly 3.8 million hosing units in the next 25 years. Terraced houses are of great demand. Key workers are seeking affordable houses. Government plans to fund for affordable homes for key workers so that it becomes possible to retain more quality workers in the main area itself. Government has undertaken various housing initiatives for public as well as key workers. A higher value Homebuy scheme is also included in the key worker housing initiative. Additional funding is done for transitional Local Authority Social Housing Grant. The total funding for key worker housing came up to £1 billion in March 2006 (for the last three years). The Communities Plan came up with special arrangements for providing more housing capital resources. In order to provide timely and appropriate suggestions and allocations, Regional Housing Boards are introduced. These initiatives will contribute for the fulfilment of regional as well as national goals in the case of key worker housing and rural housing. Modular buildings are the only solution to the housing requirements of the key workers and general public in UK. It would be best for the key workers to opt for modular housing as the construction client would manage the entire work. People who come to UK for job also settle in UK and look for good residence facilities within the city itself. Modular housing units are of great help to such people as they cannot afford building a traditional stick built house. Lots of small flats (residential units) are required within the city premises. Modular houses only can meet this huge housing requirement of the nation. UK construction supply chains can no more manage the traditional building method because of the lack of site-skilled labour and experience and trained workers.

It is impossible for the traditional method to satisfy the crucial regulatory requirements like the acoustics standards, energy efficiency, sustainability, and health and safety regulations. Only the offsite construction method can satisfy these standards.

For projects like Raines Dairy, lenders have offered mortgages (which is the first in the field). Companies aim private markets making modular housing and offsite construction very popular. More and more projects are on the way and modular housing has become an acceptable way of building houses. However, the highly conservative building societies and surveyors block the business to enter the private market. Modular housing should be privatised so that lots of trusts and private companies would enter the field with numerous projects. These efforts would finally produce more housing facilities that would ultimately solve the housing problems in UK.

1) Traditional construction method should be replaced by modular construction technique in all the possible fields

2) More and more housing units should be built to provide more housing

3) Construction works should be entrusted on the most efficient construction client

4) People should be made aware of modular housing technology and its advantages

5) Key workers should be given preference for housing. Key workers should be categorised and priority should be given to the negatively privileged group. There will be families of key workers who have double income who can afford a quality house. Such groups should be given only a second preference.

6) There should be enough facilities for general public also

7) Government must support modular building construction

8) More offsite construction factories must be set up

9) Talented workers must be properly rewarded so that construction factories will have a pool of skilled workers.

References

Egan, J. (1998) Rethinking construction: The report of the construction task force, London: DETR.

Egan, J. (1998) Rethinking Construction, DETR: London.

Latham, M. (1994) Constructing the Team –Final Report to the

Government/Industry Review of Procurement and Contractual Arrangements in the

United Kingdom Construction Industry, HMSO: London.

Mawdesley, M. J., Long, G., Brankovic, A., Connolly, G. E. and Dickens, G. (2001)

Effects of innovative distribution of services on project procurement Awaiting

publication in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Innovation in

Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Loughborough University.

Sparksman, G., Groak, S., Gibb, A. and Neale, R. (CIRIA, 1999) Standardisation

and Preassembly: adding value to construction projects R176, CIRIA/DETR:

London.

Wild, J. (1997) Site Management of Building Services Contractors, E & F N Spon:

London.

Notes

Note 1 - Sixth Avenue The steel-framed Sixth Avenue is a modern-day update of the old post-war prefab houses. Like its 1999 predecessor - the successful Murray Grove project in Hackney, east London

Note II – Key worker staff includes employees from local government offices (social care workers and teachers), staff of health care department (midwives and nurses), law enforcement and emergency service staff (police, fire staff), jail staff and so forth. High quality key workers are mandatory for the improvement of the quality of the society.

Note III - Winchester council have come up with new strategies to solve key worker housing problems. They came up with several recommendations. Affordable housing proportion should be sufficient within Winchester and across the district. The Review plan also recommends providing affordable housing facilities for key workers at their convenient places. The council is now studying different methods through which it can offer affordable quality accommodation for key workers without disturbing the requirements of other households. Comparatively bigger sites offering more than ten units of housing (with affordable price) can be used for mixed tenure housing. Housing Enabling Department of the council would plan about the type of property suitable for each state and will help to make affordable rented housing possible. Key worker housing strategy was formulated according to the Council’s experience in the Starter Homes Initiative (in the low cost home ownership programme of government) which was meant for helping key workers such as teachers, health sector staff and police. This initiative required working among various council departments, health agencies, law enforcement departments, to make the venture a big success. HVHS Housing group offered six flats (single bedroom) for key workers, under the Starter Homes Initiative. The initiative helped 52 key workers in the Winchester district for getting a suitable affordable residence. The initiative was meant for low-cost home ownership and seldom offered any rented housing helps for key workers. But the initiative was a success to a good extent and really helped many people in finding an appropriate residence.

Note IV -Swaythling Housing Society is using ‘Key Worker Living’, the key worker scheme supported by the government. SHS was given the in charge of Hampshire as well as the Isle of Wight Zone area. The initiative was helpful for key workers (especially for teachers and nurses) whose services are mandatory for the improvement of the society. They must be retained in accessible areas close to their work places so that it will be helpful for them, their companies and the community. The strategy was targeted for places where there the recruitment requirement and cost of living do not match. The scheme offered equity loans for key workers to buy house. On the policy of shared ownership, houses and flats are provided for sale. Houses with good facilities are given at low rent by Registered Social Landlords.

