It’s fair to say that factory-built accommodation has something of a bad reputation in the UK. This has roots in the Second World War. After the massive devastation wrought across Britain by the Luftwaffe, Britain experienced a dire housing shortage. The government needed a quick, temporary solution. The ‘prefab’ house was born.
Only designed to last a maximum of ten years, over 100,000 factory-built homes were delivered to sites around the country. At the time, for many working class Britons, these were a vast improvement. Each family got their own home, with an indoor toilet and central heating, along with a built in oven and refrigerator. Compared to the squalid, overcrowded Victorian terraces many had lived in before, these prefabs were positively luxurious.
While the fact that some still stand today is testament to the durability of their design, there are drawbacks to these mass-produced houses which have made them somewhat infamous. Most obviously, they are unsightly, single storey constructions, with a large footprint compared to their living space, making them wasteful in terms of land use. Secondly, the prefabs were built with asbestos, now known to be extremely toxic. Lastly, while a good number have survived to the present day, they are susceptible to rust or rot, and were not built to an especially high quality, as they were only ever meant to be temporary. They’re also difficult to repair or modernise. Today, most of the remaining prefabs are slated for demolition, though some have been singled out for preservation.
While modular buildings, including our modular lofts, are built in a factory, just like Britain’s postwar prefabs, there are numerous differences. Perhaps most importantly, while prefabricated houses were mass produced to set designs, modular buildings are highly customisable. In fact, for our modular lofts, we individually design and build each module from scratch to fit every client’s home and meet their personal requirements. Indeed, we have to: London’s houses vary immensely and mass production simply wouldn’t work.
Another big difference is in the quality. Modular building technology in the 21st century is far superior to the factory-construction methods of the past. Our loft modules are constructed with high-strength cold rolled steel and energy-efficient materials by experienced professionals. By building lofts in a controlled environment off-site, we can ensure the loft is completely free of defects before delivery.
Aesthetics is another big difference. While you can spot an old prefab from a mile off, most people would never know a new building was modular unless someone told them. The same is true of our lofts. Inside and out, they are indistinguishable from a traditionally-built loft, and they’re decorated on the outside to match the rest of your home.
Modular lofts are not a cheaper alternative to having a standard loft conversion; they’re simply an improvement. You’re guaranteed a high quality product, with none of the uncertainties which come with teams of builders, while the duration of building works at your property is kept to an absolute minimum.
The modular building revolution isn’t limited to lofts. Modular construction is now a trusted building method and has been used for apartment blocks, hotels, schools and hospitals across the UK. It has even been endorsed by the government and it is hoped that modular houses will enable the country to accelerate the expansion of its housing stock at a time when the number of available tradesmen is threatened by Brexit.
Want to know more? Check out our Q&As at www.landmark-lofts.com/modular
Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.