Welsh Government invests £45m in ‘flat-pack’ housing to tackle affordable homes problem

Picture by the Welsh Government

The Welsh Government is investing £45m in the pre-made and flat-packed homes industry as a way of solving the problem of a lack of affordable housing in Wales.

The factory-made ‘modular’ housing could be used to quickly increase the number of high-quality social and affordable homes being built across Wales, they say. They hope to use national assets such as Welsh steel and Welsh timber.

They are aiming to build 20,000 affordable homes across Wales by 2021.

Housing Minister, Julie James will today announce that the Welsh Government are investing in the scheme as part of a strategy to kick-start the modern methods of construction.

“Gone [is the] association with poor quality, temporary, pre-fabricated housing; modern methods of construction (MMC) now produces high quality, desirable and energy-efficient affordable homes that tenants can be proud of,” Julie James said. “ We have certainly moved from Pre-Fab to Ab-Fab!

“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.

“Over the last 4 years, this Welsh Government has invested £2 billion in new housing across Wales, as part of our ambition to deliver 20,000 affordable homes by 2021.

“But we want to build more. And we want to build better. The significant investment we’re making in the modular housing industry will enable us to do that.”

 

Jobs

£20m is being made available for MMC businesses, who in partnership with Welsh social landlords, want to build the next generation of social housing.

A further £25m is being made available for round 4 of the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme, which will focus on innovative housing delivered through MMC.

Investment will also help firms invest in locally sourced labour, they said. Other benefits include:

  • Creating new jobs and developing the new skills required to accommodate greater use of MMC, which will represent a sea-change in the construction industry;
  • Upskilling the existing construction workforce;
  • Attracting new and diverse entrants from marginalised groups such as offenders and those who wouldn’t necessarily consider careers in traditional construction such as women.

The Housing Minister today witnessed MMC in action on a visit to SO Modular in Neath, who already supply the social housing market in Wales.

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Huw DaviesKerry Daviesj humphrysErnie The SmallholderBen Angwin Recent comment authors
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vicky moller
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vicky moller

Does nothing for local materials, builders, design, responsibility and empowerment.
Done to communities not by them
How does this prepare for life without fossil fuels?

Is Wales a state washing peoples bums or a community of communities?
Otherwise perfect!

vicky moller
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vicky moller

wanted to delete this as its too harsh, but no option to do so.

Royston Jones
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Is this an admission that housing associations, that have seen hundreds of millions in public funding, where CEOs earn £100,000+, have failed?

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Correct.
The other issues are planning regs and NIMBYism, they are an excuse for local authorities to refuse to allow new housing to be constructed then wring their hands while they blame central government, immigration, developers etc etc.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

…Like a wind turbine up your back yard?

j humphrys
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j humphrys

In my view, someone has listened to you (and maybe even some of us who’ve been advocating this?)
“Developing the industry in Wales” is encouraging, though we’ll have to watch ’em like hawks to prevent
ruining green areas, and putting “marginalised groups and offenders”, aka criminals, first!

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Given the nature of materials used in these “flat-packs” there is plenty of scope for making it into a high percentage made in Wales product. In addition there is a chance to use recycled inert mineral waste blended with resins to create high performance resilient panels and boards with a high level of flame retardant properties. So next time a high falutin’ Sioni comes over the border asking for squillions to build fancy cars just tell ’em “we got one of those and it’s slow getting anywhere” and look instead for a small number of competent manufacturers who may already… Read more »

Ben Angwin
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Ben Angwin

Available stock does not solve the core problem of ownership demographics.

Do we need a law mandating that a % of houses in each county (say %60) may only be bought by people who live and work in Wales?

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

Wales should be open to all Welsh, and all people that think of themselves as Welsh (and make attempt to integrate into Welsh communities). The reasons why some English want to retire in Wales (and Scotland, Spain,.. etc) is that England and its UK regime has made a complete mess of the environment there, too many cars (no place to put them), Over population, Rundown seaside resorts, Centralising power in London, Poor public transport in rural areas, Very extreme wealth inequality within England and of course the lack of local assemblies giving strong voice to the peoples in the regions.… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Ben, people sick of seeing my banging on about this, but have a look at Purchase and Occupation of Jersey
real estate and housing, if you have some time?

Kerry Davies
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Kerry Davies

S O Modular is part of local firm Hale Construction, a well-known name in Neath, who have built their business from a one employee firm over 24 years. Some of the stuff they have done and are doing is very interesting from an ecological and sustainable angle. If they get it right it will also be economically amazingly profitable. As we inevitably and quickly move from gas and oil fuelled home heating their experience in “Transpired Solar Collectors” and Integrated PV roof panels could prove invaluable not just in the modular building field but more generally. They are working with… Read more »

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Backing these kinds of developments makes a lot more sense than letting Monbiot and his crowd loose with a clearances programme in Mid Wales ! That’s gone quiet for now but doesn’t mean that it’s gone away for ever.