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UK housebuilder claims it can make a complete home in 20 days: what will this mean for tradespeople?

2-minute read

Josh Hall

12 January 2018

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A major UK housebuilder is planning to use prefabs – which it claims can be built in 20 days – for a quarter of its new homes this year.

Berkeley Homes will prefabricate one in four of its 4,000 new properties in a factory, and they will then be transported onto their site by crane – a process that the company says will take just half a day.

Is prefab the answer to the housing crisis?

The government has set a target of 300,000 new homes built a year in the next decade, but actual building figures have fallen far short of goals in recent years.

And fears over a lack of construction workers have led many to suggest that the 300,000 target is not achievable.

But some industry professionals believe that prefab and modular building techniques could help to speed up the building process, while also removing some of the issues faced by a contracting workforce.

What could this mean for tradespeople?

But for those still in the sector, the impact of the growth in prefab homes on jobs in trades and construction is not yet clear.

While it seems likely that Berkeley’s new factory will create jobs, a significant uptick in the number of homes constructed in this way could spell mixed news for trades.

If taken up by the industry more broadly, prefabrication could mean many more in trades and construction working primarily in factories, with a smaller number employed to install the buildings on site.

Which trades are likely to be affected?

The impact is also likely to be felt right across the board, from construction to interiors – builders suggest that prefab options could also reduce snagging problems in newbuilds.

Meanwhile, building firm nHouse, will set up a factory as they turn to prefab homes.

They claim to be able to build 400 prefabricated homes a year – all of which will come complete with bathrooms, kitchens, and light fittings, meaning plumbers, kitchen fitters, and even electricians could be impacted.

What do you think? Are prefab homes a good idea? Let us know in the comments.

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