Appendices

Appendix A

An example of Modular building ‘Order Form’

1) Do you need a standard mobile office that will be used for less than 3 years? [required]

• Yes (you will be redirected to a Mobile Office/Office Trailers quoting page)

• No

2) What is the primary intended use of your modular building? [required]

• Day care facility

• Medical/laboratory facility (hospital, medical clinic, physician office, etc.)

• Office space

• Retail/restaurant space

• Storage/warehouse/garage/workshop (you will be redirected to a Steel Builidings quoting page)

• Guard shack/enclosures (you will be redirected to a Booths and Shacks quoting page)

• In-plant office (you will be redirected to an Interior Modular Construction quoting page)

• Church

• Breakroom/lunchroom/locker room

• Other (Please note: Our suppliers will not follow-up on residential requests)

Please note: If you're unfamiliar with the differences between steel buildings and modular buildings, our Quick Guide to Choosing a Pre-fab Building is an excellent place to start.

3) What are the approximate square footage requirements for your modular building? [required]

• Less than 800 sq. ft.

• 800 - 1,499 sq. ft.

• 1,500 - 4,999 sq. ft.

• 5,000 - 9,999 sq. ft.

• 10,000 - 24,999 sq. ft.

• 25,000+ sq. ft.

4) Do you need a single-story or multi-story building? [required]

• Single-story (1 floor)

• Multi-story (2+ floors)

5) What style of construction are you interested in? [required]

• Standard

• Custom

• Not sure - please advise

Please note: Pricing for standard designs typically range from $35 to $200 per square foot, including internal buildout, installation and the foundation. Portable classrooms and offices may be on the low to mid end of the range depending on the desired interior and exterior finishes. Custom designs will have costs comparable to traditional construction methods but offer the advantage of faster buildout.

6) How do you prefer to finance your modular building? [required]

• No preference - please advise

• Purchase

• Operating lease/rent

• Lease to purchase/finance lease

7) How long will you need this modular building? [required]

• Permanent

• 12 months

• 24 months

• 36 months

• 48 months

• Other (please specify):

Please note: It takes at least 45 days to build and deliver a modular building. If you're looking for a temporary building in less than 45 days, please go to our Office Trailers Request for Quote page.

8) When would you like to have this modular building delivered? [required]

• Between one and three months

• Between three and six months

• In more than six months

• Other (please specify):

9) What is the five digit ZIP code for your office location? [required]

NOTE: We only serve U.S. businesses at this time.

10) What is your e-mail address? [required]

Why we need your email address

11) How many of the following will your modular building need?

• One-half bathrooms:

• ADA restrooms:

• Private offices:

• Conference

• rooms/classrooms:

12) Please describe in detail the intended purpose of the modular building and any additional requirements you may have for your modular building.

Source:http://www.buyerzone.com/industrial/modular_buildings/qz_questions_797.jhtml

Bibliography

Al-Bahar, J. F. and Crandall, K. C. (1990) Systematic Risk Management Approach

for Construction Projects ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and

Management, 116, 3, 533-546.

Akintoye, A. S. and MacLeod, M. J. (1997) Risk analysis and management in

construction International Journal of Project Management, 15, 1, 31-38.

Egan, J. (1998) Rethinking Construction, DETR: London.

Egan, J. (1998) Rethinking construction: The report of the construction task force, London: DETR.

Gibb, A. G. F. (1999) Off-site Fabrication: Prefabrication, Pre-assembly and

Modularisation, Whittles Publishing: Caithness, Scotland.

Godfrey, P. S. and Halcrow and Partners Ltd. (CIRIA, 1996) Control of Risk: A

Guide to the Systematic Management of Risk in Construction Special Publication

125, CIRIA: London.

Finance and Risk’, University of Nottingham: School of Civil Engineering.

‘Homelessness: review and strategy 2003’, Available online at: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/housing/strategy/homeless/homestrat/objct6.htm

‘Housing general fund services business plan 2005-2006’, Available online at: www.winchester.gov.uk

‘Key worker living: UNISON welcomes new key worker housing scheme’, Available online at: http://www.politics.co.uk/issueoftheday/unison-welcomes-new-key-worker-housing-scheme-$2266994.htm

‘Key worker housing’, Available online at: http://www.haringey.gov.uk/index/housing_and_planning/housing/keyworkers.htm#schemes

‘Key worker housing strategy’, Available online at: http://www.winchester.gov.uk/documentlibrary.asp?id=849

‘Key worker living’, Available online at: http://www.hants.gov.uk/education/eps/key-worker- living/index.html

Latham, M. (1994) Constructing the Team –Final Report to the

Government/Industry Review of Procurement and Contractual Arrangements in the

United Kingdom Construction Industry, HMSO: London.

Perry, J. G. and Hayes, R. W. (1985) Risk and its Management in Construction

Projects Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 78, 499-521.

Sparksman, G., Groak, S., Gibb, A. and Neale, R. (CIRIA, 1999) Standardisation

and Preassembly: adding value to construction projects R176, CIRIA/DETR:

London.

Mawdesley, M. J., Long, G., Brankovic, A., Connolly, G. E. and Dickens, G. (2001)

Effects of innovative distribution of services on project procurement Awaiting

publication in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Innovation in

Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Loughborough University.

Mawdesley, M. J. (1999) Risk and Uncertainty Lecture Notes for ‘Construction

Finance and Risk’, University of Nottingham: School of Civil Engineering.

Pearson, A. (2000) ‘Pret a port-air Building’, 48-51.

Wild, J. (1997) Site Management of Building Services Contractors E & F N Spon:

London

Wilson, D. G., Smith, M. H. and Deal, J. (1999) Prefabrication and Preassembly –

applying the techniques to building engineering services BSRIA, ACT 1/99.

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