Is prefab making a comeback with Huf Haus

I have recently seen in the news an article about pre-fabricated houses. These where very common in the fifties, but I weren’t born then and neither where my parents but if you where would you look twice if you saw a prefabricated house being built?

In the 1950’s prefabricated houses where very common, there was a shortage of houses and little money to build them. So prefab became common, but most of them did look like glorified huts, but they did their duty and put roofs over many people’s heads. But back in the 50’s these buildings weren’t built to last and where there just to serve their purpose and therefore they became a byword for cheap construction.

Now where in the 21st century, cash is still tight, there is still a shortage of houses and a shortage of houses at an affordable budget. So are prefabs going to make a comeback?

Prefabricated houses have a bad name ‘cheap construction’ many people will say, and what happened to good old fashioned bricks and mortar. But today ‘Modular housing’ as prefabs are more commonly known today, may help the UK solve their housing problems.

With prices for a ‘modular home’ starting at £20,000 it’s no wonder why these may become a solution. They have also moved on alot over the last 60 years and many now are state of the art, architectural homes with the latest eco ‘green’ features and technology.

One of the problems people used to face with ‘modular homes’ is that many mortgage lenders wouldn’t lend against a ‘modular home.’ But now many of the major mortgage lenders have changed their attitude and are now willing to lend against these structures.

But yet the rolls-royce of modular homes is Haf Haus, which is a German based company specialising in the prefab structures. They construct the homes in German factories and then come over to the UK with their German team of builders to quickly construct the houses.

Germany is what you could say the home of modular design, alongside Switzerland. The European countries have notably noticed the potential in these structures along time before the UK did.

The Huf Haus family firm has been in production before the First World War and will be celebrating its century of service next year. But over the years they have changed and adapted their designs to keep with the times and entered the 21st century with a bang.

The first Huf Haus home came to the UK in 1997 and today there are 170 up and down the country. These homes are not on the cheap side, starting from half a million which also doesn’t include the price of the land. These homes are also individually design to the purchasers’ needs, specificiation and style unlike some modular homes which are set designs. I think one of the reasons why the Huf Haus is such an expensive option is because of their unique bespoke services.

With Huf Haus the client will spend quite a number of long hours with an architect discussing their specification and design. Once this process is complete the German factory sets of building the home. Then after a few weeks the client is required to travel to Germany to inspect the work in progress and discuss any issues they may have. But after this it’s a long few weeks looking at a muddy piece of land before the house actually appears. But when the wait is over you only need to blink and your house will be built. It will be shipped to the UK on a gigantic lorry or lorries depending on the size, alongside the large team of German builders.

But like many UK builders who will spend 50% of their 8 hour working day sipping tea, eating from the chip shop across the street or talking on their phone, these German builders will have the structure water tight within a week, working around the clock. They then spend around 10 weeks finishing every part of the interior, meaning within 11 weeks your home has been built and finished down to the last screw.

The Telegraph newspaper has now found 10 things you should bare in mind if you’re considering a prefab home:

1 If you are a young person struggling to get on the housing ladder, an affordable prefab may be an option.

2 Some mortgage-lenders are wary of prefabs, so brace yourself for red tape in that department.

3 Cash flow can be another major problem. The company selling you the prefab may expect sizeable upfront payments months before the house is habitable.

4 Planning authorities can also drag their heels. You will need to convince them that your prefab will blend into its surroundings.

5 Some prefabs are very cheap, as little as £20,000 in some instances.

6 Track down a few owners of existing prefabs and talk through the pros and cons.

7 There will never be a better time to do your bit for your planet. Go for environmental sustainability.

8 Don’t buy a plot of land with a view to putting a prefab on it without first covering all the angles, such as planning permission.

9 When your house is being delivered and erected, make sure you are on site, not miles away. The best overseer of building quality is the owner.

10 Enjoy the novelty of what you are doing. Your friends will be envious of your pioneering spirit.

So what’s my personal opinion of Huf Haus?

Well you will have to wait for my next blog post on the Huf Haus. But if you’re interesting in reading the Telegraph, newspaper article ‘Huf Haus: House that delivers’ please click here.

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