Modern modular homes are a world away from the prefabricated houses that some will remember from the 1950s and 60s.

Nowadays, modular homes employ cutting-edge architecture and building techniques, and are regularly featured on aspirational property programmes such as Grand Designs. However, that doesn't mean that they're the preserve of rich people with months to spend on a building project. In fact, modular build houses are one of the quickest ways to turn a plot of empty land into a safe and sturdy home for you and your family.

Since so much of the work takes place off-site, noise, stress and build time are all reduced. In this blog, we'll look at how modular build housing really works and bust a few of the myths that are still apparent.

Why has modular housing become more popular?

Modular buildings are the answer to a number of questions that people are asking in the British housing market. One of the biggest issues facing the country at the moment is the lack of affordable housing in areas where people want to live. Building new homes using traditional methods is a time-consuming process that creates significant noise and traffic during a long build process, which can often attract the displeasure of local residents. Modular homes reduce construction times and therefore help to overcome one of the biggest objections to the building of new homes.

Modular building options are also a great choice for homeowners who want to build their own property from scratch, but may feel intimidated by the process and cost of choosing a traditional home. Once architects’ fees and labour costs for an extended build time are considered, a traditional bricks and mortar property can cost tens of thousands more to build than a modular home. By selection modern methods of construction, home builders can scroll through a catalogue of options and easily put together their dream property in collaboration with a modular home company.

How do modular build houses work?

Compared to a traditional house build, where components arrive in the form of materials such as bricks, mortar and pipework, modular build homes are delivered in prebuilt sections which are slotted together on site. This means that you have access to a number of pre-defined parts of a home which you can often put together in a variety of combinations to make something that is just right for you.

Choosing a modular option massively reduces the time it takes to build a new home. Going from ordering a home to the completion of construction usually takes around 16 weeks. This includes 10 weeks of build and prep in the factory and between four and six weeks for assembling the home on site. This compares to build times of around six months or even more for traditional homes depending on the complexity of the project.

Myths about modular housing

One of the most pervasive myths around modular housing is that the designs are plain and dull. This stems largely from the 'prefabs' that were built around the UK in a quick response to an acute housing shortage after World War 2. Comparing a modern modular home to one of these is like comparing a 4k TV to an early black and white model - they may follow similar principles, but they are worlds apart in terms of what they do and how they look.

There are also some common myths about the build quality of modular homes that have proved very difficult to shift. While there are some horror stories, as with almost every product or service, there is no evidence that modular buildings have more serious problems than their bricks and mortar counterparts. In fact, a recent spate of issues with new-build homes suggests that modular properties could be a safer bet.

The process of building your own home

Modern methods of construction make is far easier than it ever has been for a homeowner to build their dream home from scratch. If you've always dreamed of waking up overlooking an idyllic countryside location, then buying a plot of land and building your own property there could be a much more affordable and practical option than looking for existing homes to buy. The process of getting planning permission for a modular home shouldn't be any more difficult than for a traditional house and the far quicker build time means that you could be living in the property within a few months of permission being granted.

Obviously, any building project is still a large undertaking and you shouldn't overlook the scale of it. Modular build homes may be a fast and affordable housing option but it's still a good idea to have a project manager in place to keep an eye on things and make sure the build runs smoothly. Unexpected issues can crop up in any building project and being able to respond to them quickly will make the entire building process much less stressful for everyone involved.

Home magazines and aspirational TV property programmes have helped to eradicate some of these myths but have also created the perception that modular is not an option for anyone looking for an affordable home. The truth is that, as with homes in general, there are a huge number of options available. If you want to spend millions of pounds on a modular building then you will certainly be able to do so but if budget is important to you, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to keep a tight grip on the purse strings.

Modular building could form a key part of the answer to the housing crisis being faced by the UK and many countries around the world today. A desire for quick build times and changing perceptions in general around modern methods of construction may mean that the age of the modular home has truly arrived.

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