Beneath the flight path to Heathrow airport, there is row upon row of prefabricated homes. Built during the post-war boom, prefabricated homes were cheap and easy to construct at a time when many urban centres in the UK were still rebuilding following the Blitz. As the planes begin their descent to Heathrow, many of these homes will shake and rattle. Intended as temporary structures, their designs, which emphasise cheap and lightweight materials, are no match for modern air travel.
Needless to say, modular buildings have come a long way in the last half-century. While some people still have the image of cheap and low-quality housing when they think of prefabricated buildings, modular buildings today, in fact, surpass traditional construction methods in many areas.
A new report from Advance Market Analytics shows that the modular building market is growing. Not only is the market defying the Brexit drag that is hindering the rest of the British economy, but modular building manufacturers could have a pivotal role to play in the near future.
A Healthy UK Market
It’s easy to look back now and scoff at those early prefab homes. However, the AMA’s report shows unambiguous strong global performance for the modular building market in 2019 – clearly, things have changed.
The UK market is, on the global stage, defined by entities like Wernick Group and Laing O’Rourke, who operate nationally and internationally. However, just as important are businesses like Hatch Engineering. They are a structural steel fabricators Kent who work extensively with local businesses and entities. They make metal gates Kent, metal staircases, bespoke railings, structural steel beams, and more.
A relatively small steel structure company like Hatch Engineering is a vital part of the local economy, providing structural metal fabrication services to other small and local businesses who can’t buy at the levels or volumes necessary to deal with bigger corporations.
While many small businesses are fretting about the dangers of Brexit, there are a few industries that might be able to turn crisis into opportunity. The UK is already facing a housing crisis, a major economic shock would hasten the need to find a solution.
Modular prefabricated buildings seem like the obvious solution. The kind of structures that structural steel fabricators and erectors produce today are a million miles from the prefab buildings of the past. Modern prefab homes can be virtually indistinguishable from a traditional brick home.
With the potential chaos of no deal looming, there is no shortage of scenarios in which local and national governments need access to secure space as fast as possible. Steel modular buildings from structural steel companies are ideal for constructing warehouses, hangars and other storage facilities. The strong market performance that the AMA describes suggests that module building manufacturers may be able to weather any coming storms. However, the fluctuating price of steel, which only really fluctuates upwards, is worth keeping an eye on.
The AMA’s report proves that the modular building industry is healthy, with the UK market exceeding expectations. This is undoubtedly good news for structural steel manufacturers Kent and elsewhere in the UK.