We are noticing a shift in how businesses and consumers are approaching the housing market, especially as we talk to contracters and developers as we deliver our fire rated glazing and other services A housing crisis has been gripping the nation. 9 The UK faces a concerning shortage that has led to house prices hitting record highs, while home ownership is reaching its lowest level in 30 years. It’s been estimated that as many as 300,000 new houses will need to be built each year to reverse the housing deficit as it currently stands – a task that would prove not only prove expensive, but be a logistical nightmare too. It’s no surprise politicians are reluctant to tackle it.

A number of businesses in the UK have devised innovative alternatives to traditional housing, with a focus on speed and efficiency, which could help to satisfy some of the UK’s housing demand. For many such businesses, this has been accomplished through using modular construction – a relatively new but increasingly popular building process, particularly in the UK, US, and China. Modular buildings are constructed offsite in a controlled factory environment, then shipped and assembled on location. The method has proven not only to be faster than traditional construction, but safer for workers and more environmentally friendly.

Pocket, a London based company, is pioneering the construction method within the housing sector; the business is currently working on its 16th modular development. Pocket constructs one bedroom apartments over a period of 30 days, then delivers them to the development site via truck. The company’s housing has proven particularly popular with young couples and professionals looking to move into cities but unable to afford the increasingly high cost of accommodation. At 38 square metres, the apartments have been described as ‘starter homes for city makers’, and those at the most recent development will be sold exclusively to individuals and couples living or working in the surrounding area, and earning less than £40,000 each.

YMCA London Southwest has recently developed a solution that also makes use of modular construction; the Y:Cube provides self-contained and affordable starter accommodation for people either unable to gain a first step on the housing ladder or pay the cost of private rent. Made in partnership with architects Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, project manager Aecom, and UK contractor SIG Plc Building Systems, the original 36 unit site was completed in Wimbledon last year, and there are several additional sites planned for the near future. Each unit is 26 square metres and constructed from high quality eco-efficient materials, with a design that remains well insulated through the winter and reduces energy bills. Tenants will also benefit from additional savings on top of being rented out at 65% of the local market rate.

Straying even further from traditional housing are the floating homes built by Floating Homes Ltd. With city land crowded and in high demand, it’s no surprise that more people are looking into move into homes on the UK’s many canals and waterways. Floating Homes Ltd’s two bed properties start at £150,000 – with the first prototype being completed earlier this year – and are constructed offsite before taking to the water. The business was one of 10 winners at the ‘New Ideas for Housing’ competition ran by New London Architecture last year.

If you’d like to find out more about what Architectural Wallsz do, more about our fire rated glazing products and services and how they can benefit your build over a long term period, or would like to request a quote, please contact us on 0121 374 0070 or email sam@awallsz.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!

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