The Sky’s the Limit for Housebuilders in London
As the construction industry here in the UK adapts to the 21st Century and all of the new technological developments that it brings, we are seeing some exciting news of new methods of construction, one of which is off site manufacture (OSM), also known as prefabrication. This is a construction method we’ve been following closely here at Safety Fabrications as a welcome development. After all, OSM is likely to reduce the need to work at height which will only serve to make construction activity safer in the future.
In an impressive announcement, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London has granted a £10 million development loan to Apex Airspace via the Mayor’s Innovation Fund for affordable housing projects. Apex Airspace is a pioneering company that buys airspace from institutional and private freeholders, local councils, housing associations and retailers for development purposes. The company uses predominantly off-site manufacture (OSM) to construct homes which are 95% complete. The homes are then winched on top of the buildings and rapidly installed in the space of a day!
The fact that the homes are built offsite in a factory setting means that there is a minimum amount of inconvenience and intrusion in the neighbourhood where the homes are finally installed. New developments across the UK are often blamed for bringing a high level of disruption in the local surroundings, with roads often closed or struggling to cope with the extra traffic, including heavy construction vehicles. The construction activity is often noisy and, in many cases, local residents protest and complain about the disruption to their lives and their neighbourhoods.
The modular construction method and rapid installation has many benefits for the local community. There is a 50% reduction in onsite build time and a massive 90% reduction in the heavy vehicular traffic. What’s more, for those who have sold the airspace above their premises, they can remain in the building during the installation process!
This really does look like the future of construction – especially in large towns and cities where building space is at a premium. Building upwards, instead of outwards, can make perfect sense and creating methods of building new homes on top of existing residential and commercial premises really is a stroke of genius. It’s this type of innovative and out-of-the-box thinking that is needed to solve the housing crisis here in the UK.
Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator, has already agreed a funding deal with Apex to build rooftop properties in five areas in London. The initial wave of homes should be complete as early as this summer, with a total of 78 rooftop homes under a three-year deal. These new homes will be installed at five different sites across London and will be priced within the Help to Bey threshold to support more people into home ownership in the capital.
We have some exciting times ahead for the 21st Century construction industry – watch this space!