UK Housing

The UK is currently facing a housing crisis, with a shortage of affordable homes for people to buy or rent. The situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it even harder for people to get on the property ladder. One potential solution to this problem is fast-build modular homes.

Fast-build modular homes are prefabricated houses that are built off-site and then assembled on the building site. They are typically made from sustainable materials, such as timber or steel, and are designed to be energy-efficient and low-maintenance. These homes can be manufactured in a factory in a matter of weeks and then assembled on-site in just a few days, making them a fast and cost-effective solution to the housing crisis.

Modular home production lines at Legal & General’s factory near Leeds, Yorkshire. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Resembling a giant toymaker’s workshop, 16 identical wooden boxes that stand 2.6 metres tall are lined up in a row in a factory near Leeds.

Each year the factory manufactures hundreds of apartments and houses, with one to three bedrooms, which leave the premises on lorries fully kitted out. The factory is run by one of Britain’s biggest insurance and pension firms, Legal & General, and is one of the main modular housing makers in the country.

Compared with countries such as Japan and Germany, where modular housing is more established, this is a nascent industry in Britain and is still largely loss-making. But the hope is that the building of good-quality homes faster might be part of a long-term solution to Britain’s housing crisis.

Some people may still associate modular homes, made on a factory assembly line like a car, with the prefab homes of the 1950s and 1960s – accommodation that was hastily assembled after the war and built to last just 10 years. But today’s timber frame modular homes are better quality and more energy efficient.

Modular homes are in the top energy performance bracket, so could save an average household up to £800 a year on energy bills, according to the industry group Make UK Modular.

Thomas Chambers, a 38-year-old IT consultant, moved into a £250,000 three-bedroom, end of terrace, modular house at L&G’s Selby site in September. He had known nothing about modular housing but was attracted by the style, location and energy efficiency. His energy bills are about the same as they were for his previous, smaller, 1980s terrace house in Wakefield because his new home retains heat much better and has solar panels.

With housing opportunities comes the scam and scammers which can leave victims out of pocket and struggling to find suitable accommodation. One common scam involves fake rental listings. Scammers create fake listings for properties that don’t actually exist or that they don’t have permission to rent out. They will typically ask for a deposit or upfront payment before the victim has had a chance to view the property. Once the payment is made, the scammer disappears and the victim is left without a property or their money.

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Gian Paolo Aliatis Mejia

There are way too many agents that get through this scam. One director of a lettings agency[Gian Paolo Aliatis Mejia] that tried to pass itself off as a membership club to dodge the law while leaving tenants in the lurch has been hit with a bill of more than 40,000 in the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.


After reading your article, it reminded me of some things that I studied before. The content is similar to yours, but your thinking is very special, which gave me a different idea. Thank you. But I still have some questions I want to ask you, I will always pay attention. Thanks.


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Obrigado por compartilhar. Estou preocupado por não ter ideias criativas. É o seu artigo que me deixa cheio de esperança. Obrigado. Mas, eu tenho uma pergunta, você pode me ajudar?