Within the late 1950s, over a decade right after the war instead of long after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked over a house-building programme the like of which we have now never seen before or since.

There seemed to be suddenly a need for over a quarter of the million new homes each and every year as new towns were created to replace the existing slums and families sought more space to support the infant boom. To meet this, a lot of houses were internal factories then assembled on location.

These prefabricated house came to be as closely linked to the next couple of years as Billy Bremner or the Beatles. In fact, this became actually something of an exaggeration, given that they never comprised over 15% of brand new builds within an era in which the high rises were a larger game changer.

During the early 1970s, prefabs suddenly went out of style, with higher rises not far behind. The demand for such speedy building had reduced. Insurance carriers had begun refusing to insure them since it became clear there were so many issues with the construction techniques which they would not last nearly so long as people had hoped. Suddenly new homes comprised blocks and bricks and were between two and four storeys in height.

Yet whisper it, pre-fabrication is building a comeback – though these days it is usually known as off-site construction. In case the momentum keeps increasing, it will probably come to dominate house building throughout the UK and possibly elsewhere in a manner that 06dexspky happened from the 1950s and 1960s.

Scotland is leading the way. Partly this really is as a result of timber frame housing, which is far more extensive north in the border. Timber frames became popular in Aberdeenshire within the 1980s to satisfy the nascent oil and gas industry, after which gradually spread with other elements of Scotland.

In the early 2000s, framing companies began merging along with other players such as insulators and gradually took benefit of their new strength thorough to maneuver into building kit houses offsite. Through the pre-recession peak of 2007, off-site new build had grown from under 10% of new Scottish houses to between 25% and 30%.

By that year, the complete quantity of new houses being built in the united kingdom was around 200,000. Then it fell to simply over 110,000 as demand collapsed. After a couple of lean years it can be in the up again (see image), fuelled with the UK Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

But most experts agree it may have to grow a lot more quickly if we are going to satisfy demand in the future. The UK Government estimates that people will need to build 260,000 houses annually in England and Wales between 2015 and 2031 and 35,000 annually in Scotland.

Housing booms past and future. Edinburgh Napier

Not merely are these targets way ahead of whatever we were building even in the pre-recession peak, there are numerous other pressures on construction:

replacing skilled workers who definitely have left the market sector through the recession and they are not returning;

high average age in many lines of labor, meaning increasing retirement rates;

large amounts of refurbishment to existing housing stock;

delays to utility connections on work sites;

planning delays;

pressure on prices and workers from demand from other sectors like oil and gas and major infrastructure works well with rail, road and power stations.

When building fails

Lots of people believe that offsite is definitely the answer. In accordance with case studies by Build Offsite, the sector body, the savings incorporate a 10% to 15% reduction in the expense of building; as well as a 40% decrease in vehicle movements.

It can also help with builders’ mounting energy performance requirements. House building has been put within the microscope lately to find out where improvements can be created – for instance one recent research area is improving buildings’ external insulated fabric.

Off-site manufacturing helps with this since it gives builders more control over each stage of the construction process. Furthermore, it means you may reduce waste and possess better control of the types of waste being generated, while implementing techniques well-liked by other sectors including just-in-time delivery.

To employ this potential, steel workshop such as Kingspan, CCG and Stewart Milne have already been investing heavily in facilities during the recession years.

Inspired from the lean construction kinds of car makers for example Ford and Toyota, plants emerged or expanded in places like Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, Derby and Motherwell. Off-site now comprises between 15% and 20% of house building in England and Wales, having moved beyond timber frames to various other materials; whilst in Scotland it can be now 50 plus%.

CCG’s offsite factory near Glasgow. Edinburgh Napier University

With the aid of the likes of the future Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, that can bring together academics and researchers from 11 universities, these manufacturers are developing increasingly advanced assembly techniques that may include smart technology, intelligent membranes and in many cases nanotech. To mirror these new technologies and systems some believe the the off-site sector may change its name to Advanced Construction.

The proportion of off-site construction is only going to keep growing. Chances are that by 2017, over 70% newest Scottish homes will likely be built in this manner, while the rest of the UK will show the same upward momentum. Several of the prefab homes can also be attracting interest from China, Europe, Brazil and Russia, where this segment has yet to adopt off.

Having got off-site construction so wrong the first time around, this period promises to be very different. Accomplish your building industry a favour: don’t refer to it as prefab.