Wales targets ‘factory-made’ modular housing

Julie James has said that factory-made modular housing should be used to quickly increase the number of high-quality social and affordable homes being built across Wales.

The Welsh Housing Minister said that councils will be encouraged to use modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver more homes quickly, with the move set to help them build better quality homes faster than traditional methods allow, in order to meet the growing need for affordable housing across the country.

The Welsh Government wants councils to build far more council homes at scale and at pace, however, they face the well-documented capacity constraints faced by traditional house builders. MMC includes various construction methods from new materials and technologies, to off-site manufacturing, which either replace or complement traditional methods of construction.

As part of the Welsh Government’s new Modern Methods of Construction strategy ‘Reimagining social house building in Wales’, ministers are making a major £45 million investment in the modular housing industry in Wales, to ensure it can deliver the next generation of social housing that people need. £20 million of this is being made available for MMC businesses, who in partnership with Welsh social landlords, want to build the next generation of social housing.

A further £25 million is being made available for the fourth round of the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme, which will focus on innovative housing delivered through MMC.

James said: “Building more social and affordable homes is a key priority for the Welsh Government. Over the last four years, this Welsh Government has invested £2 billion in new housing across Wales, as part of our ambition to deliver 20,000 affordable homes by 2021. But we want to build more. And we want to build better. The significant investment we’re making in the modular housing industry will enable us to do that.

“Gone are the days of MMC’s association with poor quality, temporary, pre-fabricated housing; MMC now produces high quality, desirable and energy efficient affordable homes that tenants can be proud of. We have certainly moved from Pre-Fab to Ab-Fab! Developing the MMC industry in Wales presents us with a great opportunity to not only build beautiful new social housing, but also kick-start a new industry that will become increasingly important for our economy.”