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Welsh minister calls for modular homes to boost social housing

Words: Roger Milne
Offsite manufacturing of housing / iStock-173607372

Factory-made ‘modular’ housing should be used to speed up the number of high-quality social and affordable homes being built across Wales, housing minister Julie James insisted this week.

That announcement came as the administration spelled out a strategy to kick-start the modern methods of construction (MMC) industry.

To deliver more homes quickly, councils will be encouraged to use MMC to help them build better-quality homes faster than traditional methods allow to meet the growing need for affordable housing across the country.

MMC includes various construction methods from new materials and technologies, to off-site manufacturing, which either replace or complement traditional methods of construction.

MMC opportunities will also bring significant new benefits to the Welsh economy, said the government. To back Welsh business, ministers plan to help this next generation of homes to be built using national assets such as Welsh steel and timber.

There will also be a focus on using the emerging MMC industry in Wales to pursue Welsh social and ethical ambitions, including developing skills and market-leading technical expertise in communities hardest hit by the decline of traditional industries. Investment will also help firms to invest in locally sourced labour.

To underpin the strategy, ministers are making a £45 million investment in the modular housing industry in Wales to make sure that it can deliver the next generation of social housing.

There will be £20 million available for MMC businesses that, in partnership with Welsh social landlords, wish to build the next generation of social housing. A further £25 million is being made available for round four of the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme, which will focus on innovative housing delivered through MMC.

James said: “Developing the MMC industry in Wales presents us with a great opportunity to not only build beautiful new social housing, but also kick-start a new industry that will become increasingly important for our economy.”

Image credit | iStock