BRE has developed a product standard aimed at ensuring quality in offsite construction, as well boosting consumer confidence in the sector.
The standard will ensure that modular buildings are constructed to the highest standards and comes as the sector is mooted as a possible solution to the UK housing crisis, receives increased attention and new players enter the market.
The standard (BPS 7014) will provide guidance to stakeholders including product manufacturers, developers, planners, mortgage lenders, insurers and underwriters, as well as the general public.
David Gall, associate director and construction products sector lead at BRE, said the quality of premanufactured buildings and their performance is paramount to provide consumers – the public and professionals – with the confidence to demand more, and quicker, to meet the challenges of an undersupply of housing and skills shortages.
In November 2017, five government departments announced a “presumption in favour of offsite construction across suitable capital programmes where it represents best value for money”. In the private sector, Laing O’Rourke, Berkeley Homes, Pocket Living, and Legal & General Homes are among those that have committed to modular expansion.
According to BRE, while the industry is beginning to ramp up to meet offsite and modular demand, consumer confidence in the sector needs developing – a “prefab perception is still associated with the sector. A focus on the quality and performance of factory fabricated new homes and buildings – such as healthcare facilities and schools – is therefore critical to drive consumer confidence and demand.
Quality and performance needs to cover structural and durability issues and also include factors such as acoustics, access to daylight and vibration – elements that are vital to residents’ and occupants’ health and wellbeing.
David Gall will present an overview of the new BRE Assessment Methodology and certification scheme for modular homes at Ecobuild’s Quality and Performance in Construction workshops on 8 March 2018 at Excel, London www.ecobuild.co.uk