What is modular housing?

A modular house is where the different elements that make a home are constructed in a factory, then taken to the building site to be linked together creating a whole home.

These elements might be the frame of the building, the walls, floors and roof, the kitchen or bathroom, or even an entire storey. It’s a little like self-assembly furniture on a grand scale. The benefits of this modern method of construction include: high quality control, thanks to the controlled factory environment; quicker construction times, with work on-site taking place in parallel with the prefabrication of the house; and fewer factors such as challenging weather to throw off the schedule.

When we talk about modular house construction we could be referring to a number of different methods. These include volumetric construction, which is when homes are built by stacking and joining large, three dimensional modules to form complete houses. These modules are built in a factory before travelling to the building site to be put together. They can be steel or timber-based, and come set with electrics, plumbing, heating, doors and windows. 

There is also the panelised construction method when floor, walls and roof are prefabricated in a factory and put together on the building site.

A modular home  could also be constructed using a hybrid of the volumetric and panelised methods.

But, would you live in a modular home...

Modular houses might be part of the solution to the housing crisis but do people want to live in them? We asked over 2000 people if they’d live in a modular home and 52% said “no thanks” yet a staggering 90% of the same group couldn’t actually identify a modern modular home. When people think of modular homes it's shipping containers that spring to mind, but modern modular homes have so much more to offer. It’s time to challenge these perceptions and we’ll be using some of the most innovative modular homes at Gateshead Innovation Village.

what is modular housing infographic

Modular Home image from ilke Homes. 

Share this image on your site

Can modular housing solve the housing crisis?

Part of the challenge is that there isn’t enough housing to go round and that’s causing a housing crisis. In fact, we need to build 300,000 homes a year to keep up with demand. At Home Group we’ve committed to building 10,000 new homes by 2021 but if housing developers are going to meet this challenge then things need to move quicker.

If we’re going to tackle the challenge head on we need to do things differently and that’s where modular housing could play a role. Think of how technology has changed in the last 30 years yet houses are still build in pretty much the same way. Modular housing could provide a more efficient alternative. Our Gateshead Innovation Village is a live research project to build real homes for real people using new construction methods and technology. What we’ll find out will shape the house of the future.