In 2017 the UK government announced that it was giving permission for the Chinese to build 5 new modular home factories to help solve the housing crisis that the UK is suffering from but what does a modular building mean and why is it the new way to build?
The word Modular comes from module, which is defined as a separable component, frequently one that is interchangeable with others, for assembly into units of differing size, complexity, or function.
It is effectively like a jigsaw puzzle of a house. Separate pieces are all made in a factory and then put together on site. The benefits of this system are that it is a very quick way of producing buildings, especially when they arrive on site as a typical 4/5 bedroom house can go up with a roof on and watertight within a week. It also means that nothing is weather dependent as the majority of its construction is indoors in factories.
Currently the most common method of this type of construction is where SIP panels are used. SIP stands for Structural Insulated Panels. They are commonly large sheets of OSB wood that has been glued onto sheets of foiled backed foam insulation. They can be clad in wood or rendered on the outside and are a very quick way of building. With this method because the building is so airtight an air recovery system must be installed so that any moisture build up within the building can escape.
There are alternatives to this method though as seen in companies such as Huf Haus, which create ‘complete’ walls where not only are the outside walls finished before they leave the factory but the insides are also. Electrics and utilities are pre drilled so they can be run very quickly if they haven’t already been. Each panel is then lifted into place and joined with nails on site and when joined as with the SIP panels it gives the building its strength and rigidity.
Spacetwo’s system is different again. We aren’t a true modular building company as in our buildings are created using panels but each piece of wood is pre machined and then put together on site. We import our buildings from Chiemgauer Holzhaus who have built up a solid reputation in Germany for producing high quality, natural and sustainable wooden log homes. The process is comparable in terms of construction time and the finish can also be rendered or wooden.
The main draw to this method of building is the reduction in cost associated with the reduction in time, and because everything is manufactured off site the calculations are also very precise, which also lessens the risk of errors.
With the number of modular building companies set to rise as the construction industry welcomes this way of building more we are looking forward to seeing the future of modular buildings and to see where we as a company fit in.