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Fancy a Prefab? by James Harris

Do you fancy living in a prefab? Tricky question. One thing is for sure though, it’s time Britain upped its prefab reputation.

Since they were masterminded, prefabricated homes have been known for both brilliance and abomination. Some, such as The Sonoma weeHouse are at the forefront of housing design, while others can be described as little more than temporary onsite office cabins. Unfortunately, Britain’s latest prefab venture is a far cry from The Sonoma weeHouse.

Chelmsford City Council announced last week that it will be building 18 4m by 8m low-cost homes for those on the housing waiting list. Britain’s housing crisis is certainly alive and kicking, but the worldwide prefab industry has shown that we can do better than this. Globally, prefabricated homes have come a long way since Airey Houses popped up across the UK as “temporary” replacements for homes that were destroyed after World War II.  More than 50 years on many of these homes, which were never exactly architectural masterpieces, are still in use today. I only hope the same isn’t the case for Chelmsford’s answer to the housing crisis.