Throughout Europe, the idea of a single, self-build pre-fab house is impractical because of the cost and scarcity of land. To be truly affordable, pre-fab homes need to be designed as apartments that can stack together horizontally and vertically. This is the market Home Factory in London has aimed their homes – at big public housing associations and charities to bring designer pre-fab homes to affordable levels.
Home Factory is saying that they will try to sell their homes for under £100,000, compared to an average house price in August 2006 of £199,184 in England Wales, and a whopping £317,679 in Greater London.
The business is run by two former marketing and public relations consultants, and they stepped up their marketing campaign with a demonstration home put up for a week on Store Street in London. The home is a single-aspect (this means windows on only one side) one-bed apartment that is built using a method the Home Factory calls Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). Most of us know this as another term called pre-fabrication – it may be an attempt to avoid the use of the term “pre-fab” to gain interest. Up to seven typologies are listed on the website, but the demonstration home interior is the only interior that is displayed.
Clearly the usefulness in the Home Factory demonstration is the stackability of the units to construct a building – the units can withstand a maximum of 12 stories loaded on top of them. The single-aspect version is indeed modern and stylish with a good kitchen bench, enough space for a bath, and floor-to-ceiling windows. However, a larger, 2- or 3-bed double-aspect apartment will be expected as well – it will be interesting to see what Home Factory’s stackable solution will become.