Constructing prefabricated homes will make them quicker to build but not cheaper, the Housing Minister has said.
Deputy David Warr said that using ‘Modern Methods of Construction’ – such as complete units being built in a factory – in France or Poland, for instance - and shipped to Jersey, would save the housing providers time but not money.
“This is more about bringing components to market quicker,” said the minister, when questioned about the Government’s ‘MMC’ plans by a Scrutiny Panel of backbenchers.
He added that building regulations would have to be “appropriately flexible” to deal with the prefab units, which would likely be three-dimensional units – which might be just the basic structure or fully completed rooms with services installed – or two-dimensional panels which are assembled on site.
He added that the Government would also need to made sure the island had the right skills in place to build using ‘MMC’ and that services, such as drains and electricity, would also need to be in place.
The new Government pledged as part of its recently expired ‘100 Day Plan’ to bring forward propositions to create prefabricated homes to help address the island housing crisis.
Pictured: 'IFC6', the office block currently being constructed opposite the Waterfront is being built using 'MMC'.
In response, Deputy Warr published a report on “the role that MMC could play in Jersey” and he also wrote to the developers of St. Saviour's Hospital and South Hill sites [Andium and the Jersey Development Company] to “maximise the effective use of MMC in their developments”.
Responding to the news that prefab homes would not save money, Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel member Deputy Rob Ward said that it was now clear that adopting MMC was not the ‘saviour’ of the housing crisis.
Ministerial commitments included in Deputy Warr’s report include the creation of a ‘construction sector innovation hub’, involving representation from the construction industry, to share ideas and challenges, identify skills and labour gaps, and discuss regulatory challenges and how they may be overcome.
It also commits to new planning guidance to help developers chose MMC that are more likely to be passed.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.