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3 Oct 2014
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The The Rebirth Of Pre-fabs
Roger Harrabin

Pre-fabs can help solve the crisis of affordable homes in southern England, according to experts at a new exhibition at the Building Research Establishment.

Pre-fabs can sometimes be erected for 20-25% less cost than conventional homes.

The latest versions are on show at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) OFFSITE03 event near Watford, in what’s said to be Britain’s biggest ever of off-site construction.

Among the exhibits are stylish nurses’ apartments dropped on site in two segments by crane and bolted together; and apartment “pods” that can be stacked like boxes but then sheathed in a skin of brick for home builders who still want to sell the appearance of bricks and mortar.

One construction system allows a home to be swiftly erected with a lightweight steel frame, cloaked in insulating foam and skimmed over with an acrylic coating that mimics the appearance of a Cornish cottage.

The BRE claims there is a boom in interest for off-site construction.

The new pre-fabs are a far cry from their wartime predecessors. Some have designer interiors that impressed the acting editor of ‘Your Home’ magazine Kerrin Harper, who visited the site with the Today Programme.

CLICK HERE to be taken to the Building OFFSITE03 website

The 'Terrapin' demonstration building

The 'BCA' display (photos: BRE)

Listen - Is pre-fabricated housing the panacea to south-England's housing shortage problem? Roger Harrabin finds out who'd want to live in them

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