Prefab Heatwaves

Prefab Heatwaves

15th August 2018

Here at Safety Fabrications we’ve been reporting on the growing trend for modular homes for quite some time.  Because we’re in the business of safety, providing safe access solutions for work at height, we’re well aware that the building methods employed during the construction of modular homes will often minimise the need for work at height, adding an extra level of safety to the process.  We’ve reported in the past on the increased use of modular construction techniques, the durability of prefabricated homes and how prefabrication can make construction work safer.  Prefabricated homes are also more likely to be sustainable and eco-friendly and it’s hoped that the increase in modular homes will make it easier for the construction industry to address the burgeoning skills gap that is likely to get worse in future.

A group of MPs recently called for the government to stop funding modular homes, claiming that they’re “not resilient to heatwaves”.  This was following the release of a report by the Environmental Audit Committee on adapting to climate change which recommended that the government should stop directing financial support to modular housing from the £3 billion Home Building Fund.  The Home Building Fund is designed to increase the number of homes built in England and is open to private sector businesses that build new homes or prepare sites for housing developments.  This includes small builders, custom builders, community builders, regernations specialists, as well as larger building companies and developers.

The report’s claim that prefabricated homes are not resilient to heatwaves has been met with outrage from architects who point out that “modular” describes a construction technique and has nothing to do with overheating.  Traditonally built homes constructed on site are just as likely to overheat as are modular homes.  The modular construction technique does not prescribe the materials used, the desing form or the ventilation strategy, all of which actually contribute to a bulding’s performance.

In fact, prefabricated construction is a term that can cover many types of building, from static caravans to the eco-friendly Passivhaus constructions.  The conclusion drawn in the report are said to be a “misleading and isolated statement” and that other conclusions contained in the report, such as the lack of regulation to prevent overheating in buildings, were more pressing considerations.

At present, there is no requirement in the UK to limit the risk of overheating in new homes and there is a lack of understanding within the industry of basic construction approaches that would minimise overheating without the need for artificial cooling. 

Architects are recommending that instead of stopping funding for modular homes, the government should instead stop financial support for new homes that are poorly construction and expensive to heat or cool. 

We’ll be keeping a close watch on modular home construction over the coming months, and this news in particular.  If you want to keep up to date with what’s going on in the prefabricated homes sector, why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter and get a notification when the new information is published?