Modular construction should take off within a decade claimed a panel of experts at the RESI 2016 conference in Wales.
Chaired by Liz Hamson, editor of Property Week, the group was asked how to make sure offsite construction had longevity.
Speaking at the Celtic Manor in Newport, Tom Bloxham MBE, chairman of regeneration specialists Urban Splash, thought: “We’ll see an increasing number of homes delivered through modular.”
Twenty per cent of Berkeley Group’s homes will now be constructed off-site, its chairman Tony Pidgley announced at the conference.
While Geoff Pearce, executive director at Swan housing association, said: “We’re seeing a huge rise in construction costs and a massive drop in the labour available in London pushing developers towards using offsite construction.”
Mark Farmer, chief executive officer at Cast, a construction consultancy, warned: “(The) skills crisis will only get worse, in the next cycle, the construction sector won’t be able to deliver.”
Mr Farmer is due to publish a government review looking at the construction labour model and innovation later this month.
Paul Stanworth, managing director at Legal & General Capital, argued the unique benefits modular brings to the build to rent sector: “We learnt from student accommodation that a rental model needs speed, so that led to modular.”
Jack Spurrier, managing director at Yo! Home, thought “being able to walk in, see it and touch it has been crucial for us.”
At the end of the session, Ms Hamson asked the panel if offsite construction would be mainstream by 2026 or if it would remain on the industry’s fringes.
Mr Farmer thought, “modular becoming mainstream is a necessity. We have to change the way we build, if we wait until we have no choice but to change, it’s going to get messy.”