Also known as prefabricated homes, this new method of building home is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than common methods.
The first documented prefab home in England was built by Richard Rogers, who designed a home for his parents at 22 Parkside, Wimbledon. A simple shoebox design meant most of the individual components were built-in a factory and then sent to Wimbledon, where all the pieces were assembled together in a matter of days. This way of building property is similar to flat-pack furniture.
Rogers thought this model would be adopted by government contractors and “would solve the whole of the British housing crisis”. As you can tell, we are still in a housing crisis so the government did not invest in this method.
As a matter of fact prefab homes are not a new phenomenon. The biggest drive for them was in the late 1940s, when more than 156,000 were built-in the UK following the Second World War. In those days the word ‘prefab’ became associated with poor quality, however, due to the advancement of technology and the housing crisis we can see ‘prefab’ house becoming more prevalent in society.
There are now luxury prefab companies such as Huf Haus, a third-generation German company founded in 1912. Their builds are characterised by their use of timber and glass to create stunning looking properties. The components are built-in factories and the transported by truck to their final destination where assembly is completed by identikit German builders with trademark speed and efficiency.
Prefab may find its roots in Germany and Scandinavia but the British have now got a taste for it, being Huf Haus’ second market after the host nation.
Huf houses not only look the part, they are the real deal. As they use a lot of glass in their construction, the houses are very efficient utilising sun, air, soil and even a pioneering ice storage tank system to heat and cool the house. The typical cost of a Huf house £200 per square foot, including on-site assembly and interior finishes. Your biggest cost would be your plot of land.
In 2016, an eye-catching 6,000sq ft Huf Haus in Surrey known as The Lake House, complete with its own helipad, went on the market for a record-breaking £5m.
Another company trying to disrupt the construction market is Katerra a Silicon Valley-based tech company. They have gone from a start-up to having more than $1.3billion in bookings following a whopping $865m cash injection from SoftBank. Katerra is a one-stop shop. From schematic design to fabrication of parts and on-site construction – in order to “remove unnecessary time and costs from the building process while also providing world-class design”.
“We’re taking the technology tools and experiences we have from other industries and applying them to an industry that needs it – there’s a lot of room for change.”
With current housing crisis and increasing population companies such as Huf Haus and Kattera will be pivotal in building houses on a large-scale at cheap prices.