A latest report on the UK housing market by the Lloyds Bank emphasises on the scope for technology innovation among housebuilders to meet the growing demand for quality housing. The Lloyds Bank report comes at a right time because in the absence of innovation, the gap between the demand and supply of housing in the UK cannot be plugged.

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“Housebuilders are investing in modern methods of construction and skills to address a number of industry challenges as it looks to deliver growth and new homes for the future,” the third annual Lloyds Bank Housebuilding Report said.

The housing sector is adopting modern methods of construction that holds the potential to boost productivity and supply. Firms surveyed by the bank reported that they are already investing in new building techniques, including modular housing (68 per cent) and panelised systems (56 per cent). Modular housing and prefabricated construction have already gained popularity among many housebuilders, as they reduce the project cost and delivery time.

Housebuilders’ motivations to adopt these methods include improved efficiency, ease of build, better construction standards and in some areas increased margins. As a result, firms’ investment in new building techniques has increased year-on-year from 20 per cent of current annual turnover to 24 per cent over five years. This is an encouraging sign because housebuilders have been unable to cope up with the demand through traditional construction methods.

Innovation is also supporting the delivery of sustainable homes with 82 per cent of firms saying they are more focused on this issue than ever before.

Modern techniques are centred on building ever bigger components, and even entire homes, off-site for delivery and assembly, but there are even more futuristic solutions on the horizon, from robot bricklayers to 3D-printed homes. In this period of rapid innovation, it seems that UK firms are currently testing the waters by trying a wide range of new methods.

The housebuilders reported that they are already investing in numerous new building techniques, led by modular housing. Site-based modern methods of construction (MMC), where components are brought together to be assembled on site, are being employed by many housebuilders, along with panelised systems), sub-assemblies and components, 3D volumetric construction and pods.

It is heartening to note that the stakeholders of the housing sector are moving in the right direction. Strawberry Star is also exploring modular construction technology to build homes at lower capital values for first-time buyers.

Source: Lloyds Banking Group