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Birmingham to experiment with modular building of council homes


Birmingham could be on the cusp of a large council house building programme based on the use of modular homes.

Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT), which is owned by the council, is to carry out a trial that will see 50 homes built off-site and then installed on plots across the city.

Several sites have been identified and the tendering process has been opened for applicants from the modular building sector. Five kinds of design will be available and the first homes will be installed in the spring of 2019.

If the trial goes well, it will be rolled out on a much larger basis across the city in 2020.

Modular homes have been hailed as an innovative and effective solution to housing shortages. They can be manufactured swiftly off-site and installed on the ground rapidly. The method will not only be faster, but offers a way around the shortage of traditional construction skills. Such homes can also be built at a lower cost than ‘normal’ bricks-and-mortar constructions.

The development comes at a time when the city council is set to regenerate the last of the 1960s council housing estates yet to undergo a revamp.

Druids Heath is a development of five concrete tower blocks, each containing 50 flats. Councillors will vote tonight (October 9th) on plans to demolish these, with BMHT building 250 modern homes on the site to replace those in the towers.

Birmingham city council has 62,000 council homes under its control, the largest of any local authority in the country.

Indeed, the council has the largest resident population of any UK local authority, estimated to now be nearly 1.2 million.

This figure is higher than any recorded census figure on Birmingham’s history, the peak being the 1.1 million recorded in 1961.

As such, the success of initiatives taken to replace existing outdated housing stock and replace it with new homes – whether modular or in another form – may be of particular significance for the supply of social housing in the city.

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